Judge the bench on totality of recordAs the president of...

Letters

February 24, 1997

Judge the bench on totality of record

As the president of the Baltimore County Bar Association, I take strong issue with the editorial Feb. 12, which suggests that recent events raise questions about attitudes among Baltimore County Circuit Court judges.

I clerked for the Baltimore County Circuit Court bench. I am not only proud of that service but also take pride in my continuing practice in Baltimore County before the circuit and district benches.

In my nearly 20 years of clerking and practicing, I have seen nothing but serious consideration from judges immersed in the challenge of sentencing.

Resolving, in a single disposition, the disharmony of demands for retribution, punishment, mercy and rehabilitation presents an enormous challenge.

It is most unfair to evaluate a judge's entire career on the basis of his or her work in one or two cases. It is unfair in the extreme to raise ''questions'' about the ''attitudes'' of an entire bench because of the sentencing decision of a member of any particular bench.

Let each judge be judged on his or her complete record, not on a snapshot of the day's docket.

Let the judiciary as a whole be judged on its institutional record, not on the ebb and flow of what transpires in any single courtroom.

Safeguard the wisdom of giving judges the discretion to think and dispense justice, not by a formula, but by their best judgment.

C. Carey Deeley Jr.

Towson

Exotic dancing clubs mar neighborhoods

More than 200 residents packed a hearing at the Baltimore County liquor board. A community leader testified with 1,300 signatures protesting the openly loud behavior at two clubs along Pulaski Highway. Still, the board offered only a token punishment to Boomerang and Shakers.

One has to wonder what the county's plan is for this area. The residents of Rosedale have heard from the county over the last few years that Pulaski Highway has the potential to become a job-generating light-industry area.

Allowing exotic dancing clubs and condoning the sexually inappropriate behavior in Boomerang and Shakers witnessed by liquor inspectors only encourages more establishments with the same agenda and discourages legitimate business development.

Amy G. Rynes

Rosedale

Confederate flags in Northern wind

Perhaps the "true" meaning of the Confederate flag can be found not in the South but in the North.

In the graveyard of the small upstate New York town of Elmira, hundreds of little Confederate flags flutter in the Northern wind. They are placed there by people with cars licensed to Alabama, Georgia and Virginia. They are the descendants of the hundreds of Confederate soldiers who died in the wet, cold and often flooded Elmira Confederate prisoner-of-war camp.

Since "the winners write the history," the sad story of the Elmira camp isn't often told. But it is sacred ground to those whose ancestors suffered there and died there. And now lie buried in "Yankee" soil.

These men were no less patriots and died no less honorable deaths than those in Andersonville, Georgia and other Union camps.

These sad, brave little flags tell the true story of the Confederacy infinitely better than those fluttering from the pickup trucks of the ignorant.

Jerry Dyer

York, Pa.

Bells of St. John's are appreciated

I see from the Feb. 10 letters to the editor ("Churches can be bad neighbors") that Dolores Moran and her troupe of malcontents are at it again in their relentless persecution of St. John's Episcopal Church, Huntingdon, and the magnificent chime of 11 bells that peal forth regularly from its handsome English Gothic tower on Greenmount Avenue.

Ms. Moran, as usual, wildly exaggerates her position, giving the incorrect impression that the bells lengthily ''play for nine hours every day.'' Correctly, it should be pointed out that the bells mark the time with a few peals from selected bells every 15 minutes in the tradition of the Westminster chimes found in innumerable churches and institutions (such as Johns Hopkins University) across the land.

During the late 1970s and early '80s, I had the distinct honor of playing St. John's chimes on a daily basis for 30 minutes at noon. Not once did I, or anyone else for that matter, receive one word of complaint. In fact, quite a few persons were drawn to the church because of the bells.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least six churches in the area that maintain Westminster chimes, striking every quarter-hour and the hour, some in continuous usage since as early as 1896.

It is my firm belief that the majority of business persons and residents appreciate the bells of St. John's, and I feel that the church in no way deserves this malicious, hateful persecution.

Stephen Mark

Lutherville

Pub Date: 2/24/97

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