|Glad I'm Not a Certain Prosecutor in Idaho (8/20/97)|
In case you didn't know, Boundry County is the site of the infamous 1992 Ruby Ridge incident which left the wife and 15 year old son of Randy Weaver dead. Much has been written as to whether the federal agents acted appropriately when they attempted to arrest Weaver at his home. Weaver was sought for failing to appear in court to answer charges that he possessed to illegal sawed off shotguns.
Mrs. Weaver was shot in the head while holding her infant child. The trigger man was FBI agent Lon Horiuchi who told a federal grand jury that he inadvertently hit Mrs. Weaver when trying to shoot Kevin Harris, a friend of Weaver's, who allegedly shot and killed a U.S. deputy marshal during the incident.
Many militia groups have used it as a battle cry. Convicted Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh even referenced the shooting in some of his writings.
As should have been done, a federal investigation was conducted over a period of two years. The result was a finding of no wrong doing on the part of the federal agents. Thus, no federal charges would be filled.
But that's not the end of the story.
In steps the county prosecutor for Boundry County, Denise Woodbury. She "filed" manslaughter charges against agent Horiuchi this week. Simply put, she is pursuing criminal charges at the state level when federal officials declined to do so.
The FBI blasted the action of Woodbury. FBI Director Louis Freeh said he was "deeply disappointed" by Woodbury's action and that the FBI would do everything it could to defend Agent Horiuchi.
What an interesting contest. The county attorney of a rural Idaho county (population 9,800) versus the FBI. Wise County is over four times the size of Boundry County, and I seriously doubt if we have the resources to wage such a war.
But I'll give Woodbury credit for doing what she thinks is right. Since she obviously believes that Horiuchi committed a crime, the fact that she has a tough road ahead of her did not deter her from taking action.
I'm just glad I'm not in her shoes.
Barry Green is the District Attorney for the 271st Judicial District.