Letters to the editor: Dec. 22 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to the editor: Dec. 22

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Posted: Sunday, December 21, 2008 9:20 pm | Updated: 9:14 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

I have raised this issue in the past because it really is a civil rights issue, unlike much of what the media falsely calls one. I’m talking about the habit of prosecutors to come up with as many criminal counts as possible to charge somebody with, hoping that by throwing so many counts at a wall, something will stick.

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DON STAPLEY

Assault on liberties

I have raised this issue in the past because it really is a civil rights issue, unlike much of what the media falsely calls one. I’m talking about the habit of prosecutors to come up with as many criminal counts as possible to charge somebody with, hoping that by throwing so many counts at a wall, something will stick.

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And something always does stick, because of jury psychology. With so many counts before them, the jury believes they must decide a “guilty” verdict on some of them or else appear weak or stupid. The jury figures that the defendant must be guilty of something. Prosecutors count on this, thus they can either force defendants into plea bargains, or else bankrupt them by having to defend themselves from so many different charges — many of them overlapping as different ways of claiming the same thing.

That said, making one jury decide 118 counts is just as prejudicial to the defendant as raising prior convictions as “evidence” at trial — and one could argue that it’s even more unfair. The solution is to make the prosecutor put up or shut up by having 118 separate trials with 118 separate juries. That would prevent the state from doing this in the future and railroading people.

ROBERT C. BARBER JR.

PHOENIX

SCHOOL CHOICE

More options needed

Panfilo Contreras of the Arizona School Boards Association takes the Goldwater Institute to task for charging President-elect Barack Obama with hypocrisy for criticizing school choice programs during his campaign while exercising school choice as a parent (“Vouchers Work Well for Wealthy,” Opinion 2, Dec. 9).

Contreras says private schools work well only for the wealthy. That would surprise tens of thousands of low-income children in Arizona and elsewhere who attend private schools because of school choice programs, the financial sacrifices of their parents, or both. For kids in failing public schools or who have special needs, school choice programs provide an educational life preserver.

Contreras should know first-hand. His group, using our tax dollars, is challenging in court school choice programs that provide scholarships to disabled children and children in foster care to attend private schools. Hundreds of children who desperately needed educational options are benefitting from those programs. We join Contreras in the goal of making high-quality public schools available to every child — and wish his group would focus its resources on that goal rather than challenging needed alternatives in court. But as the Obamas have demonstrated, even when good public schools are available, they may not be the “best fit” for particular children. The Obamas should not be the only people who live in public housing who get to send their kids to private schools.

CLINT BOLICK

LITIGATION DIRECTOR

GOLDWATER INSTITUTE

ANIMAL WELFARE

Teach children to care

Once again, children have brutally murdered another vulnerable animal: a trusting, helpless 4-month-old kitten. Kind youngsters are not born, they are created by their parents, and our religious and educational systems. All of these continue to dangerously fail to instill vital respect and compassion for all life in our highly impressionable young people, while the entertainment business relentlessly and irresponsibly churns out violence and depravity.

Society creates its own criminal element, which sadly begins its sadistic behavior by cruelly victimizing animals. I recently adopted three beautiful kittens, and can readily understand the deep terror and excruciating pain that this tragic kitten was senselessly forced to endure for the perverted and twisted pleasure of these two, animal-killing boys.

If these heartless boys had been taught kindness to animals from birth, they would not have committed this hideous crime. It is imperative that they both be swiftly and severely punished for their vicious acts, and that their young age not be used to prevent it. Age is no excuse for this. The kitten’s tender age certainly did not spare this innocent animal suffering and death.

DONNA WORTHINGTON

MESA

SCHOOL UNIFORMS

What if they are ugly?

I don’t think school uniforms are a good idea. I think school uniforms are not good because it takes away students’ freedom of expression. We should be able to wear clothes that we like. I don’t like the idea that we have to wear the same thing every day.

Sometimes when the school picks out uniforms, they get stupid ones. So that is why I don’t like or want school uniforms.

WYATT MALOY

MESA

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