Letters To The Editor


October 06, 2002

Sun's criticism hampers effort to enforce laws

In its self-serving editorial "Baltimore's scourge," The Sun supported its three-part series "Justice Undone" (Sept. 29-Oct. 1) and criticized, yet again, the Police Department and, to a lesser extent, the city prosecutor's office.

The Sun fails to realize that it shares a huge portion of the blame for the failure to convict murderers.

For years, The Sun's repeated, indiscriminate attacks against the prosecutor's office and Police Department have helped produce a disastrous result -- many of the citizens of Baltimore who sit on the juries loathe the very police officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens and the prosecutors who tirelessly work in an underfunded office to prosecute the criminals.

Many murderers walk free because the jurors, who have read nothing but The Sun's rants for years, think police officers and prosecutors are worse than the murderers.

I hope The Sun will stop pointing fingers and instead work, as the good corporate citizen it should be, to support the Police Department and prosecutor's office as they do their jobs, and to encourage citizens to take their city back from the criminals.

Richard Goldberg


The writer's wife is an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore.

Rotation plan ruined Police Department

As a retired police officer who spent his last 15 years at work as a detective in the city's homicide unit, I read with a lot of interest (and a little smile) The Sun's articles regarding the "crumbling cases" in Baltimore ("Justice Undone," Sept. 29-Oct. 1).

I wonder what the situation would be if former city police Commissioner Thomas Frazier hadn't ruined the Police Department in general and the homicide unit in particular when he instituted his rotation policy. This policy, in effect, forced veteran homicide detectives (with hundreds of years of experience) to retire rather than go back into uniform.

Gerald Alan Goldstein


Press the politicians to stop the violence

The Sun's investigation of our city's struggles to put murderers behind bars was heart-breaking ("Justice Undone," Sept. 29-Oct. 1).

Despite the courageous efforts of many -- prosecutors, police, witnesses, family members -- deep flaws throughout the criminal justice system work against those efforts, and murderers walk free.

It appears, however, that the flaws are reparable and steps to correct them already are being taken. And we citizens should demand that our politicians -- city, state and federal -- overcome disagreements and work together to give Baltimore what it needs.

Karen Watson


How about a panel to control criminals?

I retired in 1996 after 30 years in local law enforcement. And I agree with Maryland State Police Col. David B. Mitchell's statement that the Handgun Roster Board has been effective in keeping cheap handguns out of Maryland ("Gun sales panel disputes Ehrlich remarks," Sept. 28).

From experience I can say that the criminals now have very good quality handguns.

Maybe Colonel Mitchell can next head a Criminal Roster Board to get rid of criminals.

John Laing


Without oversight, junk guns will return

The vice president of the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association Inc. states that the Handgun Roster Board has fulfilled its mission of banning unsafe and poorly made handguns, and may have outlived its usefulness ("Gun board has trouble finding new junk to ban," letters, Sept. 30).

I can assure you if this oversight were to end, a new batch of junk handguns would emerge the next day -- and the writer and his associates would sell them.

Jim Dolan


City Council needs some fresh blood

When Maryland's highest court ruled that Question Q must be removed from the ballot, it did a great service to the citizens of Baltimore ("Appeals court voids council's election plan," Oct. 1).

When the council tried to push through its own plan, which would have reduced the council's size by four members but with two-member districts rather than the single-member districts the coalition's reform plan called for, it went too far.

The current council needs to be smaller, but it also is in desperate need of fresh blood. Single-member districts just might make that happen.

C. D. Wilmer


Pre-emptive strike sows seeds of chaos

President Bush's revised request to Congress for military power won't cut it ("Bush trims his request to use force against Iraq," Sept. 27). And I believe many more Americans than Mr. Bush realizes do not support his administration's pre-emptive strike doctrine, in Iraq or anywhere else.

This administration's new foreign policy breaks with international law and sets very dangerous precedents, creating conditions for potential international chaos. Other countries could decide to follow suit and pre-emptively strike their own enemies.

I hope Congress realizes that a groundswell against this policy exists. And Congress must devote time to this important debate, instead of rushing to a vote.

Libby Baker

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