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December 17, 1998     Quad City Herald
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December 17, 1998
 

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Page 2 Dacambar 17. 1998 Ouad City. Hamltl / The following articles are not necessarily the views of the Ouad City Herald or its employees. The agenda ahead by Congressman Do Hastings With the new year quickly approaching and a new Congress set to be sworn in on January 6th, focus is shifting to the legislative agenda for 1999. Rightly so. With careful planning and strong follow-through, we won some major victories for taxpayers in 1998, including balancing the budget, producing a budget surplus and giving tax relief to families, In an effort to build on this record ofachievemem I expect the Congress to focus much of its energy on the following areas: * Protecting Social Security -- Now that we have a budget surplus, it's time to make a historic commitment to save Social Security for our seniors. Every senior citizen should receive the Social Security they were promised and all generations deserve financial security and peace of mind in retirement. * Reducing and Simplifying Taxes for Working Americans m Every American family deserves to keep more of what they earn so they can take care of their needs. And we must have a simple and fair tax code that keeps more money in the pockets of working Americans. One of our highest priorities will be to eliminate the marriage tax penalty, which unfairly taxes married couples at a higher rate than if they were single. We also want to phase out the inheritance tax, and redut taxes on savings and investments. *Improving Education -- We want to provide every American child the opportunity for a brighter future by ensuring they receive the best education possible. We'll work to improve our public and private schools by increasing the role of parents, teachers and communities in education decisions, sending more dollars directly to the classroom, and ensuring our children have safe and drug- free schools in which to learn. These issues are important to all American because they impact' our quality of life. And as addressing these issues could have a positive impact on all of us, the congress has a responsibility to tackle them head- on. I'm confident that working together we can protect Social Security, provide tax relief and improve the education of our children. Now that's a legislative agenda we can all support. D.A.R.E. and peer pressure In today's class the DARE students learned about pressure. Pressure is defined as a force or influence that acts on you to do something. From that we learned about the pressure that comes from four sources. Personal Pressure, which is your wants and beliefs. Family Pressure, beliefs and expectations of family members. Media pressure, mass media, TV, Radio and other communications. Peer Pressure. thoughts and expectations of'friends. Next we defined Peer Pressure. It is defined as a force or influence on you from others who are about your age. From that we learned about four types of peer pressure. Friendly Peer Pressure. A simple offer made in a friendly way. Teasing Peer Pressure. A strong pressure in which people tease to get you to try something. Come on ya chicken. Indirect Peer Pressure. A pressure to use drugs without a direct offer. There is a party with drugs there. Heavy Peer Presser. The strongest pressure used to influence a person to do something. Come on, you better drink some or I won't be your friend, or I'!1 beat you up after school. After explaining the four types of peer pressure, we talked about them. We read a story about "Beliefs About Alcohol Use." This is a story about a junior high student who asked a fifth grade friend to drink some wine. He told him that all the seventh graders get drunk on alcohol. The DARE class broke up into groups to guess how many seventh graders they thought got drunk out of 100. We had numbers from 10 to 100 out of a 100. The numbers by a National survey is 18 out of a 100. The point is, not every one is doing it. I told them morn and dad knows not everyone is doing it when that comes up. Timothy A. Rieb DARE Officer Holiday closure for city halls The city halls in Brewster and Bridgeport will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Thursday and Friday, December 24 and 25. The business office of the Brewster Police Department will be closed as well. The Bridgeport office of the Douglas County District Court and the Pateros City Hall will close at noon on Christmas Eve and will be closed Christmas Day. Douglas County Sheriff's Office December 13: Luis Elizondo-Garza, 27, Bridgeport, was cited for third degree driving with a suspended license. Man's death appears to be suicide A Bridgeport man apparently committed suicide sometime during iasl weekend, December 12 or 13. The body of Kevin Bach, 32, was discovered at about 11:22 a.m. Sunday, December 13, said Douglas County UndersheriffDave Wallace. He was found at a Department of Transportation gravel pit at the intersection of Moe and