(WXYZ) - Rose Cipriano has issued a response to Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper's recent statement about the murder case involving her family.
Cipriano's statement reads as follows:
Given time and space constraints, I cannot adequately respond to all the misstatements in Prosecutor Cooper's statement, so let me just address some of the more glaring misstatements
1. Meeting with Prosecutor Cooper. Article I, Section 4 of the Michigan Constitution guarantees all Michigan citizens who are victims of crimes "the right to confer with the prosecutor" and to be treated "with fairness (and)…dignity". In line with the constitutional command, Michigan Compiled Law 780.756 commands all prosecutors including Jessica Cooper: "before finalizing any negotiation…the prosecuting attorney shall offer the victim the opportunity to consult with the prosecuting attorney to obtain the victim's views about the disposition of the prosecution for the crime, including the victim's views about dismissal, plea or sentence negotiations,…" As a result of a letter I wrote, this past Tuesday I spoke with Ms. Cooper on the telephone and we arranged a Thursday meeting at 3:30 pm to discuss my views toward any plea negotiation and disposition of this case. Later that same day, Ms. Cooper publicly told the Detroit Free Press there would be no negotiations. She did not call me back after telling the Free Press this information; I had to learn of it when my friends read the paper on Wednesday morning.
Simply put, Ms. Cooper did not "confer" with me or consult with me or meet with me before going to the press. I lost my husband; I was severely injured; one of my sons has been hospitalized since the incident; and two of my other children have had to deal with the fall-out of this incident. I believe by any measure that I am a victim under the law and should have had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Cooper. The law does not require Ms. Cooper to like what I say or even like me; but it does require her to hear me out.
2. Ms. Cooper states, "I have never spoken to a member of the clergy about this case…" No one has said she has "spoken" to any clergy. However, she and her staff did have a Farmington Hills Police officer who has a personal connection to Detroit Catholic Central High School call the principal of Catholic Central. The police officer asked the principal to intervene and talk to my eighteen year old son on behalf of the prosecutor's office – all done without my knowledge and permission. Again, Ms. Cooper and her staff treated myself and my 18 year old son as "children" instead of victims under Michigan law. Her use of the term "I have never spoken to a member of the clergy" is a clever way to avoid admitting what was done and lawyer-speak of the highest caliber.
3. Ms. Cooper states "no victim of violence and horror wants to testify in an open court and recount their experiences" yet "countless people take the stand every day to testify against defendants… (in part) to make sure that no one else suffers as they did". If Cooper would have met with me, I planned on asking her to not call my nine year old daughter as a witness. The evidence in this case is overwhelming; if they cannot convict without my daughter then there is something seriously wrong at the Prosecutor's office. This is not a case where my daughter's testimony will make or break the case. I suspect that they merely want the emotional picture of my nine year old on the stand talking about the killing of her father. In other words, they want her as a prop for their production; not as a needed witness to obtain a conviction.
4. Finally, Ms. Cooper wrote in her statement "Evil can only prevail when good men do nothing." Presumably this is written because I hoped that the defendants could get a sentence of 40 or 50 years that would take them into old age but would not be a life without parole sentence. I understand that Ms. Cooper is elected to make the call on any plea. I recognize she does not have to agree with me.
Yet her attempt to lecture me on "evil" is the worst kind of cynicism. I have a little idea about evil that men can do; I dare say perhaps more than Jessica Cooper. I have never asked that Tucker and Mr. Young not be severely punished, nor have I asked that "good men" or "good women" do nothing. Ms. Cooper you should be ashamed. You should be ashamed not because you will not offer a reduced plea but rather because you are willing to heartlessly use a nine year old as window dressing and because you attempt to vilify any one who does not think as you do.