What others are saying

January 23, 2007

The Supreme Court has rightly refused to block the trial of seven Los Angeles residents accused of contributing funds to an Iranian opposition movement that the State Department has branded a terrorist group.

The high court let stand a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that prosecuting the defendants - who are innocent until proved guilty - posed no First Amendment problem. As Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld pithily put it: "Sometimes money serves as a proxy for speech, and sometimes it buys goods and services that are not speech. Guns and bombs are not speech."

- Los Angeles Times

Picture a 50-year-old convict standing in front of a judge in Dallas County, once again pleading his innocence in a crime committed more than 23 years ago.

On the one hand, there was something mighty right about what played out Wednesday morning in Judge John Creuzot's courtroom. On the other hand, there was something very wrong.

James Waller was convicted of raping a 12-year-old boy in 1983 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He served 10 years in the penitentiary before being paroled in 1993 and has been trying ever since to prove he was not guilty of the crime.

During a hearing in Judge Creuzot's court Wednesday, Mr. Waller was with attorney Barry Scheck and other lawyers representing the New York-based Innocence Project, and they presented conclusive DNA evidence that Mr. Waller did not commit the crime.

What was right about what happened that day was that the judge apologized for the injustice and vowed to expedite the procedures to clear Mr. Waller's name. What was so troubling is that Mr. Waller is the 12th person in five years in Dallas County to be cleared through DNA testing.

That is an alarming figure by any measure, and something of which Dallas County and the entire state of Texas ought to be ashamed.

- Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram

To the person who stole my son's work tools from the trailer in front of his house in Kenner on Monday: He supports his seven children with those tools. What do you expect him to do now?

Please return the tools. Times are hard enough without something like this happening.

Sue Saltalamacchia, in a letter to the editor

- Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

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