• Mr. Spock,

    I have to respectfully disagree that our coverage of the plea bargain amounted to a trial or factored in to the special prosecutor's decision to offer a plea bargain. The primary reason he offered was insufficient evidence to prove all of the charges. I still wonder why the investigator wasn't able to gather more evidence during his 14-month investigation. Why was he only able to gather the testimony of one accuser? Where were any witnesses? Were there any other victims? If Mr. Ratcliff was involved in only a consensual relationship with an adult, what evidence supports that assertion?

    We certainly will try to get a interview with Mr. Ratcliff and keep trying to answer these questions.

    July 17, 2008 at 9:23 p.m.

  • I'm afraid you went so far that coverage amounted to a trial.  I have no doubt, moreover,  that there are few people who read the Advocate that weren't convinced of Rathcliffe's guilt long before legal proceedings leading to trial began. As a retired private detective, I have no doubt, either, that Advocate coverage figured in the plea bargain offered Ratcliffe by the state.  Additional expense to the taxpayers necessitated by  prospective prejudice created by Advocate articles undoubtedly was an additional factor.
    Even more, there is much about the Ratcliffe's affair with his accuser we will never know on that account.  Prosecutors have a reason for making plea bargains, let us not forget.  It will, on that account, be most interesting to see if the judge accepts the plea bargain (could we interview him after his ruling, we'd know more about the effective of the Advocate's trial of the defendent before trial.
    Frankly, you blew it, and are probably at least partially responsible for Ratcliffe getting the deal he did. 

    July 17, 2008 at 6:39 p.m.

  • Debra,

    The special prosecutor made that call. The Advocate's editorial board also questioned his wisdom. If you're interested, you may read that opinion here. Stay tuned until Aug. 15 to see whether the judge accepts the plea and proposed sentence.

    July 8, 2008 at 4:36 p.m.

  • i would like to know who decided it would be best for victoria to have ratcliff plea out. THEY SHOULD hAVE ADDED ANOTHER CHARGE OF PURGURY. IF it would have been anyone other than an offical would they have been so easy on them????NO and as for him being in bad health and  losing his car I JUST CANT STOP THE TEARS. MR. TYLER iS THE FIRST ONE TO STAND UP AGAINST THESE CROOKED PEOPLE HE NEEDS TO JUST KEEP CLEANING HOUSE AND I HOPE HE WILL. NOW AS FAR AS THE COUNTY PAYING FOR ATTORNEY FEES ---IF I GET INTO TROUBLE WILL THEY PAY FOR MINE TO????????bet not

    July 7, 2008 at 8:02 p.m.

  • Shine the light,

    I wasn't involved in that headline discussion, but I took it to be following up on what the special prosecutor said about the plea bargain. He said ti was best for Victoria. Was it? You might ask Managing Editor Thomas Martinez more about the headline.

    If you read the print Advocate, you'd also see several other headlines on this story, including one at the top of the page that read, if my memory serves, "Special report: Ratcliff pleads." When only one headline transfers to online, it doesn't provide the full effect of the print presentation. That's an online limitation many newspapers need to overcome with more editing specifically for the digital view.

    Thanks for the question.

    July 5, 2008 at 1:37 p.m.

  • Pilot,

    Thanks for the feedback. I also appreciate that you're a regular blogger on the site. I assume you don't live in Victoria if you get a Chronicle delivered to your door. In what county do you live? I like to know a little bit about our readers and their habits and interests. What features of the Advocate most interest you?

    Like you, I hope print endures a long time -- at least long enough to bankroll the transition to the digital platform if that's where we're all headed. Without newspapers, there basically would be no original reporting in the country. Bloggers would be talking about each other. As much as I appreciate and want to encourage citizen journalism, I can't see them having the time or inclination to replace what reporters do.

    With that in mind, I encourage all news consumers like you to support at least one print newspaper. I don't begrudge your choice of the Chronicle, but perhaps we can persuade you to add the Advocate to your doorstep. Like all metros, the Chronicle faces huge challenges as consumers turn away from print sources that don't provide a local connection. Our challenge is to continue to stay relevant to local readers in whatever platform.

    Whew. I need to go enjoy more of my vacation now. Hope you're having a good holiday weekend. I saw on your blog that you watched Wimbledon this morning, too. The Williams sisters are impressive players. I'm looking forward to seeing Federer go for title No. 6 tomorrow.

    July 5, 2008 at 1:33 p.m.

  • Why in the heck did you use the headline "For Victoria's Sake?" 
    Am I missing something? 

    July 5, 2008 at 2:52 a.m.