Grange roads on Bridgeport Bar. Bach apparently had diverted exhaust from his pickup truck into the cab, Wallace said; an autopsy revealed he died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Wallace said deputies had been able to trace Bach's movements to about 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning, but lost track of him after that, He said Bach left no suicide note, and deputies had not determined a reason for his action. QUAD CITY HERALD LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Th(i following Letters to the Editor are not necessarily the views of the Quad City Herald or its employees. Judge comments on Gonzales trial Dear Editor Our community faces a great challenge in the case of Juan Duarte Gonzales who is charged with the murder of Officer Mike Marshall of the Omak Police Department. For a judge I'm in the unusual position of being able to offer some explanation because I am not involved in the case and because the jury will be picked in another county. I hope that nothing I say causes additional suffering to the victims and survivors. I extend the same wish to Mr. Gonzalez and his family. An accurate discussion must be technical and lengthy. I hope these comments are clear and useful, even if not complete. Officials and Members of the public have expressed anger and confusion at the expense and delay involved. I am writing to suggest that our community will profit greatly if our efforts are directed towards two goals. First, we should increase our understanding of the law andprocedures hwolved in a death penalty case. Second, we should insist that the process be controlled by "the rule of law." "The rule of law" provides a framework for making just decisions. When properly functioning, it lays out rules and procedures that are available to all interested parties. All parties are treated equally. "The rule of law" should allow all parties to present their points of view with adequate legal assistance. This includes the victims and their survivors, law enforcement officers, the State, the prosecutors, the public, funding agencies and taxpayers,the defendant, defense lawyers and advocates for and against the death penalty. Each has a legitimate role in the proper context. Many questions have been presented about the defendant's background and history. I have limited information but I understand that it is alleged that Mr. Gonzales entered the United States illegally and has been deported in the past. The rights and procedures enjoyed by Mr. Gonzales do not depend upon citizenship or legal entry. Our constitutions guarantee such rights to all criminal defendants regardless of citizenship or immigration status. This is the first time the State has sought the death penalty in an Okanogan County case. Washington's deaih penalty law has been carefully dra/ by the Legislature and narrowly , interpreted by the Courts in order to meet constitutional requirements. The law sets out exacting procedures that the State must follow if it wishes to take the life of a suspect. The law also assigns responsibility for the decisions that must be made from the time of the crime until the imposition of punishment. The Prosecuting Attorney must decide what charge to file. If the State wishes to hold the suspect in custody, the Prosecutor must select a charge and establish probablecause in a hearing before a Judge within a few days. Written Charges then must be filed almost immediately or the suspect mustbereleasedeveniftheinvestigation is complicated or incomplete. The law requires the Prosecutor to file charges in violent crimes when there is sufficient admissible evidence to justify conviction. In this case our elected prosecutor charged the De fendant with the crimeofAggmvated Murder in the First Degree. Bail is not allowed. First Degree Murder requires the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Gonzalez killed Officer Marshall intentionally and with Quad City Herald ,,.stab[ishet[ 1901 Ike VaUance Editor & Publisher Doris Vallance Office Manager Wm. E. Vallance Associate Editor Cheryl Schweizer Staff Writer John Cleveland I1 Sports Barb Gibb Subscriptions Teri Chase Ad Design Fred Hanke Ads/Printer Published every week on Thursday at Brewster, Washington. Entered as periodocals matter at the Post Office, Box 37 in Brewster, Okanogan County. Washington 98812. Telephone (509)689-2507. Periodicals postage paid at Brewster, Washington USPS 241-920. Postmaster, please send change of address to Quad City Herald, Box 37, Brewster, Wasington 98812. 