Court delays move over

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 16, 2000

as Blair date is scheduled

Getting on with the process in the Curtis Blair case is the right thing to do, and we are glad to see the lawyers and judge headed to trial in this somewhat high profile case.

Blair stands accused of serious allegations by the District Attorney in the case, and two years after his indictment was issued, both he and the people of Pike County have been waving in the wind, uncertain of the elected leader’s future.

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Blair, the Pike County Revenue Commissioner since 1997, has served the county in a public capacity for many years. That these allegations would be raised in the first place is cause for concern, but even more troubling to us is the fact that two years after an indictment, it seemed as if the case would flounder in the "in-betweens" until an eternity had passed.

Part of the reason for the delay was that area judges felt their relationship with Blair, in some cases over many years, would hinder their ability to be impartial, or at the very least, it would hinder perception of the public that they were serving impartially.

The judges had every right in the world to ask to be dismissed from the case, but the legal hoops seemed to get lengthier with every passing day as no new information about the case was evident in the court docket.

The District Attorney’s office has been forthright about the status of the case and seems to have taken all the steps necessary to push it through the system. Still, the case stalled somewhere in a legal quagmire, perhaps of no one’s creation, but an evident side effect of bureaucratic inflation in government.

Now, after too long of a delay, Blair will get his day in court. He will be able to put the facts before the judge and be pronounced either innocent or guilty of the charges that he used public office for personal gain.

This is an issue to legal minds to decide, and we can make no presumption of guilt on the part of Mr. Blair.

But we do feel that Americans have been promised the right to swift justice in the form of a fair trial. It seems to us that two years is a little out of line with that right. Blair has the right to be able to get on with his life if he is innocent and the people of the county have the right to see justice served should the opposite scenario be true.

We urge the court system and the District Attorney’s office to keep moving forward with this process because more delays could have the effect of leaving a lot of voters wondering about Mr. Blair when the next election comes around.

We all have a right to see justice served quickly. And no one has more of a right in that regard than Mr. Blair in this case.

May 16, 2000 10 PM  

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