Monday, December 22, 2008

The Judge Who Judged Poorly

The judge says the sounds on the 9-1-1 recording would "hurt the investigation" if released. I say hogwash.

The tape is the last call ever made from Brittany Zimmerman's cell phone, moments before she was murdered. It's been widely reported that the Zimmerman family has been actively campaigning against the release of the tape to the media, saying it would be heart-rending every time they'd hear it.

At the core of the matter here should be the clear distinction between what the family and the police release of the tape...and the public's right to hear just what's on the tape that's caused so many people in county government to tell so many different stories about what's on it.

First county officials and the cops said it was nothing...just some rustling. That was shortly after the murder in April. Then when some dweeb at the Madison PD forgot to have the court re-seal the warrants in the case a couple weeks ago, and we learned that there WAS a scream and other stuff on the tape - sound which everybody from the top county officials to the dispatchers' union reps said was NOT audible. Sounds the investigating detectives say ARE on the tape.

Clearly, somebody's lying here.

When the warrants were inadvertently unsealed, the cops poo-poohed it, saying there was nothing that got out, that would hurt the investigation. But now, the judge says there's stuff on the tape that WOULD hurt the investigation.

As the father of a daughter a year older than Brittney Zimmerman, I can empathize with the family. But for the very same reason, I really want to hear that tape. I want to know for myself who's lying here. If it turns out the scream is there...on the tape....a whole lot of people should lose their jobs, from the bottom to the top. I want to know if county officials and dispatchers union people have been lying to me since April about that call.

The cops didn't tell the truth about how the killer gained access to Brittney's home for a month, creating needless fear and worry.

Now, it's quite clear that there are lies being told about what is - and isn't - on that tape. That's why the judge is wrong. It should be released to the media so we can hear it and judge for ourselves about the operation of the emergency communications center we rely on. Few things the county does actually have life-and-death implications. Police, emergency services, and the communications center must be 100% reliable, 100% transparent.

The judge has judged poorly.

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