Judges who dispute death sentence ignore standards of...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 29, 2001

Judges who dispute death sentence ignore standards of state law

I am dismayed The Sun chose the side of errant judges J. Frederick Motz and John C. Eldridge ("A death sentence that can't pass muster," editorial, Oct. 17).

Kevin Wiggins was tried and convicted by Judge William Hinkle of the Baltimore County Circuit Court, who is known as an astute and fair jurist with many years of trial experience. A jury of 12 reheard the entire case in the sentencing phase. Thereafter, six judges from the Court of Appeals (Maryland's highest court) affirmed the conviction and sentence. Judge Eldridge was the lone dissenter.

That adds up to three separate considerations of the case by a total of seven judges and 12 jurors.

Now, six years later, without seeing or hearing witnesses or the defendant and with no new evidence, Mr. Motz charged all those prior judges, the jurors, the Attorney General's Office and the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office with "total irresponsibility," with being "unreasonable" and with lacking "moral concern."

The actions and statements of Mr. Motz are more than misguided and regrettable; they are reprehensible.

I commend the attorney general and the state's attorney for their vigorous opposition to Mr. Motz's efforts to thwart justice by interfering in this case.

He apparently is on a mission to release those convicted felons whose convictions do not measure up to his personal standards, regardless of the standards established by Maryland law.

James O'Conor Gentry Sr.

Towson

Picture of Judge Mitchell did him no justice

I am appalled that The Sun would allow a picture such as the one that accompanied the article about Circuit Court Judge David B. Mitchell ("Judge leaving circuit court," Oct. 20) to be used.

The picture certainly did not portray a man of stature and integrity in a manner appropriate for such a highly esteemed individual; rather it appeared to be a picture of someone of questionable character.

It was demeaning and in the poorest taste. Mr. Mitchell is due an apology, and the person who allowed it to be published is in dire need of sensitivity training.

Elizabeth E. Craig

Baltimore

Mount Vernon does attract new residents who renovate

In his column "Mount Vernon makeover thwarted by more than traffic" (Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 17), Chris Mulder argues improvements to transit and traffic will not attract new residents, because no one wants to live in Mount Vernon.

Actually, 7,000 people live in Mount Vernon today. And, even if improvements to transit and traffic don't attract new residents, why not make life better for current ones? Aren't they people too?

Besides, although Mr. Mulder doesn't seem to have noticed, Mount Vernon is attracting an increasing number of new residents. And our nonprofit corporation is working with 16 families making major renovations to houses in Mount Vernon.

Charles B. Duff

Baltimore

The writer is secretary of the Midtown Development Corp.

Reporting on vulnerable ports shows very poor judgment

The Sun's article "Easy targets invite terror at U.S. ports" (Oct. 19) was incredibly irresponsible and showed extremely poor judgment.

The government has asked the media to show restraint in its reporting so it does not help those who wish us harm. And since a great deal of the information used by terrorists has been from the public record, a bit of caution seems reasonable.

Pointing out where unguarded volatile chemicals and fertilizer are stored and displaying photos of fences that are easy to enter serves no public purpose.

As Americans, our freedom of speech comes with responsibilities. I hope The Sun will put the good of its readers and America above a good headline.

Charles J. Thomas

Baltimore

Hospital staph infections pose real bioterror threat

With all due respect and sympathy for the victims and understanding of the seriousness of the anthrax threat, there is a much worse "bioterror" in our midst, namely hospital-contracted staphylococcus. A recently published report indicates that more than 500,000 cases a year occur in U.S. hospitals, with 90,000 deaths.

I know the government will get us through this anthrax crisis. I hope it cracks down on the laxity in handling this other menace, which kills more people than auto accidents.

Reuben Cohen

Owings Mills

Praise for president shows the world really has changed

Having right-wing leanings, reading The Sun always creates anger within. However, the editorial "A commander in chief with real command" (Oct. 18) put the fear of God -- whoops, sorry, didn't mean to use the liberal-forbidden word -- in me.

The Sun's editors saying something intelligent and patriotic about a Republican president. Indeed, the world has changed.

Tom Mostyn

Towson

If bin Laden `disappears,' terror network could collapse

If U.S. Special Forces succeed in capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, it should not be announced or made public in any way. He should simply "disappear."

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