Opinion: Accused man set up


Regarding the story published in The Taos News on Thursday, Dec. 21, "El Prado Man Charged With Sexually Abusing A Child":

The howls of the mob are faint now, but the intent is clear. Martin Melendez has been set up.

What we have before us is a small town version of the sex scandals so popular on all the big media outlets these days. No need for facts. Allegations now serve where we once had a judge and jury.

How wonderful it is that our own hometown paper has neatly outlined for us this salacious sex scandal. It comes complete with a sheriff declaring a search yielded all the evidence they need even before the so-called evidence was removed from the hard drives.

What could be more prejudicial? Not only law enforcement, but now the whole community, has this neatly composed story. As we've been told, conviction by allegation is mob justice. The trend in our national and now hometown media should be a warning.

In Martin's case, insinuation gives us the verdict before any formal judicial action. Popular media-fed "justice" becomes a public lynching. Of course, we comfort ourselves that we would never be in Martin's shoes, but that's really just denial.

We are all helpless before mob, or media, justice. Sheriff (Jerry) Hogrefe's inflammatory statement, "but I am sure we got what we were after," sounds about right for a lynching but obviously biased for a trial that needs a great deal more investigation.

The facts leading up to the arrest and imprisonment of Martin Melendez are truly sordid. If there is to be anything such as unbiased justice in this case, there must be a totally open investigation of the sad history of this broken family.

We have known Martin for 20 years and worked with him daily at Acorn Graphics. With no reservations, we stand up for Martin's character and his goodness as a dad. There is so much more to this sad situation that must be examined if we are to know the truth. There is a great injustice happening here, and we pray that a thorough and unbiased investigation will reveal the truth, and justice will prevail.