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Editorial: some in Don Buie case only get slaps on the wrist

By   /   December 10, 2009  /   Comments

Nicole Brown and Tim Washington seem to be getting slaps on the wrist, probably in an effort to make sure fired Albany downtown manager Don Buie goes to prison for a long, long time. Both will pay restitution, Washington in accordance with a promissory note he had signed with ADICA and Brown will pay $1000, and seemingly little else.

And I’m not sure how I feel about this.

On one hand, I’m thrilled with the guilty pleas and hope that this will help move Albany forward. Despite some folks’ best efforts and deepest wishes, Albany can’t until the whole Buie fiasco is truly over, including the trials.

But on the other hand, I’ve always found testimony a little suspect when there’s a plea bargain. Officially, it looks like the sentence isn’t official until after they testify, so they have some incentive to make sure their testimony is damning. Now, I’m not saying they’ll lie. Frankly, I don’t know either of them well enough to make that call.

But that’s just my opinion. The fact is that this is hardly unusual and has put some very bad people behind bars, and has also occurred in cases where “not guilty” verdicts were reached. As such, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Washington and Brown’s testimony makes Buie’s conviction a “slam dunk” by any means, and that a fair trial is still possible.

But one thing does seem certain to me. Had Shanon Buie not started her fight against extradition, a fight I’m pretty sure she’ll lose, her nightmare would be just about over. Instead, it hasn’t even really gotten started. Talk about unintended consequences.

tomknightonWritten by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at SWGA Politics.com.

A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman.

Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and all around smart-elec.

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