Judges and officials shoulder the blame for...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Judges and officials shoulder the blame for loss of justice

The Supreme Court and the Maryland Court of Appeals have left earth and have wandered into deep space ("Supreme Court rejects appeal by Md. in child sex abuse case," Jan. 12).

It is absurd for the Court of Appeals to overturn Johnny Walker's conviction because his "constitutional rights" were violated when his relatives were kept out of court during testimony by girls ages 12 and 17.

The Supreme Court has blessed the absurdity with its inaction. Remember, Mr. Walker -- and not his family -- was on trial. His rights were not violated.

We already have overloaded courts, and these judges have added to the workload. Perhaps Mr. Walker will go free in a few years, and it will be the judges' own doing. The public and victims are paying for this travesty repeatedly, and it must stop.

A Web site to post the judicial rulings by each judge would give the public information it can use to correct terrible losses of justice. If the site also identifies the politicians responsible for each judicial appointment, we could make the politicians suffer the consequences as well. To be really effective, the legislators and bureaucrats responsible for under-funding the courts should also be identified.

Richard Jendrek, Severna Park

Try health approach to treat drug crimes

The article "Court system overwhelmed, Baltimore prosecutor says" (Jan. 7) stated that "felony drug cases alone have tripled in the past eight years."

Where is Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke when Baltimore's overwhelmed criminal justice system needs him most? Now, more than ever, is the time for the very intelligent and compassionate mayor to push for the decriminalization of narcotics so that sick addicts get treatment and suspected murderers get trials.

The Suggs family's only child is gone, and a little boy has lost a loving father. The public outcry in response to this is for more courts, more judges and more police -- not for more genuine mercy and justice.

Earlier this century, the American public was outraged when gangster Al Capone murdered six people in a Chicago garage during Prohibition.

Prohibition was soon repealed. But that does not seem likely today. Leaders are too cynical and scared to offer and follow up with unpopular but humane and rational solutions to problems in a society that insanely values power and control over everything else.

Peggy Barr, Baltimore

Blue crab numbers falling because of lax enforcement

You do not need a $100,000 study to determine the cause of the blue crab decline ("Bay crab harvest likely to be low for 2nd year," Jan. 8). Until the state of Virginia stops harvesting pregnant female crabs, the fishery is doomed. How long would the human race survive if all the child-bearing women were killed?

It would help if we started to enforce the law regulating the number of pots permitted per person or per boat.

Edward H. Nabb, Cambridge

Janet Reno's failings during her long tenure

The Associated Press' article glorifying Janet Reno's record as the attorney general who has held that post the second longest left out a few details ("Attorney general finds criticism, success on way to tenure milestone," Jan. 11).

For starters, why is she afraid to investigate Vice President Al Gore for his very questionable fund-raising practices? Is she afraid she'll be biting the next president's hand, which would feed her the power she loves so dearly?

Does the AP conveniently forget that she and President Clinton both gave the nod to use tear gas on the compound in Waco, Texas, in 1993?

Barry J. Costello, Timonium

Adding homes downtown would help city's revival

After reading The Sun's editorial on the proposed renewal of the Charles Center area of downtown ("A Charles Center fit to lead the revival," Jan. 11), I have to add to the call for sound business plans and more parking.

While those two things are extremely important, what Baltimore's center city really needs is a plan to add residences to the area bounded by Charles, President, Pratt and Saratoga streets.

I believe Baltimore could truly should seek to add at least 2,000 residents in mid-priced apartments and lofts in this area.

This would create a base for retail and restaurants and would give the Inner Harbor area a much-needed injection of local flavor.

It would also help create the walking-distance culture of mixed residential/retail areas that Baltimore lacks when compared with other major cities.

Lonnie Fisher, Baltimore

Calling Pollard a spy understates his crime

A recent Associated Press article referred to the imprisoned Jonathan Pollard as a spy ("U.S. officials oppose clemency for spy," Jan. 12).

Why do the media persist in describing him as that? And why do arguments for his release often claim that he has already served a sentence comparable to those imposed on spies?

Although he spied, Pollard is not just a spy; he is a traitor.

When he compromised our nation's secrets, he was a U.S. citizen, and he willingly violated the oaths he took before he began work in the intelligence community.

Traitor is a much less palatable word than spy, but it brutally cuts to the heart of the matter.

Let's not mince words. The man betrayed his country and should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Kevin Kelly, Columbia

Keep minors from smoking by enforcing existing law

Gov. Parris N. Glendening wants to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1. Supposedly, the tax increase would discourage teen-agers from buying cigarettes.

I'm under the impression that it's illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under age 18.

The federal government tells me that I have to request proof of age from any customer who appears to be 27 years of age or younger before I am able to sell that person a tobacco product.

Why aren't the laws regarding the sale of tobacco products to minors enforced? If a retailer sells to a minor, the license to sell tobacco products should be revoked, immediately.

If that retailer has more than one sales outlet, revocation of the license should apply to all of them.

Raising the tax on cigarettes will not discourage their purchase to any measurable degree.

It will merely mean that those who smoke will just have to pay more, and many can't afford it.

Edgar Burgin, Glen Burnie

Money man Peter Angelos getting praise he's earned

Finally, Peter G. Angelos has gotten recognition for what he has done and what he's doing.

Mr. Angelos and I were schoolmates at Patterson High School, and I like very much what he's doing.

Not only has he bought the Orioles baseball team but he has bought a farm where he has many race horses that he races here.

Also, he has bought property and plans to build a hotel in downtown Baltimore.

Who has been doing more for Baltimore and Maryland?

We need more money men like him here.

Tony Silvana, Joppa

Labor bill repays favor at state workers' expense

Marylanders, including state employees, turned out in droves to re-elect Gov. Parris N. Glendening so that our interests would be protected.

The governor's decision to introduce a collective bargaining bill shows his lack of concern for state employees. This bill favors the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of his biggest campaign contributors.

Legislators should not let the governor repay his political debt at the expense of state employees.

Jerome Evans Jr., Baltimore

To our readers

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Pub Date: 1/18/99

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