...Is really one of intent!
The Express Times ran an editorial on May 2, 2013 - Counties Should Be Checking, which presents an argument that because a County Deputy Sherriff brought to light a question about whether or not his department is checking "references" for applicants seeking Gun-Carry permits, the deputy sheriff should not be held accountable for his actions, which compromised his department, and failed the trust of the people.
ET asked several questions in the editorial, but also failed to ask a few. For example: what was the deputy's intent?
ET would have everyone believe that his intent was to blow the whistle relating to the fact that "references" are not being checked in his department.
Okay, let's assume that's true, then here is a question ET should have asked: Why did the deputy send the confidential information about the applicant (if his intent was to blow the whistle) to a government official who has an ongoing conflict with the applicant? Why not send it to an office like the DA's office, or some other government authority who could properly remedy the matter?
You see, it does appear to the naked eye that the intent may have actually been to hurt the applicant (who just so happens to be running for office), rather then expose the failure within the department. And if the latter is the case, the deputy misused his authority. "Confidential information" means CONFIDENTIAL! And should remain that way regardless.
Is it possible that DA John Morganelli is pursuing (felony) criminal charges against the deputy because the deputy's intent (possibly) was not to blow the whistle? But instead, it was a favor for a friend to get even with an enemy?
In our opinion, over the many years Mr. Morganelli has served in office as the DA, he has never demonstrated an ounce of foolishness. It appears (with the information available to us) filing charges is the only thing he could do in light of the evidence. As the DA, it is his responsibility and duty to bring to justice all who fail (regardless of motive) to respect our governing laws.
While we do not know the deputy sheriff in question, and we have no desire to see him or any of our courageous law enforcement men and women involved in such a serious matter. We must all understand that he however, by his own choice and doing, made the bed he must now lie in.
A person who is hungry (for example) can not walk into a supermarket, fill their cart, and walk out the door without paying - Our governing laws prohibit such action...it's called stealing. Certainly we can all understand that the person is hungry, but that fact alone does not give the person the right to steal, does it? There are other ways the person could fill his/her belly without breaking our governing laws.
Every action we take in life has a consequence - it could be praise, or it could be condemnation, but there will be a consequence, that's an absolute truth we cannot escape. We cannot simply dismiss the wrong doing in this case merely because some feel that the officer made a mistake. Consider that we have jails full of people who for one reason or another made mistakes. Is the deputy above the law? That's another question ET should have asked. The answer of course is...No he's not.
This is certainly an unfortunate situation, especially for the officer and his family. We should all keep them in our prayers while our judicial system takes it's course.