Saturday Mailbox


March 01, 2003

Prosecutors had no grounds for protective order

On behalf of the 204 prosecutors in the state's attorney's office of Baltimore City, I am writing to respond to Michael Olesker's column "Prosecutors' discovery rule decisions may prove fatal" (Feb. 6).

In four separate communications, including an interview with State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and Assistant State's Attorney Daniel Roe, Mr. Olesker was provided detailed information that was not reported accurately in his column.

Mr. Olesker incorrectly implied that the prosecutor had provided the victim's name, home address and phone number directly to the defendant. As Mr. Roe explained to Mr. Olesker, all information was provided to defense counsel, not to the defendant. This disclosure is required pursuant to Maryland's rules of discovery.

More significant, Mr. Olesker failed to mention that all of this information is contained in several public records. These records can be obtained by anyone for a minimal fee and are routinely obtained by the defense counsel in all criminal cases.

Additionally, in this case, the information was contained in the Statement of Probable Cause, which was given to the defense by the court at the defendant's initial appearance.

The court, upon motion by the state and for good cause, may order that specified disclosures be restricted. But in this case, the state had no information that would support a request for a protective order under the Maryland rules. When the state has such information, motions for protective orders are routinely filed.

And, as noted above, what was disclosed in this case was all a matter of public record and had been previously given to the defense by the court. Therefore, a protective order to withhold this information would have been pointless.

Margaret T. Burns


The writer is chief of communications and governmental affairs for the Baltimore City state's attorney's office.

Changing the face of Curtis Bay area

The author of "`Spiritual boot camp' in Curtis Bay changed lives" (Opinion

Commentary, Feb. 12) provided a less than inviting description of Curtis Bay based on his experience in the mid-1990s. I feel compelled to point out that there has been significant, positive change in Curtis Bay since that time.

The Community of Curtis Bay Association has worked hard to fight crime and grime. Its members volunteer their time because they "Believe" in their community.

And Curtis Bay has teamed up with neighboring Brooklyn to form the Brooklyn and Curtis Bay Coalition to help stabilize and improve both neighborhoods.

Most recently, Mayor Martin O'Malley announced that the Brooklyn and Curtis Bay Coalition was selected along with five other neighborhood clusters from various parts of the city to be designated as Strategic Neighborhood Action Plan (SNAP) areas.

This is the result of the commitment and dedication of the people in Curtis Bay and reflects the type of leadership in that community and many other areas of Baltimore.

Izzy Patoka


The writer is director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods.

Add attractions to entice visitors

Baltimore can become an attractive city for large conventions if it adds a few elements to its portfolio ("BACVA's acting CEO gets set to launch big sales blitz," Feb. 15).

The amount of rooms available has been a concern for some time. An expansive convention hotel is a must to attract the larger conventions New York, Chicago and Las Vegas draw.

It is also important to add as many attractions as possible to the city. One option is to move Pimlico Race Course closer to the hotels and attractions near the Inner Harbor.

By adding a hotel to the racetrack complex, and relocating it perhaps just north of Little Italy, we could create an advantageous situation for Pimlico, Baltimore's convention business and the entire downtown area. This area could also be considered as a site for full-scale gambling.

Gambling is a strong draw for conventioneers and would add a great deal of revenue for the city and the state.

There are many issues that would need to be worked out, but this is an idea that should be looked into by our officials.

Mark Sullivan


Billboards on arena could enhance area

As an architect and member of the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects, I feel I must respond to the letter by our treasurer and president-elect, "Dated arena impedes west-side revival" (Feb. 8).

I agree wholeheartedly that the arena should be razed and the street grid restored to reconnect the central city to the west side. But I think it's safe to assume that this won't happen soon.

In the interim, I find Baltimore Blast owner Edwin F. Hale Sr.'s signage idea a rather ingenious way to deal with the lump of an arena.

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