1 YEAR SUBSCRIPTION Okanogan $18.00 Washington State $22.00 Out of State $27.00 Out of Country 32.00 Single Copy .50 Subscriptions must be paid in advance Notice of Church enterlalnments where an admission fee is charged, cards of thanks, resolutions of condo- lence or notices intended to promote private business of any kind must be paid for at regular rates. premeditation. Premeditation means "thought abort beforehand." First Degree Murder is Aggravated when one of the list of special circumstances exist making the murder even more serious. The aggravating circumstance in this case is that Officer Marshall was a law enforcement officer performing his official duties at the time he was -killed. Punishment may be imposed only in accordance with the charge that is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Second Degree Murder (not premeditated) carries a sentence of between a 10 and 30 years depending upon the Defendant's prior record. First Degree Murdercarries the sentence of bet ween 20 and 45 years depending upon the Defendant's prior record. Aggravated First Degree Murdercarries the punishment of either life in prison without possibility of release or the death penally by hanging or leth',d injection. After filing the charge of Aggravated First Degree Murder, the prosecutor was required to decide whether or not to seek the death penalty. The law states: "The prosecuting attorney shall t'tlewritten noticeofaspecial sentencing proceeding to determine whether or not the death penalty should be imposed when there is reason to believe that there are not sufficient mitigating circumstances to merit leniency." If the Defendant is found guilty of Aggravated First Degree Murder, Ihen a special sentencing proceeding occurs. Unlike any other criminal case, the Jury decides the punishment.The Jury is allowed to hear extensive evidence about the victim, the defendant and the circumstances, unrestricted by the rules of evidence. The Jury is then required to unanimously answer the following question: "Having in mind the crime of which the defendant has been found guilty, are you convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that there are not sufficient mitigating circumstances to merit leniency?" Because the most serious criminal act is involved, the State is given far more latitude in introducing evidence during the sentencing hearing. Because the punishment is the most serious possible, the defendant is also given great latitude in finding and offering evidence which would not be proper in any other kind of case. In a death penalty case the prosecutor has a very difficult job and is always subject to criticism. An independent and competent prosecutor continues to evaluate the evidence as the investigation proceeds. Remember that he was required to make his initial decisions under very stringent time lines. He looks at evidence presented by the defense. He revises his initial evaluation of the case as required by the facts. He resists any personal agendas, including his own. Prosecution is brought in the name of the State under State law passed by the Legislalure. Nevertheless, the County where the crime occurred must pay the cost of prosecution and defense. Okanogan County provides attorneys and other defense services through a public defense contract. However that contract excludes aggravated murder cases. The Court was therefore required to appoint a lawyer at public expense. When the Prosecutor decides to seek the death penalty, a judge was required by law to appoint a second attorney to represent the defendant. The second attorney must have prior experience in a death penalty case. The lawyers cannot be required to cover the cos! of the case. The taxpaying public is required to pay the bill. Selection of attorneys to represent the defendantpresents manychallenges. Consider how difficulty the defense job may be. The defense attorneys may find a defendant or his actions repulsive. That does not alter the attorney's duly to the accused. Defense attorneys may be publicly critised. But they have friends who are police and they depend on the police to protect themselves and their own families. They may loose friends. I know a defender who was asked not to come to his church because of a difficult case. Some may feel that it would be best to appoint attorneys who will do the minimum and not cause trouble, delay or big expenses. Experience demonstrates that such a decision is more costly in the long run and ultimately may prevent the fair determination of guilt and the imposition of just punishment. The number-one ground for the reversal of death penalty cases has been the failure to provide effective assistance of counsel. Inevitably the case will be appealed to many higher courts. Additional attomeys will be involved. National organizalions that oppose the death penalty will review the case and present petitions. Some federal judges who hold life-long appointments appear to dis play a personal bias against the death penalty. It is best that any possible mistake or objection is raised to the trial court. The jury can then arrive at a just verdict, which cannot be easily attacked or reversed on appeal. Could anything be worse than conducting the trial in such a manner that the verdict could be reversed and a new trial required several years from now? Is it not the responsibility ofprosecutorsandjudges to make the best possible decisions to avoid such pitfalls? I have concluded that only the most competent and aggressive attorneys should represent the accused when the State seeks the death penalty. Let's take a look at how expenses are handled. The State does not need Court permission