Dark Cloud logo

 

Home

Columns

Commentary

Dark Endeavors

Oh, gee, I don't know, how about Denver?

Another coldly objective decision from the federal bench

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 21, 1996.

Awful. A Denver Judge at the Federal level brings the Oklahoma bombing trial to his home town. We are to believe that Denver jurors, not related to trial participants, are fairer than Oklahoma City jurors not related to trial participants. Anyone who believes that the narrow smudge on contiguity between Colorado and Oklahoma is the difference between fairness and a lynching - especially in the age of television - is a fool.

It is arguable that it removes a potential mistrial charge of the defendants. Yet by the same logic, Salt Lake City would be a better choice, or even a site out of the western states. This is clearly a bought property of the Denver media, who assured the judge with glowing tributes to his toughness and fairness that he would be lionized in his home town. There are many things out of synch in the judicial system and here is one. Judges are increasingly strangled in their sentencing latitudes by bovine lawmakers and yet are free to set a trial like this - coincidently, of course - where it will further his own career most.

This is not excessive on my part. You only have to look at today’s headlines or tune in to local radio and television stations to get proof. A trial not yet begun is called the Trial of the Century by salivating journalists. Not since the Pope’s visit in 1993 has Denver Journalism had such a clear-cut mandate to humiliate itself.