Arrow-right Camera


Rogue Cop Should Be Held To A Higher Standard

Tue., Dec. 16, 1997

In another era, Tom DiBartolo would be facing the gallows now. After all, the ex-Spokane County sheriff’s deputy murdered his wife and then tried to lay the blame on two fictional black men. And for what? Evidence suggests DiBartolo wanted to spare himself a messy divorce and collect insurance money, so (drum roll, please) he could continue his assembly line sex life. Amazingly, DiBartolo observed his late wife’s burial by coupling with a female friend. So much for the crocodile tears he shed for the victim during his trial. Now, Prosecutor Jim Sweetser is considering asking for a stiff sentence beyond the standard 20 to 26 years. He should do so. Police officers should be held to a higher standard. They’re supposed to be honest and trustworthy. A rogue cop damages public trust. And this one was rotten to the core.

Smoking judge has answer to problem

Apparently, the shivering addicts who smoke outside the Kootenai County Courthouse annex are annoying people. Commissioner Ron Rankin is tired of kicking aside butts. And residents have complained they don’t like wading through a smoke cloud to conduct official business. Now, there’s a move afoot to banish smokers - employees as well as those awaiting court appearances - to an area outside the print shop. When that happens, I’d love to see smokers dig in their heels and refuse to go, until the policy is enforced throughout the courthouse. A few years ago, 1st District Judge Gary Haman defied commissioners by declaring he would smoke in his private office. No one had the nerve to challenge him, then or now. Maybe the commissioners officially should set aside Haman’s office as a smoking sanctuary for all. That would bring the judge in line with courthouse policy and save tax dollars earmarked to build the new smoking area.

Golly gee, what’s that white stuff?

I’m always amazed by all the fender benders and slide-offs we have after the first snowfall. It’s as if motorists - and I’m talking about natives here because newcomers are extra cautious - forget that snow makes roads slick. Duh. That means it’s harder to stop when the guy in front of you hits his brakes. That means tailgaters are a bigger pain in the rear than usual. The mild winter this year brings good news and bad news. The good news is that the roads have been snow-free for all but a day or two. The bad news? Many of you pedal-to-the-metal types already have forgotten the near misses of the first snowfall and will become menaces again after the next dump. Be careful out there.

, DataTimes MEMO: D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125, or by sending e-mail to

D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125, or by sending e-mail to

Click here to comment on this story »