Dear Mark Shurtleff: STOP TALKING

While I agree with Gov. Gary Herbert’s comment that the arrests of Swallow and Shurtleff are a “black eye for our state,” I believe we can hold our heads high that our collective response to these scandals demonstrates our unwavering commitment to preserve, protect and defend the integrity of our public institutions. This is more than just a silver lining, but a hallmark of self-determination: that a people can and will hold their leaders accountable for their actions. Tom Smart, Deseret News
Tom Smart, Deseret News

Lately, Mark Shurtleff has been in the news a bit and seems to have some confusion about the meaning of words. First, let’s look at the definition of the word in question.

What exactly is a “scandal”?

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary:

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Ok. Now that we have the definition of the word at issue, let’s get to the meat.

Last Wednesday evening, the Salt Lake Tribune tweeted about an event it was hosting at the Salt Lake library regarding the Shurtleff/Swallow scandal.

This whole episode reminded me of a Seinfeld episode. You all know the one. It’s “The Comeback”, where George goes out of his way to make a comeback to a comment. Albeit very delayed. And well, it doesn’t end well.

And here come the tweets.

Yes. Mark Shurtleff waited four days to respond to a tweet. Which in turn many people decided to fire back and let him know how they felt about his definition versus, you know: the dictionary.



Everyone knows the first rule of being a good client for your legal team is to stop talking. Shurtleff seems to have forgotten this. In fact, his co-defendant John Swallow was fired by his attorney as a client. It boggles my mind that in light of everything that has happened in this case, Shurtleff continues to fire off on social media. There is nothing wrong with wanting to respond, or interact with people. But when it could potentially affect the outcome of your case, it seems to me that it would be prudent to just ignore anything that could possibly raise the eyebrows not only in the press, but of members of the community who could end up being a part of the jury pool that is asked to serve (if this case isn’t settled by a plea bargain as some have speculated).

While it is fun to snicker at, it makes me wonder what the upsides to these continued interactions between Shurtleff and members of the community are. I, for one, do not see any. I see it as doing more harm than good. I realize that in this country everyone is afforded the right to presumed innocence before judgement is passed, but the continued social media of Shurtleff seems to taint the opinions of everyone who sees them.

He could be well served to avoid the “jerkstore” comebacks, and take a lesson from John Swallow’s playbook. Lay low, stay quiet and let the facts pan out.

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