A jury must hear this case
December 12, 2012, 8:00 am by Phil Schoch
It happened just off the Burnet courthouse square and outside county Republican headquarters where a primary watch party was in full swing earlier this year.
We have been circumspect in our comments on this incident because it involves one of our employees. We will continue to be.
Whether Rogers is guilty or innocent, it is a fact that sensitivities on this case run wide, deep and keen.
Every element of how it is concluded will be scrutinized rigorously by his allies – who see Rogers as a victim of his detractors – and the detractors who think he has fashioned himself as a political power broker who deals bluntly with those who question his ways and motives.
Because he is accused of publically assaulting a newspaper reporter who was not in his favor, an otherwise routine case is also quite certain to be watched not only by our local newspapers but by media statewide.
For these reasons, the special judge and prosecutor appointed to handle The State of Texas vs. Johnnie B. Rogers should clearly understand that dancing in and out of this county after a quick plea bargain will not be well accepted or soon forgotten.
Rogers was swiftly indicted on the complaint of the Burnet Police Chief, who happened to witness the incident and restrained the defendant at the scene. Those grand jurors believed there was sufficient evidence to try the case and that is exactly what should be done – in a courtroom, before a jury.
We take no position on Rogers’ guilt or innocence. That’s something to be determined by completion of the full judicial process in a public courtroom. That, we believe, will assure all that true justice – not backroom politics – has been served in a case with multiple and compelling implications for politicians, the press that reports their activities, and the people both serve.
Roy E. Bode
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