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Plea deal for killer was an agreement...


Plea deal for killer was an agreement police cannot bear

The article "Officials stand by plea deal in killing" (Nov. 23) detailed the responses of former Howard County prosecutors Timothy Wolf and William Hymes, who were responsible for the plea agreement made with Francisco Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, along with Eric Tirado, murdered Maryland State Police Cpl. Theodore Wolf on March 29, 1990. The prosecutors agreed to a deal that allowed Rodriguez to serve a 15-year sentence, concurrent with the one he was already serving in federal prison, in return for testimony he never gave.

The hardest part of this agreement to understand is why this plea bargain was sealed from public scrutiny.

Rodriguez lied about his involvement. First, he claimed he was just an innocent bystander. Later, he remembered he handed the gun to Tirado, knowing full well Corporal Wolf was about to be murdered. Now, he is trying to be released from prison after having served no time for this murder. This was a murder he could have prevented, but instead he chose to participate.

Timothy Wolf and Mr. Hymes say they feel "maligned." What is being maligned in this case is the memory and sacrifice of Corporal Wolf, who served his state with pride and dignity.

Timothy Wolf says planning to have Rodriguez testify was a "double-edged sword." Right now, that sword has been cruelly thrust through the hearts of Ginni Wolf, her sons and the Maryland State Police family.

Timothy Wolf says he can live with the decision he made. We cannot.

David B. Mitchell


The writer is superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

No satisfaction comes from executing murderers

Upon hearing the news that escaped death-row inmate Martin E. Gurule had been found dead, a relative of the man's victim remarked, "I'm glad he's dead. . . . I hope he suffered. I want to see him suffer" ("Texas death row escapee found dead in river a mile from prison," Dec. 4).

In other cases, convicted killers sentenced to death are strapped to a metal table and jabbed with needles to receive injections that kill them. Family members of their victims watch but afterward complain that the executed man had been made "too comfortable."

When a loved one is killed, hate and an insatiable lust for revenge may be understandable but do not heal. When our government kills, these vindictive emotions are validated, even encouraged. And still, the victim's relatives are unsatisfied.

Is this the harvest we seek?

Dan Shemer


Changes in Maryland law aid third-party candidates

Patrick Feuerhardt's perception that Marylanders seem to enjoy our state's problems and that Jesse Ventura could not win here because Maryland is "a status quo state" (Letters, Nov. 17) must be viewed in the context of Maryland's 30-year legacy of limited voter choice.

After Spiro T. Agnew was elected governor in 1966 because an independent candidate split the Democratic vote, laws were changed to restrict ballot access for nonmajor party candidates.

The increased petition signature requirement for these candidates made Maryland the second-most restrictive state. Since then, no nonmajor party candidate has been on the ballot for governor, which helps to explain why no Jesse Ventura has surfaced in Maryland. Mr. Ventura did not need any signatures to be on Minnesota's ballot, but would have needed more than 75,000 in Maryland.

This year, reforms were enacted to ease third-party participation in our elections. Now, a Jesse Ventura would not need any signatures if his party were to register 1 percent of Maryland's voters.

Fresh ideas from new party competitionwill energize the political debate, challenge the status quo, make government more responsive and solve problems that need a new approach.

Scott Becker

Chevy Chase

The writer is co-founder of Marylanders for Democracy, a nonpartisan fair ballot access organization.

Dress code of 'old country' suits formal Indian events

I write to comment on Ellen Gamerman's article "Dress code" (Nov. 30) about an Indian wedding scene in Maryland.

The bride's family and friends await the arrival of the bridegroom's family, with garlands in hand, and the dress code shows the formality, pomp and tradition of the "old country."

When the bridegroom's party arrives dancing and singing, there is a myriad of greetings, and you see clothing in every bright hue imaginable.

As an Indian female and a first-generation immigrant in the United States, I enjoy wearing India's national costume, the sari, and other traditional costumes of India at all such social events. It is a dress that is part of me, my culture and heritage and I draw strength and confidence from it.

On occasions when friends from outside the Indian community have wanted to dress in a sari, the pleasure has been ours to dress them.

Here in Maryland, I have worn the sari at a couple of public events. When elegantly draped, the sari is simply the most graceful attire to be worn at any formal event, displacing even "the best of Bloomingdale's."

The dress code is not unique to foreign dignitaries.

Rupa Mohindru

Bel Air

Rescuers from church brought mission of help

In this season of goodwill, I would like to report a random act of kindness in Baltimore. On Dec. 2, my daughter and I were stranded with a flat tire in a residential section of Greenspring Avenue.

Unable to locate a service station or phone nearby, we attempted to perform the job ourselves, to no avail.

Finally, two young men bicycled over to us -- dark-suited and helmeted, with badges proclaiming their membership in the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

They removed their suit jackets, rolled up their shirtsleeves and changed the tire. Later, hands and shirts soiled, their reply to my words of gratitude was "our mission is to help people." What a lesson for us all.

Kathleen S. Kelly


Kevorkian is a consultant, not a doctor, to patients

Dr. Jack Kevorkian is giving euthanasia a bad name.

He functions as a consultant. He has not shared the patient's vicissitudes or the threats and the challenges the disease has afflicted on the patient and family. He does not know the patient; he does not know if the patient' pain is real; he does not know if the patient is suffering; he does not know if the death wish is real. The patient's doctor, who has held the patient's hand, knows.

Unfortunately, Dr. Kevorkian could escape the penalty of murder. Indeed, he planned and performed the killing.

While not condoning active or passive euthanasia, there is a marked advantage to legalizing it.

It has been my experience that when a patient has made himself or herself aware of the possibility, independently, things change. Having options, the patient becomes free of the fear of death and can then forgo euthanasia and choose to wait another day.

Nathan Schnaper


The writer is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Pub Date: 12/08/98

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