Stuart Simms Welcomes Challenge
Neither The Sun's April 25 editorial nor the extensive April 26 Perspective commentary fully comprehends the scope of the problems raised when law enforcement officers misstate facts in affidavits.
Instead, in the flippant Perspective commentary of April 26 the writer leaps to the conclusion that I am not independent and have violated my oath and sworn duty and have not acted without partiality or prejudice. In other respects, the article is a monument of mitigation characterizing the actions of the officers as a "legal misadventure" based on a shabby comparison to other cases and a pithy legal opinion poll commissioned by the writer.
The use of an affidavit to meet requirements of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution is an activity which requires scrutiny. When nearly an entire police squad misstates an integral aspect of facts in affidavits, it is not a "misadventure" but is a grave concern. It is a concern which has collateral consequences far beyond the three illustrations cited by the writer.
Whether or not the writer is precluded from recognizing that perspective, because of his internship with police department units, is not clear. However, the issue in these matters was not what another public official's opinion was, not whose residences were raided but an apparently continuing abuse of process which will have significant consequences on present and future cases. The judgment as to whether to prosecute and what to prosecute is based upon fact and law and not on gross assumptions about associations.
Finally, the April 26 article indicates that ultimately the voters can express their thoughts concerning my actions on this and any other issue. As a prosecutor for 12 years, as the current president of the Maryland State's Attorneys' Association, as the developer of new services for homicide victims and a narcotics forfeiture unit, as a lecturer for the National District Attorneys' Association and as a community participant who reaches out to neighborhood groups almost daily, I welcome the challenge.
Stuart O. Simms
The writer is the state's attorney for Baltimore City.
The April 25 issue of The Sun included an article describing some of the sophisticated equipment that Westinghouse is developing to help fight crime. This equipment should be of great value in the fight against drugs and crime in general.
In this article, Richard A. Linder, president of the Westinghouse Defense Center, is quoted as asking, "What would happen on [Interstate] 95 at night if people knew that everything was being recorded in real time and being transmitted to a control center?"
As a taxpayer, I wonder what would happen if everything that went on in a defense contractor's facility was recorded in real time and sent to a control center. Do you think that defense costs might drop?
William F. List
I have been teaching in the Baltimore City public schools for more than 31 years. When I read the article in the People section of The Sun April 26, one sentence leaped off the page at me: "It also means the schools are setting high standards of achievement and holding themselves -- rather than the children -- responsible for meeting them."
During my first 15 or so years of teaching in Baltimore, the student, the teacher and the parents formed a team, and this team shared responsibility for the child's education.
I hope I can remain a teacher in Baltimore long enough to see this team process return to education.
Richard L. Shoemaker 3d
The way state toll booth employees treat travelers is an embarrassment to our state.
I am a commuter who passes through the toll booths a dozen times a week. I can't begin to count the number of times that I've been greeted by nothing more that a blank stare. Maybe people who are unable to deal with the public should have positions elsewhere.
On one occasion I was returning from an out-of-state trip during which I passed through several toll booths in other states. Each time I was greeted with a warm, welcoming smile. I finally made it back home to Maryland, only to be treated rudely by one of our unfriendly toll booth employees. What a disappointment this was after encountering so many friendly people in other states.
We must not allow this kind of representation of the people of our state to continue.
Denise M. Scott
Out Of Sight, Mind
Reading about the deadly explosions in the sewers of Guadalajara and the devastating leaks in the Chicago River tunnel system costing hundreds of millions of dollars brings home a critical point. Such catastrophes could happen anywhere in this country and particularly in our older cities where buried water and sewer lines already leak, some of them badly.