If you’re a regular reader of cbdc, I’m sure you are somewhat familiar with my opinion on Shiawassee County Prosecutor Randy Colbry. And if you’re familiar at all with Shiawassee County, then by now you must have heard about the time when Colbry left work in the middle of the day, T-boned a car, fled the scene, was chased by an Argus Press route driver, ran his truck into a ditch, drove his truck out of the ditch, and then continued to flee until a cop caught him. You may have also read Dick Campbell’s commentary calling for Randy Colbry to resign as prosecutor. (I don’t have a link now but will scan the article & post as a pdf) And if you’re following all of this, you should also know that emerged from rehab and entered a guilty plea:
“I am convinced all I have learned through the process of accepting responsibility and changing the way I deal with the stress of my job, and life in general, has made me a better man; and thus, a better prosecutor,” he said in the statement.
I’m not going to kick someone when he’s down, so aside from having a few chuckles at Colbry’s expense, I really didn’t say much over the past month. But now that he’s sober & back on his feet, here we go.
Frankly, the above statement makes me sick. He’s going to turn his incident into a campaign statement? Really? “Let me lead by example?” Really? The political undertones are bad enough, but add to that the fact that a prosecutor would know better than anyone else, how to go about getting leniency from the police and the courts. Admittedly, Colbry didn’t have much of a defense to this incident, but by saying “Yes I have a problem” he put himself in the best possible light. Maybe he’s sincere, but I think it was political and legal strategy, more than a genuine sentiment.
Ok, enough with my personal feelings. Now, why shouldn’t Colbry resign? Because if he stays in office, then a Democrat will be elected prosecutor next year. That’s the only reason. (Yes I’m a liberal hack, you should’ve known this by now) Now let me tell you why the Republicans lose the prosecutor’s office, if Colbry stays in.
First of all, if Colbry runs again, he loses. This is assuming that the Democrats put up a live candidate against him, who is willing to campaign and is legally qualified to do the job. I would hope that it’s Ann Gamboe Hall again, but I haven’t talked to her and I don’t know what her intentions might be. If it’s Ann, a Democratic victory is no problem. Colbry barely beat her last time, and he did so by campaigning on experience. Ann will have four more years of experience next time around, and experience trick wouldn’t have even worked last time if Ann had gone after Colbry on all the cases he’s dropped or botched. But that’s a different post. Also by 2010, the story surrounding the accident will have expanded to include all of those times when Colbry disappeared in the middle of the day, or he ducked into the liquor store across from the post office on the way home. No, the next year will not be kind to Randy Colbry. By the time the election gets here, we’ll have websites and t-shirts and bumper stickers. “Randy Colbry’s Greatest Hits” will be a best-seller. He will be turned into a caricature. (See Obstructo Man for an example.) And we’ll piggy back on that with a fan club for the Argus Press route drivers.
Second, if he doesn’t run, it doesn’t matter. Republicans are saddled with an incumbent prosecutor who likes to see his face in the paper, and every time that happens, the voters will sarcastically ask themselves, “is he drunk again?” So if anyone from his staff steps up to run in his place, he or she is stuck with the voters’ perception that they knew they were working with a drunk, and they didn’t do anything about it. I’m sorry to put it that way, but that’s the reality of it. What kind of judgment does Sara Edwards have, if she was willing to keep quiet about Colbry? Really, don’t tell me that staff didn’t know he had a problem. I even knew he had a problem, and I’m not in the inner circle. It’s easy to spot an alcoholic; especially one who disappears regularly and is frequently seen buying liquor at the packy across from the courthouse. No one will believe that his staff didn’t tacitly approve of his behavior.
However, if Colbry were to resign now, then we’d have a new incumbent prosecutor by 2010. That person will have had about a year to establish herself and distance herself from Colbry, so she won’t be tainted by Colbry’s actions. If this person is a woman, that immediately takes away any advantage that Ann G-H would have had, strictly based on gender. (Again, I don’t know what Ann’s intentions are, I’m just speculating) Then the election will become about which person is better capable to protect Shiawassee County.
I’m not sure how that would go if the candidate is Sara Edwards. If Deanna Finnegan is the candidate, that would be a tough fight for the Democrat. Shiawassee County is not afraid of a woman prosecutor, the way that it was afraid of a woman sheriff. (“afraid” is a strong word, but you know what I mean) So that’s not a problem. Deanna has demonstrated a commitment to domestic issues and the protection of women and children, so she can hold her own against a Democratic candidate who runs on a platform of compassionate justice. If Deanna can bring her previous endorsements and support to the table, she’s golden. It’s a tough fight for a Democrat.
Now, as far as the best interests of the county. It’s in the best interests of the county to have a Democratic prosecutor with a new staff. Period. The prosecutor doesn’t just go after drunk drivers (*ahem*) and other law-breakers. The prosecutor is also the counsel to the Board of Commissioners. In this, Colbry has been a disaster. This man is so arrogant and indifferent toward the public, he’s set a strong example on how to get away with things like withholding information from the Commissioners, and violating the Open Meetings Act. I would find it hard to believe that anyone from his staff would be any better. There’s a reason that these people have survived working for him.
And frankly, the man’s been either missing in action or intoxicated for a long time. So things aren’t going to get worse now that he’s sober. Would a sober guy prosecute Bernie Butcher because he couldn’t make a case against Gary Holzhausen? Duh.
There’s some chatter about this over on the forums –
Shiawassee County Prosecutor Randy Colbry pleads guilty…
Doctors With Felony Charges vs. Prosecuting Attorney
Mr. Colbry’s arraignment
prosecutor plans to plead guilty
BREAKING NEWS FROM ARGUS PRESS WEBSITE
Also, this story broke in the forums before anywhere else. Prosecuting Attorney hit with DUI and leaving the scene. I heard about it on Facebook about an hour before that. Social media moves fast.