Although she was facing four years in prison, Detroit journalist Diane Bukowski was sentenced to one year probation, 200 hours of community service and fined $4,000 for her two felony convictions of police obstruction last month.
Still, the trial appears to have been a farce.
Bukowski was arrested last year after a high speed chase involving police officers which resulted in the death of two civilians. She was accused of crossing police lines to take photos. While arresting her, police deleted her photos which is a crime in itself.
Although police initially charged her with a single misdemeanor, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy upgraded those charges to two felonies in a clear act of retaliation over Bukowski’s harsh and honest reporting on the prosecutors’ lenience towards criminal cops.
Nevertheless, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway pretended there was no evidence of political retaliation in the case.
“If the defense could show that any trooper knew who she was it could perhaps explain a motive,” he said. “We kept politics out of this case and I’m gonna keep politics out of the sentencing.”
The trooper might not have known who she was, but Worthy sure as hell knew.
Hathaway also said neither Bukowski nor police were completely forthcoming in the trial.
However, Bukowski’s non-forthcoming moment was when she failed to disclose one of her character witnesses, foreclosure attorney Jerry Goldberg, was her ex-husband, who was not even at the scene of the arrest, so his opinions are irrelevant anyway.
The non-forthcoming moment of police was when the testimony of a state trooper was refuted by a local TV news report – essentially meaning he was lying about the circumstances surrounding the actual incident.
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Bukowski’s lawyers plan to appeal the decision on several factors, including the fact that the troopers who deleted her images should have also been charged with obstruction.
“The photos, if preserved, would have been unfavorable to the prosecution,” he told Michigan Messegner in an interview after the sentencing.