One Legged Man Walks
Grants Pass --- A Josephine County Jury decided DA Prosecutor Scott Titzler didn’t have a leg to stand on. The jury acquitted Gerald Montgomery, 52, of a murder charge. Montgomery claimed it was self-defense. The Daily Courier reported this was, "The first person in more than a decade to be acquitted of a murder charge in Josephine County."
On Wednesday, June 28, 2000, I received a call from a friend of Montgomery whom I had met during my jail investigations. She told me the jury had found Montgomery innocent at about 5:15 that evening. Sheriff Daniel has since found convenient reasons to exclude me from talking to prisoners in the jail. He apparently didn’t like the stories I was writing exposing the problems in the jail and that the Oregon Observer was making public.
Ten Months in the Slammer then Acquited
Montgomery was held in the JoCo jail for 10 months on what turned out to be a false charge. Considering the jail has a cap of 64 inmates and the daily cost to house an inmate is about $65 or perhaps a bit more, that comes to a total cost to the taxpayers of around $19,500. According to the jury’s decision, this was wasted money. This man should have been released on bail.
Bail Mysteriously Rescinded
While interviewing prisoners in the jail, I met a relative of Montgomery who came from the Southern part of the U. S. to post bail for him. When the relative showed up with the money the offer was quickly rescinded. Montgomery was then held without bail in the JoCo jail. The question is, who rescinded Montgomery’s right to bail and why?
The Observer has warned the public that there are serious problems in the district attorney’s office and the sheriff’s department. The Observer led the fight against the May property tax levy and won. The paper has since been attacked by a band of outraged public employees (many now unemployed) with a boycott. This is to be expected when corruption is pointed out.
Other Cases Botched?
The Observer carried a couple of feature article on the Mack Williams case in which Prosecutor Michael Sanchez hung his head and confessed to the judge he couldn’t prove that Williams was guilty. The DA’s office helped keep the Williams case alive for four-long-years. Publisher Edward Snook points out this trial cost the taxpayers at least $200,000. So far DA Clay Johnson has not come up with conclusive numbers to repudiate this amount. The DA is asking for another $369,000 to be added to his budget in the September levy.
The Courier reported, "Prosecutor Scott Titzler was not available for comment this morning." And he probably never will be. These guys hide when asked direct questions. I sent an e-mail and left a voice mail for Michael Sanchez, the prosecutor in the William’s case. He never bothered to reply. I sent the same questions to DA Clay Johnson and he never bothered to reply either. Why? Is it because these public officials are not accountable? They just don’t want investigative reporters peeking into their little house of horrors.
Where’s the Credibility?
Major losses like the Montgomery and Williams’s cases have serious implications for the district attorney’s office. Having public credibility is very important to the DA. Cases that shouldn’t be prosecuted are being prosecuted by the DA in hopes they can keep getting the convictions rolling in like they did during former DA Tim Thompson’s years in office.
New Day Dawning?
It seems that times may be changing in JoCo. The juries could be catching on as to what is really taking place in the DA’s office.