to conduct its investigation. The State uses public employees such as police officers, investigators from state and federal agencies and state and federal crime laboratories. The state prosecuting attorneys association and the national district attorneys association offer assistance. If the State wishes to use people who are not public employees or facilities not owned by the public, then it must find money in the budget Io pay the bill. The public pays, either way. The trial judge must review all defense expenses. If the attorneys certify that they have spent a number of hours in court or conducting research, the Judge must order the county to pay the bill. Defense lawyers are required to provide itemizedstatements Io the Judge. These are kept in a sealed file but are available for public review after the trial. The defense is required by law to conduct an independent investigation. Itemized slatemenls must be provided and the judge must determine if they are reasonable. When the defense wishes to hire scientists, doctors, psychiatrists and the like, the de fense files a written motion and presents, legal argument to the Judge. The prosecutor has an opportunity to file objections and make arguments against the expenditure. No one knows who much the Gonzales case will cost in terms of money. We do know who will have to pay the bill. For the purpose of financial management the judge required the defense tosubmit an estimated budget. That budget warns thai expenses could be as much as $632,000 for defense costs at the trial level. The court has not approved any such amount. So, how does a trial judge decide which defense expenditures are legitimate? It is not enough for the judge just to apply common sense and understanding.The judge must review all death penaltyeases from Washington and all other States and determine how othercourts have analyzed similar requests. The trial judge knows that taxpayer money should not be wasted. Delay causes additional expense and increase the suffering and anxiety of the victim's survivors and witnesses. The trial judge alsoknowsthat higher courts will carefully review the case. A proper verdict or punishment could be overturned if those courts decide that the jury was deprived of important information or the defendant's rights were not given the heightened protections merited in a death penalty case. The trial judge must insure that decisions are made under the rule of law. Decisions should not be controlled by popular opinion or by the judge's own feelings about the defendant or the victims. A careful judge might approve some expenses thai appear far-out or extreme in part to prevent them from becoming issues on appeal. I would like to encourage vigorous and intelligent consideration anddebate of these issues. I welcomeother points of view. Thank you for considering mine. Jack Burchard, Judge Okanogan County Superior Court P.O. Box 112, Okanogan ,WA 98840 509-422-7130 Good school spirit Dear Editor, I would like to take this time to thank a group of special young ladies, the Brewster High School Cheerleaders. They put on a three day Cheedeading Camp and went that one step further to make it an exceptional experience for the little girls in our community that were involved. It was so refreshing to see such school spirit. Tha you, Kim Michel and family The Desk Behind the Editor This column will not be about Christmas cheer - I ain't got none! The realization has hit, these packages should all be in the mail to the families. I'm not ready. I'm still pondering what to get, what to give. What I would really like to do, is go back to making something special for each person. I'm tired of searching for the just right gift, only to have picked the wrong colol; wrong size, etc, etc. I dislike Christmas lists intensely - that's a gimmie thing - and I don't like gimmies! I have the feeling we have all forgotten whose birthday we are celebrating, why there is a Christmas. Kinda hard when it has been beaten to death since - Christmas in July I am enjoying my different routes home each evening taking in all the bright decorations. That is one plus of the season. Out'decorations are still neatly tuckedaway- lack of enthusiasm, lke still limping, and my shortness of breath have all contributed to ziltch outside. We did hang a swag with two strings of lights By Doris Vallance around the front window Sunday afternoon. One string was out by nightfall! I stood on the corner at three o'clock in the morning and watched fire engulf the entire Lincoln Tavern building. The fire roared, the walls came tumbling down, and a business was gone. The building was old, somebody said built in 1912. I looked through the 1912 newspapers and couldn't find any news of a new building going up on Main Street, so not sure when it was built. Our volunteer firemen, with the help of Pateros, Malott, Okanogan and Omak did a whale of a good job saving the other business establishments in that block. We hope Ken Hall, the owner, and Barbara Landa, manager can get all the pieces put back together and go for a new building, we need their business.