Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What's the big deal?

There are three stories out today about SL County DA Lohra Miller's purported proclivity to party. [Say that three times fast!] As you can guess from this post's title, I really don't get what Miller did that was so terrible.
[Private investigator Todd Gabler,] who has tracked Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller for months[,] contends Miller is undermining the credibility of her office.
Gabler said there were some "intervening events" that prompted him to continue looking into the situation.

"The first was that Lohra used her public office as a platform to call her neighbors liars. Had she not done that, the investigation would just have gone away. But we started receiving calls from prospective clients who we had interviewed regarding this case. Basically clients started lining up outside the door — they didn't like being called liars.

"The second reason is that she made a public statement that she believed she was held to a higher standard of scrutiny as a public official, which she certainly is. She made the claim there is no underage drinking in her house," which Gabler said he knew was false, referring to a December 22, 2005 report from the South Jordan Police Department.

"I read the report where both Lohra and Lorenzo and their son told police there had been drinking by minors in their house," Gabler said.

Gabler said techniques used in the investigation, such as going through trash and videotaping the Miller home, were legal and did not invade Miller's privacy.

Further, he said the real underlying issue is not underage drinking or neighborhood complaints, but the integrity of the district attorney's office.
The "lack of integrity" is apparently contradicting a PI's memory of a police report, which might be erroneous and even if true wouldn't be admissible in a court of law.

The Salt Lake City Weekly delves into much more detail that finally gets at what might be wrong about this whole thing...AG Mark Shurtleff's office's investigation into the accusations.
The results of Gabler’s work are striking. They’re also obvious. The documents he examined would have been available to anyone else—had anyone else bothered to ask. No one did.

Lohra Miller did not respond to repeated requests for an interview left with Miller's office assistant and the district attorney office spokesman. City Weekly's messages for her husband Lorenzo Miller, left with the secretary at his law office, on his cell phone and his work email, were not returned. A "Very Thorough Investigation[.]"
In fact, the attorney general's office didn't say it couldn't find anything. In a two-sentence letter that was the Utah attorney general’s entire report, the Attorney general wrote, "Our investigation revealed no basis for criminal charges."

"We looked only at potential violations of state law," says Paul Murphy, spokesman for the attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s investigation was limited to three areas: allegations of unlicensed daycare, underage drinking and drug use.

Murphy says the attorney general, "did a very thorough investigation" into allegations of underage drinking and drug use. "We didn't call any of the neighbors liars," he says. But no one the attorney general's office interviewed was able to provide any concrete evidence against the Millers.
But even here, there doesn't seem to be much there there. No one is saying Miller should be ousted because she is a hypocrite or even provides any solid proof that anything illegal occurred in her home.
KSL News says a video of the surveillance was recently mailed to the Salt Lake City TV station. Gabler says he was trying to prove Miller has lied about purported parties at her home involving minors.
Complaints about the parties were recently investigated by the Utah Attorney General's Office -- and no evidence of criminal activity was found.
KSL News says that interpretations of what the video actually shows are in dispute. Miller says she and her children were out of town during one of the alleged parties filmed.
Now if someone had any solid proof of Miller doing something illegal while urging her DDA's to prosecute others for such illegalities, that would be something. But it seems to be that worse case scenario, her kids were doing dumb things like partying late at night and drinking. Last time I checked, how one parents their children has nothing to do how one heads an office of prosecutors. And really, why should we be so quick to judge her family and parenting skills/choices?

If someone could prove that Miller solicited illegal campaign contributions or fired DDA Kent Morgan for political reasons or failed to prosecute a police officer for a wrongful shooting because of police union endorsements, any of those would be a very serious and troubling issue. And ones that, if true, should cause her to resign.

But right now, all we have an overzealous PI snooping in her trash and filming her house, with nothing really to show for it. The whole thing smacks of neighbors who really don't like her and her family. W ake me up if you have any real news to report. My advice to the Millers would be to move somewhere else, and get a restraining order on this PI.

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