Speak Out!

April 30, 2006

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE:This month, Del. Terry R. Gilleland Jr. was acquitted of drunken driving and four related charges even though state police said that a Breathalyzer test measured his blood-alcohol level at 0.17 percent; Gilleland had admitted to drinking six beers.

A primary reason for the acquittal: At trial, the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office couldn't produce the two county police officers who reportedly found Gilleland, a Glen Burnie Republican, wandering into traffic in the early-morning hours of July 13 after his car crashed. The officers turned Gilleland over to state police, authorities said.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors say that unwitnessed crashes involving allegedly intoxicated drivers are sometimes hard to win -- even in cases that appear to be clear-cut.

Should the officers' absence have been a linchpin of the case? Should the case against Gilleland have been dismissed?

Blame missteps by prosecutors

Should the officers' absence have been a linchpin of the case? Yes. The prosecution messed up.

And should the case against Gilleland have been dismissed? Yes. If he wasn't an elected official, it wouldn't have even made the news. He should be treated like anyone else.

Michelle Mikeska Glen Burnie

Case should not have been dropped

No one should be above the law.

Why could those officers not be found? That is ludicrous.

[The case] should not have been dismissed, and it should have been handled better by all parties involved. This gives the perception of under-the-table dealings and it all should have been above-board. But this is what we have come to expect from our elected officials. What a shame. Too bad we can't depend on our police and officials to be honest.

Sandra Watts Glen Burnie

WE WANT YOUR OPINIONS

ISSUE

: Adam Goodheart, interim director of American Studies at Washington College in Chestertown, has raised a troubling question for the U.S. Naval Academy: Does the crypt in the basement of the military college's chapel really hold the embalmed body of John Paul Jones? In this month's issue of Smithsonian magazine, he suggests that the remains of the father of the U.S. Navy might still be in a desecrated Parisian cemetery, and were perhaps even used to fertilize a garden. Given that several of Jones' family members are buried in the U.S. and that the academy has a lock of hair alleged to be his, Goodheart asks, why not perform a DNA test? Academy officials, pointing to extensive work by a team of French anthropologists conducted when the body was found 100 years ago, have rebuffed Goodheart's idea.

YOUR VIEW:

Should the academy disinter the remains to confirm that the tomb so carefully guarded by midshipmen does, in fact, hold Jones' body?

Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your responses short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published next Sunday.

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