Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Memo To Ed Girtler.

Note: I was away the last two days without access to this blog or to my e-mail. Several comments were left on an old post I wrote about Jack Carroll and Ed Girtler. Some of them were written by Girtler and some were responses to his comments. I have posted those comments and you can read them here. For background on the Jack Carroll case, go to the web site run by Justice Now.


The first thing I need to say is that I am not anti-cop. I need to say that before some bozo tries to make that comment. My father was an MP in World War II. My uncle George was a cop in Media, PA and was shot when he interrupted a burglary in progess. He recovered and remained a cop his entire life.

One of the problems I have with your comments is that you seem to equate legality and morality. Something may be legal; that does not make it ethical or moral. Killing Jews was legal in Germany during World War II, but it wasn’t moral. Slavery was legal in the United States at one time, but it wasn’t moral.

Lying has a corrosive effect on a person. We just saw that in the Christopher Porco case. Even when you lie for a “good” purpose (e.g. in order to get a confession out of a defendant), it has an effect on you. I’m not sure that a person can just put on a liar’s persona and take it off at will. A cop who lies on a regular basis in the station house, may not be able to stop lying when he gets on the witness stand.

You mention “the higher power” that you and Jack Carroll will have to face some day. I am glad you are thinking about God because that is where my mind has been a lot lately also. I especially think about that commandment, “Thou shall not bear false witness.” I also think about the words of one of the Jewish prophets who said there are two great evils--the first is letting a guilty man go free, the second is making an innocent man suffer.

Anyway, according to one comment on the previous post, you still have an open invitation to sit down and talk with Ernie Tetrault about the Jack Carroll case. I also extend to you an invitation to write a guest column for this blog and I will post it. My only caveat is that you be willing to field questions from people who read this blog. Lately, the number of people reading this blog has been more than a thousand a day so you would have a good audience for your story.

You have already been presented in an unfavorable light in Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Dorothy Rabinowitz’s book, No Crueler Tyrannies*, and I believe there is a documentary and book in the works on Jack Carroll and I don’t think you are going to come off too well in those either. So it might be time for you to speak up and to answer questions about the Jack Carroll case that have plagued many of us.


*If you haven’t read this book, you should. All of the people accused of abuse in this book have been exonerated, except for Jack Carroll. However, Mr. Carroll’s case is the most recent case in the book, and I expect that eventually he too will be exonerated. Rabinowitz would not have included Carroll in this book if she didn’t think he too was innocent and had the same chance of exoneration that the others did. Some people in the book had to wait almost twenty years before they were vindicated, but eventually they were. By the way there is a great story in there about a cop who went to prison because another cop falsely accused him.


  • Dan: Once again your eloquent words have uttered pure sense! Great job. I will buy that book on Jack Carroll for sure.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:29 AM  

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