Judge Dudley sounds like a burned-out caseRegarding Howard...


January 04, 1998

Judge Dudley sounds like a burned-out case

Regarding Howard County Circuit Court Judge James B. Dudley's indiscretion in blaming the victim of a rape case for her passive role in subjecting herself to rape, domestic abuse is known to be a mental health issue for both the victim and the perpetrator.

Yes, the victim needs to recognize her behavior is unhealthy. Was it helpful for the judge to blame the victim? No.

A suggestion that the victim receive counseling from a professional would have gone further toward helping the victim.

Judge Dudley's comments are most suggestive of a burned-out, frustrated judge who is weary of seeing the pervasive nature of crime and violence in our society, a judge who does not see the need to control his emotions out of respect for his high position.

At what point should people be held accountable for their aberrant behavior? The law and the courts have already decided that issue.

It is against the law to rape. Being raped is not a crime. The role of the judge is to sit in judgment of criminals, not victims.

Treating victims is the domain of the medical profession. No medical professional would consider it helpful to approach a domestic violence victim in that manner.

I am also surprised that The Sun staff writer, Caitlin Francke, suggests that the judge ignoring his dangerous asthma attack is an example of holding himself to high standards ("Howard judge unbowed by critics," Dec. 7).

Asthma is a serious, deadly disease. The judge risked his life for the sake of finishing a case that could have waited.

Yet he criticizes the victim of a crime for putting herself at risk. Certainly, he has more options and resources to deal with his problem than she did.

If Judge Dudley is an excellent judge, as the article suggests, perhaps the powers that be will overlook his unprofessional behavior.

Even judges make mistakes. It would be easier if the judge recognized his mistake. It would be easier if the public knew that he would try to do better in the future. I guess that all depends on how high a standard we set for Circuit Court judges. But at least recognize his comments for what they are -- not "well-deserved recrimination," but unprofessional behavior.

Diana Heffner

Ellicott City

Megaplexes need design changes

"Now playing: megaplex theaters" (Editorial, Dec. 26) portrays the "megaplex," such as the United Artists Theaters on Snowden Square in Columbia, as the greatest achievement since sliced bread.

Yes, they have stadium-style seating, surround sound and even 14 concession stations. But the downsides were not mentioned.

I didn't know this until trying to go to a movie one recent Friday afternoon at the Columbia UA facility. Lines at least 100 feet long swept from two directions to the two box office stations.

After 20 minutes of patient waiting and still 50 feet away, my wife and I had to give up realizing we'd have missed too much, even if we did get in. Others followed suit. I can't speak for the others, but we finally went to a video outlet.

Why on earth are there only two paltry box-office stations to accommodate the intake for 16 screens? This is ludicrous, as well as inefficient.

Even worse, the lines wended their way outside with no protection afforded from any elements. Friday was a decent day, cool but bright. But what if there had been a downpour with driving rain, or snow or sleet or some other icy mix? All the hopeful patrons standing there for 30-45 minutes or longer, would have paid and with more than money and time.

If these things were designed efficiently, each theater/screen "module" would have its own box office and entry egress point. A short covered vesitbule (say up to 10 feet long) would lead to it protecting from elements. (Or a small hall leading to the box office "inside" the building.) This would show the customer that the theater owners do not believe that his or her time is expendable.

Interestingly, this common-sense solution would also be beneficial in terms of safety precautions in case of fire. With 16 possible egress points, there is far less chance of a stampede then with only two exits. But then, so many entry-egress points offers less security, i.e. from possible "gate-crashers."

Before we reach the "giga-plex" theater stage, with 40 or 50 screens, serious design reformulations need to be done along the lines suggested.

Philip A. Stahl


Physicians want public uninformed

Re: Physician Web page limits its data (Dec. 27): To the reader, it is obvious that the board has succumbed to the physicians' pressure, or worse this is a clear case of protecting one's own interests.

It makes no sense to have relevant data available by snail mail (And deem the recipient capable of understanding and processing the information received), but keep it off limits from the "browser" of the Web because he might not really be interested in the information, or worse he is not capable of deciphering the truth.

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