The Governor fires back... | Freyne Land
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Governor fires back...

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2007 at 4:11 PM

click to enlarge williston_gov.jpg
The commissioners and state officials and worker-bees vastly outnumbered the press at Gov. Jim Douglas' noon event at the southbound Williston rest area on I-89.  Gov. Scissorhands [seen arriving followed by his trooper], was there in good spirits to officially launch free Wi-Fi for the laptop crowd at 7-8 Vermont interstate welcome centers.

Just me and a Ch. 5 crew: Reporter Mia Moran and new videographer Ama Asmah, fresh from Denver. I filed a story with WDEV's Rich Haskell regarding the free Wi-Fi. But got there early to "ambush" Jimbo regarding the letter to the Attorney General from the Windsor 13 [see item below], urging AG Bill Sorrell to ignore the Guv's dictum that henceforth, Sorrell prosecute first-time drug possession cases in Windsor County instead of letting Windsor County State's Attorney Bobby Sand handle them.

"Several thoughts,” said the Guv to Freyne Land.

"I don’t understand the separation-of-powers argument since law-enforcement agencies and the governor are both in the Executive Branch, so there’s no separation-of-powers question.

"Electoral process?" he asked rhetorically.

"I was elected, too. I took an oath of office and I have a responsibility to faithfully execute that office and adhere to the Constitution and follow all the laws that are enacted by the General Assembly of our state.

"I believe in and respect prosecutorial discretion. It’s an important part of our criminal justice process. But this is an extraordinary situation where that discretion has been abused.  And I think it’s important for me as the executive authority with law-enforcement agencies reporting to me to ensure that the laws of Vermont are carried out fairly.

"It’s simply unfair for someone in one county to be treated vastly different from someone somewhere else. There’s a perception of a double standard when a well-connected attorney and acting-judge is treated generously in a situation like this.  I believe I’m doing the right thing.

click to enlarge morandouglas.jpg

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

More by Peter Freyne


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