Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five



Racial divide did influence jury's verdict

The Sun's editorial "An imperfect system" (May 27) stated, "No one can say that a racially mixed jury in Anne Arundel County would have rendered a different verdict in the beating death of Noah Jamahl Jones." Really?

I was surprised The Sun made that statement, as The Sun and The Washington Post have reported that both of the black alternates who served with the jury that acquitted Jacob Tyler Fortney indicated that they would have found Mr. Fortney guilty of some of the charges ("Teen acquitted in Jones' death," May 13).

One of the alternate jurors even publicly proclaimed that "justice was not served."

There is little doubt that if the two black alternates had been on the jury itself, the panel would have reached a different conclusion.

However, I do agree with the headline: We do have an imperfect system, and while there are those who believe race was not a factor in the ultimate decision of the jury, it appears that the racial divide in this case is similar to the one in the O. J. Simpson case.

Blacks and whites are looking at the same facts and yet reaching different conclusions.

It is my hope that our elected officials, members of the judiciary and the clergy will move quickly to address this growing gulf in our criminal justice system.

It is not healthy to have the views of justice of a portion of our citizenry jaded by an imperfect system.

Carl O. Snowden


Give 'Deep Throat' the Medal of Honor

With its extremely contentious and paranoid relationship with the press, I eagerly await the Bush-Rove team's spin on the revelation of the identity of Watergate's "Deep Throat" ("Decades later, 'Deep Throat' unmasked," June 1). That should be an interesting rewrite of history.

I believe whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg and W. Mark Felt should be awarded Congressional Medals of Honor for keeping America aware of the cleansing truths our government works overtime to deny.

Michael S. Eckenrode


GOP senators betray battle to save nation

I am becoming more and more a conservative and less and less a Republication. GOP Sens. John W. Warner, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Susan M. Collins, Lincoln Chafee and Olympia J. Snowe are gutless wonders. They caved in to the likes of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Sen. Harry Reid and Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean in concluding a deal that will make it more difficult for judges to get an up-or-down vote in the Senate ("Conservative leaders taking aim at Senate compromise on filibusters," May 29).

We are in a culture war in this country to determine whether we are going to preserve America as a "Shining City on the Hill," as that great American Ronald Reagan characterized our country.

The liberal judiciary continues to steer Americans toward cultural Armageddon, even though the Democratic liberals are in the minority.

The "Shining City on the Hill" is doomed from within by traitors to the cause of fairness, patriotism, moral decency, the true American spirit and courage to do the right thing.

Democrats stick together and take care of their own. Republicans wimp out.

Donald B. W. Messenger


Impose an age limit to alter stale bench

Congress should pass a law that requires judges of the Supreme Court to retire at age 65 or 70 ("Injudiciously divided," May 29).

Our politicians defend the status quo long after the quo has lost its status.

Joseph Lerner


Power of Chavez ratified by people

In "Central America pact aids national security" (Opinion * Commentary, May 29), Christopher C. Schons writes: "In oil-rich Venezuela, the erratic and autocratic President Hugo Chavez ... has consolidated his power over his own dismayed population." What is the justification for this description of Mr. Chavez?

He has been re-elected by popular vote and survived a U.S.-supported coup backed by the wealthy oligarchy of Venezuela and a recall effort spearheaded by that same oligarchy.

In the eyes of the likes of Mr. Schons, Mr. Chavez's real crime seems to be that he's allocating the oil wealth of Venezuela to improving the lives of Venezuela's "dismayed population," instead of enlarging the bank accounts of the Venezuelan ruling class.

Michael Melick


City College debates go back full century

One might get the impression from The Sun's article "City students take their arguments outside" (May 28) that the "art of debating" in city schools began in 1999. This is far from true.

In fact, Baltimore City College's two literary and debating societies date back nearly 130 years - the Bancroft Society to 1876 and the Carrollton-Wight Society to 1878. School history shows the societies were debating prohibition more than 30 years before it began.

Recently, with the generous support of the Abell Foundation and alumni such as David M. Rubenstein, City College debaters have attracted praise for their many achievements in regional and national forensic competitions.

Congratulations to the latest City College winners.

Theodore J. Lingelbach


The writer is a member of the Baltimore City College Alumni Association's Board of Governors.

Federal authorities ignore wage issues

It is unfortunate that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has vetoed the bill that would have increased the minimum wage in Maryland to $6.15 hour.

I would challenge the governor to provide for his family on the $5.15 per hour minimum wage with today's rising gas, food and housing costs.

This matter is not being addressed at the federal level, as the governor suggested it should be. Nor is the matter of excessive CEO compensation by corporations and nonprofits being addressed at the federal level.

More reasonable CEO compensation might allow more companies to afford health care insurance for their employees or even provide them with pay raises, thus eliminating the need for legislation such as the "Wal-Mart bill."

Daniel E. Withey


Running for governor is leaders' new job

The writer of the letter "Time for leaders to stop squabbling" (May 29) is right on the money in asking that our state and local leaders get back to focusing on their jobs.

The problem is that they think their job is preparing for the next gubernatorial election.

McNair Taylor


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