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Letters to the Editor

The voters have spoken

From Kristina Myers

Osceola  

After the events on Oct. 18 regarding Ms. Michelle Rivera’s arrest, I felt compelled to say something. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to express and how I would go about it.

When I received the Advertiser Vol. No 61, Issue No. 44, dated Oct. 30, and read the back page ad posted by Rivera, urging voters to continue to consider her for re-election, I was stunned! The news coverage that followed which included citizens making comments indicating Michelle still had their votes appalled me. I was then later informed that the judge had decided to postpone the court proceedings until after the election, and for me, that was the final straw. After all, if it turned out that the voters did re-elect Rivera, and she was subsequently found to be guilty, then what would become of the county attorney office position at that time?

Some have speculated Rivera’s behaviors and choices to enter the courtroom intoxicated that day must have been fueled by the stress of having a candidate run against her for the position of county attorney for first time. To this I say – not likely! I would say, it is more likely for an individual to behave in such a manner, it is not the first time it has happened.

Most of us are aware, if we went to our jobs under the influence of alcohol and were caught, we would be terminated. So, we choose to go to work sober, so we may keep our job.

For me, her credibility is shot. The evidence of lack of integrity is clear. How she is not disbarred at this point is beyond me. Now, to that statement, some would say she has yet to be found guilty for the crime she has been charged with. To this I say – while that is “technically” true, she all but admits her guilt in the ad she placed in the Oct. 30 Advertiser, where she states, “I genuinely apologize to my family, friends, law enforcement, colleagues and my community for all that transpired Oct. 18.”

That to me is her attempting to hold herself accountable for the actions she knows she is guilty of. She goes on, “I can assure you that I am taking every step necessary to get help to fix this problem and to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

Now this part had me on fire, because it is followed by asking you to vote for her in the upcoming election. The truth is: if she were truly taking every step necessary to ensure this never happens again, she would have, in my opinion, engaged in “self-care,” meaning she would have made getting well her priority and main focus. She would have responsibly resigned from her position and entered rehab or treatment to focus on her issues. Thus, ensuring her the “best chance at success” at overcoming her problem.

To the officer making the call on her intoxicated state, I say this: “Thank you!” That officer had to make a tough call in assessing and arresting an individual with whom they had a working relationship. Officers and prosecuting attorneys are expected to work closely to ensure justice is served. That individual must truly have a strong ethical compass. Those are the types of officers we need more of – ones willing to do the right thing regardless of who the offender is.

I hold great respect for the law and all it encompasses. The offices exist and those who find themselves filling them, in my opinion, should be held to a higher standard. The events that transpired Oct. 18 and what followed, shook me to the core. However, my faith began to be restored when I looked at the election results and saw the voters of Clarke County had spoken. Rivera would not be returning to the courthouse as county attorney, and she would have plenty of time to focus on “fixing her problem and making sure nothing like this ever happens again.”

For those interested in knowing exactly what the American Bar Association states as its standards, they can be found online at www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/standards/ProsecutionFunctionFourthEdition.

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