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September 20, 2012
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This judge should not be retained

When a judge refuses to allow the prosecution of a person who has killed a man thus creating a widow and an orphan, s/he does not deserve to be retained in office. Such is the case with Polk County District Judge Carolyn Egly. She refused to allow any formal adult charges or litigation against a 17-year-old girl, Esther Chisala, who struck and killed a motorcyclist and tried to run away. She was driving without a license and fleeing a previous accident at a high rate of speed.

On Aug. 6, 2008, Esther Chisala, two weeks shy of her 18th birthday, rear-ended a van belonging to Iowa Homeless Youth Services on Martin Luther King Boulevard. She ran away from this accident and proceeded south on Martin Luther King Boulevard at a high rate of speed. At University Avenue, motorcyclist James Miller, 46, a husband and father, had a green light to cross MLK Boulevard. Chisala hit his motorcycle so hard that, according to a witness, her car passed under the flying body of the victim who landed hard on the pavement. He did not make it to the hospital alive. Chisala was involved in a third accident when she hit a utility pole. Only witnesses prevented her from fleeing on foot.

When someone dies, somebody should have to pay. Judge Carolyn Egly didn’t think so. The widow and orphan got no justice. Much was made of what a fine church-going young lady Chisala was. Judge Egly refused to prosecute her in adult court saying that the county attorney did not prove that “there are no reasonable prospects for rehabilitation in juvenile court.” Excuse me, Judge Egly! Somebody needlessly died here, and you think the perpetrator should go free without even a slap on the wrist?

In September 2008, in my hometown of Carroll, a man was arrested for killing a kitten. He was accused of “inflicting severe physical pain and death.” But Judge Egly chose not to impose any punishment when a human being died in Polk County. Recently, an Urbandale man was arrested for allowing his dog to die in the heat. Several thousand people signed a petition to County Attorney James Sarcone asking for the maximum punishment. Yet, when a man dies needlessly on a public street — the victim of a reckless youth — nobody cares, not even Judge Carolyn Egly!

Vote not to retain Judge Carolyn Egly on Nov. 6.

Gary Thelen

West Des Moines


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