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Community Comment

Sat., March 14, 2009, 6:33 a.m.

Win one for the Gipper, Tucker…

JESSE TINSLEY THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
JESSE TINSLEY THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Good morning, Netizens...

Like most citizens reading the history of the Jay Olsen trial, I sat disconsolately in my chair each day watching the testimony unfold like a badly-wounded badger pinned in a corner against the wall. I was not at the scene of the crime(s), nor even was I in Dempsey's that ill-fated night when Olsen broke with police policies and guidelines just prior to shooting Shonto Pete in the head and this smelly case began inexorably sliding down hill. I felt sanctimoniously self-assured that Olsen was guilty, right up until Marvin D. Tucker, a police dispatch supervisor who appeared for the defense team, suddenly materialized as if he had risen up out of the ground.

Suddenly, instead of a toss-up trial, weighted slightly in favor of a conviction for Olsen, the Defense had induced as close to a reasonable doubt as you could possibly get without smudging your fingerprints. In one fell swoop, they had seriously undermined or undone the not guilty verdict of Shonto Pete, and thus created a reasonable doubt that Shonto Pete had, despite evidence to the contrary, stolen Olsen's truck, and admitted it to a sworn peace officer.

But if so, where was the evidence? That fragile 911 tape, which contained the conversation that purportedly took place, which should have been kept and presented as evidence at trial, but was missing in action. I was comfortable with a guilty verdict for Olsen, myself being holier-than-thou pious sitting in my imaginary judge's chair, calling the shots as I perceived them to be, right up until Tucker testified he had heard evidence that exculpated Olsen.

The terrible question, one which others that may follow in history, will ask perpetually is, did Marvin D. Tucker commit perjury to save one for the Department? If you presume Tucker lied on the witness stand, you need proof, which does not exist. However, until you can conclusively prove that he lied, the Defense Attorney has introduced a reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury that Olsen was innocent of all charges, save those to be studied by police internal affairs.

If they had that tape, where Pete admitted to stealing Olsen's truck, this would be a clear-cut case, the kind that legendary television attorney Perry Mason could not rebut.

However, the Tucker testimony as it stands, created a reasonable doubt in the jury's mind. That is all you need to find Olsen not guilty of the charges.

Does this case stink to high heaven? You bet! It positively reeks of racism, deception in high places in the Spokane Police Department and the frailty of our justice system. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and adds even more distrust to an already-reeking pile of malfeasant barnyard odors that seemingly waft out of the Police Department without end.

However, as badly as it smells, it is legal. That doesn't make it RIGHT. Jump right in, because I imagine this debate will last for a long time.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.