28 March 2009

Bristol Herald Courier : ARROGANT and IRRELEVANT

J. Todd and the Gang on Morrison are at it again. Because they are being told no to gathering inmate information in order to be published to their RAGSHEET… the following editorial reveals the BHC’s arrogance

The local regional jail authority needs to immediately get back in line with Virginia’s open records law, or it will face potential lawsuits. The Bristol Herald Courier, for example, has been known to sue public agencies for thumbing their noses at the public’s right to know. In one noteworthy case, we got the records and also got a judge to force the city of Bristol, Va., to pay our attorney fees.

Are you paying attention, jail authority?

I’d like to make a few observations.

1.) The name of the prisoner, the person’s criminal charges and the bond amount set by a magistrate are crucial pieces of information a bail bondsman needs to decide whether to post a suspect’s bond. Refusing to provide that information could prevent an eligible person from bonding out of jail.

There is no clear reason for the policy change. Steve Clear, deputy superintendent for the regional jail, said the aim was to “make sure we don’t give out inaccurate information.”

Bail bondsmen in Abingdon are usually obtaining the pertinent information IN PERSON. Good grief, if you can’t get off your duff and go the the SWVA Regional Jail and do your job (of course, we all know that editors and reporters are LAZY), you need to find another line of work. I agree that the charges, bond set and the name are part of the public record, but to use the telephone seems to me to be a bit over board.

2.) Most disturbing was Clear’s assertion that his jail’s policy is similar to that of other regional jails in Virginia. He claimed, while laughing, that other jails would not verify whether an inmate was housed there or not. Clear’s demeanor was unprofessional and his assertion was dead wrong.

Unprofessional? How about this J. Todd? Do you remember my friend Lynn Mitchell? Read J. Todd’s arrogance here in his comments? Threatening a private citizen who blogs as a hobby, and not as a profession? Real man like J. Todd!!!

Lynn: This post is factually incorrect in a number of areas and, thus, is defamatory. First off, our three-member editorial board has not changed. All are still present and accounted for. Andrea Hopkins is going to medical school soon but hasn't left yet. When she leaves, there will be two members of our editorial board remaining, with a third coming on board soon. Meanwhile, I left on good enough terms from Waynesboro that my company promoted me to editor at a paper five times larger. Finally, have you polled all of our readers on their views of the Wise County power plant? The average defamation suit, by the way, costs an estimated $200,000 to defend. That's if you win.

Until the Bristol Herald Courier starts acting professional, I suggest that the regional jail authority “No Comment” until the cows come home. ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION BRISTOL HERALD COURIER?1?!?!

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