A Thin Filament
Michael A. Sallustio's July 14 letter to the editor concerning Roger Simon's comments (The Sun, July 6) related to the "exclusionary rule" and its application to the O. J. Simpson case is undeserved and indicates an imbalance in Mr. Sallustio's knowledge and application of the administration of criminal justice consistent with the mandates of the U.S. Constitution.
Justice Benjamin Cardozo in Snyder vs. Massachusetts, made the following pronouncement:
". . . Justice, though due to the accused, is due to the accuser also. The concept of fairness must not be strained till it is narrowed to a filament. We are to keep the balance true."
Surely Mr. Sallustio has demonstrated his prejudice or narrowness to accuse Mr. Simon of either joining "the let's crucify O. J. media bandwagon" or that "his emotions have clouded his judgment" -- very harsh, if not malicious.
At the same time, Mr. Sallustio has slandered police officers and their superiors who are already "handcuffed" in the performance of their duties, by indicating as a general proposition that they resort to illegal searches and cover-ups.
In Baltimore, there were about 55 homicides in 1955 when we had approximately 1 million people. With less than 730,000 population in 1993, Baltimore City had 355 homicides.
What we need to do is to remove the "handcuffs" from the police and let them do their duty unfettered by those who would strain fairness "till it is narrowed to a filament."
It seems to me that "Mr. Simon's America," which Mr. Sallustio mocks, is by far more consistent with the Fourth Amendment and theapproval of the majority of the law-abiding citizens of the United States than the America of Mr. Sallustio, which would result in greater freedom for the criminal and less law enforcement for the rest of society.
Not only does Mr. Sallustio slander Mr. Simon and police officers, he closes his diatribe, and at the same time convincingly demonstrates his ultra-liberal persuasion, by charging the chief justice of the U.S. with being the primary justice, present or past, contributing to the erosion of the Fourth Amendment.
Mr. Sallustio just doesn't get it. It's not Mr. Simon, the police, the judiciary or Chief Justice William Rehnquist, but rather he and his ilk who would narrow fairness till it is narrowed to a filament -- a course that will in time destroy our administration of justice and -- jeopardize the security of person and property that we need and demand as citizens under our constitution.
Samuel A. Culotta
Abuse of Law
Parking permits for the disabled are just that. They are not for the convenience of relatives and friends.
The law clearly states who may avail himself of the privileges, what the privileges are, that violators may be subject to a $500 fine, and when the permits must be relinquished.
From my observation, the rules for the use and relinquishing of the permits (recovery or death) are being ignored by many.
I wonder if the Motor Vehicle Administration is actively reviewing eligibility and use of these permits. If not, perhaps it should.
Mary Corey's otherwise excellent July 3 article, "In Maryland, counselors are not required to have a license or certification," left out one important resource for both potential clients and counselors.
That is the American Counseling Association (ACA) in Alexandria, Va.
While ACA does not license counselors, its members are expected to adhere to a code of ethics, and its state divisions and other affiliated organizations are actively involved in state-level efforts to have licensure bills passed around the country.
ACA also is working at the national level to have "counselors" included as providers whose clients are eligible for reimbursement under mental health care coverage.
Until or unless Maryland does join the states that mandate licensure of counselors (and even if it does), the old saw about "buyer beware" still must hold.
Unlike going to a hospital emergency room "all busted up and bleeding," seeking a counselor often is a non-emergency, thought-out process with time to shop around a bit.
Emotionally fragile or not, people seeking counseling owe it to themselves to at least ask counselors to present credentials verifying their education degrees and professional affiliations. That would be an important step in making it harder for people to fake professional identities and do further harm to clients in emotional disarray.
Licensure requires that professionals meet the standards established by the profession to provide services to the public.
Lying about one's credentials would be breaking the law in states that license counselors.
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
Despite Gov. William Donald Schaefer's and Hal Donofrio's claims (news story, July 18), teen births may not have declined in Maryland or in Baltimore.
Reporter John Frece unquestioningly reported Governor Schaefer's claim that there have been fewer teen births, based on the fact that the percent of births to single teen-agers has declined in Maryland -- from 9.1 percent of all births in 1985 to 8.2 percent of all births in 1991.
This number means that a decline has been noted in the percentage of all births (to women of every age group) that occur to teens. Any increase or decrease in this number is dependent on the proportion of teens to adult women at a given time.
This change could simply indicate that the population of women over age 20 has increased, so that more births occurred in older age groups. Mr. Frece should dig deeper into these numbers.
He confused the issue further by reporting this proportional number of births as if it were a birth rate, which it is not.
A much more reliable figure for tracking adolescent behavior is the adolescent birth rate, which tells us how many births occur for every 1,000 female teens.
This number, which is not dependent on fluctuations of population, is the most appropriate to use for comparisons.
According to the Governor's Council on Adolescent Pregnancy, the birth rate in Maryland was 26.1 in 1986 and 29 in 1990 (the last year for which birth rates are available).
In Baltimore City, the teen birth rate increased from 54.3 in 1986 to 64.5 in 1990. These are notable increases in the birth rates and paint a completely different picture from that portrayed by the governor. It is even noted in the Anne E. Casey report cited by the governor that although the proportion of births to adolescents has declined, the number of births to teens has not.
The governor and Mr. Donofrio should check their facts before reporting a reduction in the serious problem of adolescent pregnancy, much less before they claim "success" for an advertising campaign whose impact cannot be mea
sured. In fact the Campaign for Our Children has coincided with increases in teen birth rates.
The real danger here is that by giving the false impression that the situation is improving, the state could justify decreased efforts in this area. In fact we should be re-doubling our efforts in the form of sound programs that help teens avoid pregnancy before another billboard goes up.