Two Grand Traverse County Commissioners recently tried to ask the obvious questions about mismanagement in the Grand Traverse County Jail. Betsy Coffia and Bryce Hundley used a recent commission meeting to ask thoughtful questions of Sheriff Tom Bensley that are long overdue. Those questions included things like how Todd Ritter’s behavior was allowed to go on for so long, and whether it was dumb in retrospect to allow him to resign.
Cue the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s Office. You know, the same office that sat on the Ritter police report for like a year before conflicting it out to the attorney general’s office. So to recap, the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s Office that has a conflict with the Todd Ritter case is now threatening government commissioners out of doing their job which is to investigate matters involving public funds and public trust.
Kinda sounds like Kit Tholen and the rest of the Prosecutor’s Office have joined the defense team. What are they trying to hide?
Tholen said that it was inappropriate for the Commissioners to say that an abuse of power occurred. Uhm, enough has been proven is true in this case that we know for sure, conviction or not, that an abuse of power occurred.
Tholen then accuses Coffia and Hundley of saying untrue things when they said that Ritter had sex with inmates. His explanation is a technicality, though. I mean, they were on parole when he allegedly had sex with them. That means they weren’t inmates at the time. They were just mates, not inmates. *Facesmack.
There are rules that apply to the attorneys in a criminal case that prohibit them from making statements that prejudice the trial and the jury. But the county commissioners are not attorneys, let alone the attorneys of record. Todd Ritter is a public figure. The commissioners are public figures investigating a public matter that involves public tax dollars.
There is no gag order in place in the case. It sounds like Kit and Noelle wish there were. That would be convenient for silencing the public from discussing the use of their funds and the humane treatment of those in the county jail. It would be convenient for the Ritter defense team, which Kit and Noelle are acting like they’re a part of.
If Kit and Noelle believe that Ritter can’t get a fair trial in Grand Traverse County, it’s none of their business. They are not a party to the case. Their opinion doesn’t matter any more than mine or yours. However, if Todd Ritter doesn’t think he can get a fair trial in Grand Traverse County, he can move to have the case heard out of the county. Of course, he probably doesn’t want to do that.
Kit Tholen and Noelle Moeggenberg are inappropriately trying to intimidate public officials from discussing public matters that are unflattering to them. Coffia and Hundley didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, when it comes to the Grand Travere County Jail, they’re the first ones to do what’s right.