Swallow exercised poor judgment; should step down

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:02 PM

Margaret Satterthwaite


Overheard from friends, neighbors and sometimes uttered myself, are disparaging comments directed toward Attorney General John Swallow such as: “…being an attorney and a politician, there is no hope for his showing of trust, integrity or propriety….it is double trouble. He has caused this lack of trust and should step down without the need for an impeachment proceeding which will cost the state millions.” Many wonder where the Utah State Bar stands in all of this controversy.

Having pondered these thoughts and feelings, I feel compelled to write this letter and urge those who tend to color all attorneys and politicians with the same brush, to speak of the specifics and issues, not to all attorneys and politicians who serve the public or our system of justice.

It was my privilege to have worked for a district attorney (a politician), a county attorney (a politician), a law firm who represented the defense bar, and in the courts. I have high regard for the justice system and those who serve in it.

Part of my responsibilities with the court was to teach court support clerks to remain neutral in all matters before the court to avoid the mere appearance of impropriety in order to build public trust in the system.

I support the thoughts of many who believe Swallow should step down instead of dragging himself, the AG’s office, his family, and the state of Utah, through more scrutiny because of the appearances of impropriety. While he has not been charged with a crime, he overwhelmingly has been found responsible for exercising poor judgment. He now has less public trust and integrity as Utah’s top cop.

In such a position, he is held to a higher standard and is more culpable, therefore conviction of a crime should not be necessary for an impeachment or from his doing the honorable thing and stepping down. Since it appears that Swallow will not voluntarily step aside, as a member of the public, I believe “wee” the people (misspelling intended, meaning small and insignificant by some) should step up. Since there doesn’t seem to be an impeachment process by the people, please call your representatives in the Utah legislature to let them know that “we the people” support public trust and integrity from our public officials. They need to know that we are neither small nor insignificant and have opinions that should be taken into account.

Margaret Satterthwaite

Farr West

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