Thursday, November 17

Is the Morrisey Trial Causing Prosecutors to Ignore Current Offenses?

A number of us long-time Great Falls residents are pretty enthralled with the Morrisey trial for the murder of nine-year old Dolana Clark in 1988. The disappearance of the girl remained a constant question in our community for years.

However, I have just heard a rumor about the consequences of this trial that makes me more than a little upset. I am told that the city attorney's office is backpedaling its prosecution of current criminal cases because all of its attention is being focused on the Morrisey case.

I have heard of at least one small business embezzlement that prosecutors are settling for less than 10% of the actual amount stolen because his office can't spare the manpower to get a conviction.

This may only be a rumor. I hope it is not true.

However, it is important that our city aggressively prosecutes current crimes. If not, we are only giving a free pass to those now abusing the system. Morrisey is not going anywhere.


GeeGuy said...

Aaron, it's funny you raise this, because one of my partners and I discussed this very issue this afternoon. (By the way, it's the County Attorney's office, not the City Attorney.)

As much as I like to see justice done and all that, why is it that our prosecutors are willing to spend gobs of time and money trying old cases (Remember Reavely?), when they won't push on current ones.

I can describe a case, embezzlement, just like the one you discuss, where the County Attorney's office promised and promised to try the crooks, and then completely rolled over to the significant financial detriment of some very legitimate local businessmen.

SallyT said...

I'm no insider, but seems to me that Brant Light is far more concerned with headlines than with justice.

When I read some of the plea bargains in the Trib, I can't help but wonder if he prefers getting the easy plea to actually getting criminals off the streets or protecting businesses and citizens.

Treasure State Jew said...


I, too, am far from an insider. I don't know details; I am sure that these cases are far more complex than the Trib stories indicate.

Also, I think that Light deserves congratulations for Morrisey's conviction yesterday. I would not suggest that her murder, even if it did take place almost 20 years ago, is any less deserving of prosecution than current cases.

However, the stories that I heard, and Geeguy's comments, really make me question Light's priorities. Was it really necessary to make this conviction the primary goal of the entire prosecutors office?

As I said, Morrisey wasn't going anywhere. Some oxygen should have been left for less sensational trials.

Anonymous said...

The City Attorney doesnt prosecute deliberate homocide cases...

Treasure State Jew said...

Yes, you are right. County Attorney. A slip of the fingers. Mea culpa. Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Just curious...has Bill Morrisey been sentenced yet. The last I heard, it was scheduled for December 20th.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that he was finally sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole. He was sentenced in late January.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to mention that while it is not right to ignore the other cases, Dolana's is one that meant a lot to me at the very least. She was my best friend. I do not condone forgetting the judicial system's responsibility to the PUBLIC and not just when it is convenient to do so, but I would rather the case that they are concentrating on does not receive the blame that should rightly be on the office itself. You have done a good job of trying to keep that blame on the prosecutors, but I still felt some animosity towards that very important and too-long-in-coming trial.

MMorton said...

I think that it's sad that any child or anyones life is taken from them. It is important that we don't forget the old unsolved casss as well as work on open cases. I went to school with Dolana Clark and I can't tell you how happy I am to know she got justice!

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