Sparing the life of Colvin-el stays the hand of justice...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 16, 2000

Sparing the life of Colvin-el stays the hand of justice

When Gov. Parris N. Glendening commuted the death sentence of Eugene Colvin-el, he once again proved that he has a running tongue and a spine of dust so far as violent criminals are concerned.

Why was Colvin-el allowed to live when he didn't give his victim the same option?

Justice was not served, and neither was honest compassion, as even the governor said he believed that Colvin-el was guilty

The only people who seem to oppose capital punishment are a vocal minority of cause groupies, politicians such as Rep. Elijah Cummings who can find no wrong in those who do no right and the media, which exists to make policy for everyone but the majority.

If the death penalty were put to referendum, it would be overwhelmingly supported, and rightly so.

Execution is not cruel or outdated but a proven means to express total outrage at the most heinous criminal misbehavior.

Ultimately, justice must wield a heavy hand to enforce a gentle life.

There may be a few mistakes made along the way, but no system that deals with human failure and the correction thereof is perfect.

Let the penalty befit the crime.

Ronald L. Dowling

Baltimore

Gov. Parris N. Glendening concluded that two-time convicted murderer Eugene Colvin-el "almost certainly" brutally stabbed Lena Buckman to death.

But the self-proclaimed proponent of capital punishment showed his true mettle by commuting Colvin-el's sentence and espousing a new creed -- that "almost certainly" killing another human being does not merit the death penalty.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand Mr. Glendening's real motivation: public pressure.

The governor knows full well that Colvin-el butchered poor Ms. Buckman. Two juries and the Maryland appellate system were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of Colvin-el's guilt.

But the one-sided submissions from the bleeding-heart special-interest groups were too much for the governor to withstand. Caving in became the easiest and most expedient political maneuver.

Mr. Glendening sent a clear message to those charged with first-degree murder in this state: Have no fear, if you don't get Johnnie Cochran to defend you and you have "almost certainly" killed an innocent victim, the state of Maryland will house, clothe and feed you for the rest of your life.

Morton D. Marcus

Baltimore

The governor has made a mockery of 20 years of emotional legal proceedings. He circumvented the entire legal process, acting as both judge and jury.

Maybe when the trials of the killers of police Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero come up, the governor can be so kind as to come forward and decide the cases himself.

This would save the state a great amount of money and work, the judge and jury the aggravation of going through emotional proceedings and the victim's family the drawn out torment which is bound to ensue.

We have laws and punishments in place and mechanisms to change them. The public expects our laws to be enforced.

Rick Prothero

Bel Air

The writer is the brother of Sgt. Bruce Prothero.

Picture of woman cheering didn't fit a sad circumstance

I was disappointed in The Sun's choice of a picture to accompany the news that the governor had commuted the death sentence of convicted murderer Eugene Colvin-el.

The picture of Norma Brooks-McCoy celebrating the news was entirely inappropriate to the situation (front page, June 8). A women is dead, the victim of a brutal crime, and a man is spending the rest of his life in prison.

I know the governor spent a great deal of time reflecting on this issue, knowing that his decision would greatly anger and hurt a large group of people.

A more somber picture, reflecting the seriousness of the occasion, should have been printed.

Beth McHale

Cockeysville

Compromise on firehouses will mean more fire deaths

Fortunately the Baltimore City Council and Mayor Martin O'Malley reached a compromise on funding four new, much-needed, fire department medic units ("2 fire stations to stay open," June 6).

Unfortunately, they agreed to compromise the fire safety of citizens and visitors to Baltimore.

By yielding to the mayor's plan to permanently close seven fire suppression units and five neighborhood firehouses to finance the four medic units, the City Council sustained a plan that could increase fire deaths in the city.

Perhaps the City Council members could rescind the pay increase they voted themselves, and use this money to fund the four medic units.

This would allow the four new medic units to serve Baltimore, while maintaining the seven essential fire suppression companies and five neighborhood fire stations slated for closure.

Ray Hudson

Baltimore

The post office may be its own worst enemy

A recent letter from a letter-carrier stated that UPS and Federal Express are enemies of the U.S. Postal Service ("The post office: a public function worth preserving," letters, June 9).

That may be true, but the writer should also look to his co-workers as people who are trying to destroy the Postal Service.

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