I just finished reading Ivan Bates’ opinion as it appeared in the op-ed pages of The Sun (“Baltimore interim police commissioner leaves out key facts in bashing judge's ruling,” Dec. 19). I must admit that I was one of the people who was outraged by Judge Jeffrey Geller’s sentence when The Sun reported that he was given a probation before judgment sentence. That outrage was based on the op-ed from Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle printed in The Sun (“Baltimore police interim commissioner: Judges must stop letting violent criminals go,” Dec. 14).
Now that I have read the facts, I must say that the judge’s ruling made perfect sense to me and probably reflects an approach that would hopefully help rehabilitate some of the city’s many non-violent offenders. So my initial out rage is quelled and I am sad to say almost embarrassed that I reacted that way. However, as I reflect on this, I think The Sun has some responsibility as well. The Sun printed the commissioner’s view of the facts and his assessment of this sentence without doing its own due diligence. We all — the police department, the city, the justice system and the reporters — have a responsibility to report the facts completely. Was there really a need to print Mr. Tuggle’s op-ed before investigating and vetting what Judge Geller’s reasoning was when he handed down what on the surface seemed an excessively lenient sentence?
Ah, the problems created when we rush to judgment.