A life sentence for Fumo is unjust

Former State Sen. Vince Fumo ("Two of three appeals judges question Fumo sentence," Thursday) has lost his law license and will forever wear the brand of "felon." He has paid millions in fines and more millions to his lawyers. And now he is being hounded by careerist prosecutors intent on getting their last pound of flesh.

Fumo was properly found guilty of 137 bad deeds. When he was sentenced, the trial judge took into account the 137,000 good deeds for which he was responsible in his long service to Pennsylvania.

Now prosecutors are seeking to take away his very life, because the 21-year sentence they are demanding would mean that someone who in fact has given much to his community will die in prison.

Justice? I don't think so.

Reese Palley


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Let judges sentence, not prosecutors

Former State Sen. Vince Fumo has no prior criminal record, was not convicted of a violent crime, and there were no wholesale victim impact statements at the time of his sentencing. There were, however, approximately 300 letters of support, including many from some very prominent citizens.

Nonetheless, prosecutors are asking for what would be tantamount to a life sentence. Fumo is 68. Add 18 years (with time off for good behavior) to that, and that's 86, which is probably beyond his life expectancy.

I hope the appeals court gives Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter the opportunity to, as the article put it, "fix any computation errors, offer a more detailed rationale for his decision, and impose the same 55-month sentence."

Anything else could be interpreted as giving the prosecution the right to sentence a defendant, while possibly discouraging other federal judges from exercising their discretion when appropriate.

Albert Whitehead


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Castor and Brown not opportunistic

An article on May 24, "Montco candidates Castor and Brown take a strong stand for Israel," implies that both Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown have taken an opportunistic position on Israel to appeal to Jewish voters in upcoming county commissioner elections. I don't think their records support that implication.

Castor and Brown are both solid, longtime Zionists. Given the nature of the remarks by President Obama, their support and the support of Montgomery County Republicans in general is most appreciated.

I have heard Castor speak on security and terrorism issues relating to Montgomery County in general and the particular threat to Jews in Lower Merion and Montco. This is not a new position for him, but a natural and commonsense extension of his law-enforcement orientation.

Bob Guzzardi


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Not everyone can afford arugula

I very much disagree with a letter on May 22 ("One simple exercise keeps weight off").

I am fortunate that I have access to - and can afford - fresh fruits and vegetables. I also have the time to prepare and cook them. But what about the hardworking families who have neither the time nor the money?

The problem is not just people making poor food choices, but also that they have so few options. Unfortunately, calorie-rich and nutrition-poor foods cost less and are easier to prepare than healthy meals. What are they supposed to do? Go hungry? So they eat what may not be the best meal, but one that at least fills the stomach.

Joyce LaCrosse-Smith


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Israel oppresses the Palestinians

I was appalled at the recent congressional session hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ("Netanyahu is cheered on Hill for '67 stand," Wednesday).

The Palestinians have been living under occupation by Israel. This is an oppressive, humiliating existence for a people who have been dispossessed of their lands and water sources, as well as often cut off from each other by a wall that interrupts their lives in so many ways. Even those living in Israel proper are second-class citizens. Our government contributes to this inhumanity.

What has happened to American values? U.S. laws bar Congress from giving military aid to countries whose policies, like Israel's, violate our principles. But the rule of law is sidestepped in the case of this "special relationship." Direct military aid to Israel costs U.S. taxpayers $3 billion annually.

Wake up, America!

Gene Ramsbottom


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Nothing 'quixotic' about Barnes case

In an otherwise fine article ("Barnes' soul will stay behind," May 22), Edward J. Sozanski describes the current legal challenge as "quixotic" and related to the "magic" of the Barnes experience.

This calls for some clarification.

There is no denying the magic of the Barnes, but the legal case is not about magic. Its purpose is to examine allegations of fraud against the court and fraud against the public. Transparent proceedings will replace the smoke and mirrors.

The Friends of the Barnes' attorney, Sam Stretton, is not tilting at windmills, but taking careful aim with a compelling argument grounded in superior knowledge of the law. Even at this late hour, the Barnes legacy and the public deserve a fair process untainted by shenanigans previously hidden from the Court.

Evelyn Yaari

Bala Cynwyd