Public attorneys make bail system more just, and could...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 11, 2001

Public attorneys make bail system more just, and could save money

The bail bond industry's recent attempts to divert attention from systemic bail reforms ignores fiscal realities ("Bail laws fight looms," Oct. 30).

Research shows that providing a public defender at bail hearings more than doubles the likelihood that judges will release defendants charged with nonviolent offenses on personal recognizance, rather than requiring unaffordable bail.

Reducing the number and duration of incarcerations would be a good thing for a state facing a gloomy economic forecast. At a cost of $54 a day to the Maryland taxpayer for room and board alone, jail stays aren't cheap.

Several weeks ago, 23 organizations and two former U.S. attorneys for Maryland signed a letter to Gov. Parris N. Glendening asking him to ensure legal representation at bail hearings for indigent defendants. The diverse coalition rightly accentuated the need to make Maryland's criminal justice system fair for everyone, instead of making freedom dependent upon financial ability.

And at a cost of only $890,000, the proposed policy would also be a money-saver.

Lawmakers should fund the group's modest request. Spending a little now will save much more in the future.

Jeff Caruso

Annapolis

The writer is associate director for social concerns of the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Protecting cross-burning slaps minorities in the face

Virginia's Supreme Court ruling on cross-burning, which found that such acts of bigotry are a protected form of speech, is a slap in the face to all Americans, but especially insulting to all black and other so-called ethnic minorities ("Va. court nullifies cross-burning law," Nov. 3).

Let that court explain its decision to the many servicemen and women who are gearing up to fight and die for this country's war in Afghanistan.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Garland L. Crosby

Baltimore

Profiled Air Force officer deserves a full apology

It was with a heavy heart that I read "It's a nation on edge, Air Force officer finds" (Oct. 30).

The greatness of our nation depends on equal treatment and fairness to all our citizens, not just those who are white and of European descent.

America is about fairness for all of our citizens, regardless of race, religion or national origin. A full apology is owed to Officer Faisal Siddiqui, a proud member of the armed forces of our great country.

We can and must do a better job of being vigilant about our country's safety without abusing our own citizens.

Doris Lindenmuth

Finksburg

Act forcefully to control our internal enemies

Why wait to appease our anti-American enemies? During World War II we acted wisely by separating the Japanese from other Americans. Many were good people, just as today many Muslims are good people. But why should we take a chance on another mass murder or worse?

Sept. 11 should never be repeated, no matter what the cost. We have too many enemies here in the United States; these enemies threaten our very existence.

It's imperative that we act forcefully - and now.

Bernice Harrison

Baltimore

Bombarding Afghanistan won't foster peace or security

As Michael Hill's article "Reap the whirlwind" (Nov. 4) suggests, massive bombing of people who were starving before Sept.11 generates the hatred and desperation necessary to kindle the fire for a long and terrible "holy war."

Continued bombing of this war-torn country is not an effective solution for finding terrorists. And ending terrorism and creating a just, lasting peace will involve solutions much more complex and long-term than bombing countries back to the Stone Age.

Making sure food is distributed (not dropped from the sky) to less-developed areas of the world, promoting research and development on alternative sources of energy, and helping rebuild war-ravaged nations while sharing the wealth of more prosperous nations will do more to promote true security than bombing countries into moonscapes ever will.

Lee Lears

Annapolis

Declare war on the violence that terrorizes our cities

The attacks of Sept. 11 were devastating to the nation. We responded with a war on terrorism. We do not know when it will end. We do know it will cost billions.

Each year, attacks of a different type devastate the inner cities of this country. These attacks take the form of violence and murders that occur without end.

In Baltimore alone, hundreds of people a year are killed by homicide. Add that number to all the homicides in other large cities and you find that, at a minimum, the same number of people killed Sept. 11 get killed each year in our cities. Yet there is no war declared to combat this, and there is no extra money for police or other measures that could decrease the violence.

I believe we need to take a closer look at our priorities and address this devastation that takes thousands of lives a year.

Nick Politakis

Baltimore

One-party rule condemns Maryland to cronyism

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