shouldn't be charged
Your recent series on Philadelphia's criminal justice system, "Justice: Delayed, Dismissed, Denied," did not adequately address one of the main reasons that many of these cases are dismissed: The defendants should never have been arrested in the first place.
The police routinely make an arrest with little or no investigation. The motivation of the person making the complaint is never questioned for fear of political correctness, and corroboration is rarely obtained. Thus, even if a police officer does not believe or cannot corroborate the complainant's version of events, it becomes easier to make the arrest and let someone else make the decision to charge.
The matter is then typically assigned to young assistant district attorneys who are not given the authority to dismiss weak cases. Because they often fear a supervisor's chastising them, they in turn pass the buck to the judge or the jury to make the final decision. And when a case is finally dismissed by a judge, maybe months or years later, even if it was the right decision, the judge faces the prospect of being unfairly excoriated by the press and ridiculed by the district attorney.
Also lost in your analysis is the emotional and financial toll these false arrests have on those wrongfully accused as well as the effect it has on their families. Often, people have to muster all their resources to pay bail, and only a small percentage can afford to hire an attorney.
Ronald L. Greenblatt
Greenblatt Funt & Flores, LLC
Whether or not convictions are achieved in the latest round of indictments of high state officials, I believe that the yeoman's work of Attorney General Tom Corbett and his staff will serve to shine a light on the ugly underbelly of Pennsylvania politics, particularly the perpetual drive for reelection by many members of the General Assembly.
The cynic would conclude that the primary goal of a Pennsylvania representative or senator is to secure his or her seat for life, and if the public's business intersects with that goal, it is simply by coincidence. If there is any better argument for term limits than the Corbett indictments, I do not know what it would be.
Oren M. Spiegler
Upper Saint Clair
Why so many
football bowl games?
What do MAACO, Sheraton Hotels, Little Caesars, Meineke Car Care, Gaylord Hotels, Eagle Bank, Champs Sports, Chick-fil-A, Konica, Minolta, Allstate, Papa John's, AT&T, Tostitos, Federal Express, GMAC, and CitiBank have in common? They are just some of the 34 sponsors of college football bowl games to be played through Jan. 7.
More incredible is that the 68 college football teams are guaranteed an aggregate financial payout of more than $246 million. The smallest payout for a team is $300,000, while the largest one is $18 million.
I remember only four bowl games in my youth - Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Sugar Bowl. This bowl season will need 20 days before all 34 games have been played. Obviously, it is all about the money for the networks and the universities - nothing more.
David M. Levin
are on the agenda
You correctly pointed out in a Dec. 14 editorial, "Fat Cats rule in Pa.," that one reason for the General Assembly's less-than-positive reputation is that Pennsylvania has no limits on the amount of political campaign contributions.
In the near future, the House State Government Committee will hold a hearing on my legislation, which addresses this issue. It would require candidates for the General Assembly to file an additional pre-election campaign expense report during the year a candidate is on the ballot, require candidates for all offices who file nomination petitions to file campaign expense reports electronically, increase the fees for late filings and, most importantly, enact contribution limits.
By limiting contributions to General Assembly candidates to $2,000, we can lessen the real or perceived influence of special interests such as the tobacco and energy lobbies.
Rep. Babette Josephs (D., Phila.)
State Government Committee
a slap to U.S.
Iraq recently passed out lucrative oil contracts to China, Russia, and Iran, while America was thrown a bone. This is our reward for spending billions in treasure and blood. This administration puts a good face on it by showing that Iraq is not our puppet. Remember when the Bush administration justified the war because our coffers would be replenished by oil revenues?
This slap in the face just reflects the animosity that even the new, assisted democracies have against us. Our own allies sit back and watch the wars as if in a cinema. Maybe we should revisit isolationism.
Anthony J. Frascino
As pastor of a church with a decades-old tradition of ordaining gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender ministers, it pains me to observe the trauma the Episcopal/Anglican church is putting itself through over the issue of openly gay clergy.
As a straight, male minister, I have found our faith to be strengthened and deepened by the diversity of experiences that my GLBT colleagues bring to our congregations. Spiritual leaders are most effective when they reflect and relate to the full range of experiences and orientations within their communities.
I pray that all people of faith may one day recognize that whom we love is far less important than that we love one another as God calls us.
Rev. Peter A. Friedrichs
Unitarian Universalist Church
of Delaware County