Short takes on the news
Justice denied • Everyone who cares about immigration whether they think the United States should welcome all comers with open arms or build an impenetrable wall along the whole of our southern border should be upset that the U.S. Immigration Court for Utah is so backed up that people are being held for months before they can have their cases come before the state's single immigration judge. The government has tried to address the matter by setting up video-conference hearings with immigration judges from elsewhere. But cases filed today still may not be heard until 2014. The pressure on those accused of immigration violations to accept deportation rather than rot in jail for months on end is unacceptable in any society that claims to respect the rule of law. Elected officials in both parties are equally responsible for this failure, and should not allow this situation to continue.
Justice televised • What goes on in a Utah courtroom is important and serious. But there is no reason why the judicial system must be mysterious or beyond the view of the people in whose name it operates. The Utah Judicial Council grasped that truth Monday when its members voted to approve a new rule that will open most court proceedings to video cameras. While judges will, as they should, retain the ability to restrict their use in specific circumstances, the default will now be a process open to the same video technology that permeates every other aspect of modern society. The people deserve to know as much as they can about the system of justice they rely upon, and pay for. Time was that anything on television was unusual. Now, anything that isn't on TV seems strange and remote two things our courts should not be.
Unjustified pension • The Utah Transit Authority keeps raising its fares. Budget constraints meant that the new airport TRAX line won't carry any passengers until next year, even though the tracks and stations are all done. Bus routes have been dropped. Black Friday service was curtailed. Yet the UTA has enough money to pay former agency head John Inglish an annual pension of $200,000. That's on top of a two-year salary severance (at $365,000 per) and a victory lap that involved agency-paid trips around the world. Yes, Inglish did a good job expanding the system and getting TRAX and FrontRunner systems online. But the taxpayer- and strap-hanger-funded largess he is enjoying and which we wouldn't know about but for open-records requests pushed by KSL suggest that the system is being taken for a ride.
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