Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: justice system

Jan.
29th

BAIL: Many factors impact bail amount

Re: “Lower bail for DUI than for killing a dog?” (letter, 1-29).

The writer has no idea what bail is or why it is set at a particluar level.

To begin with, we have this odd thing called a Constitution. Washington has one and so does the United States. It provides that people are not guilty of anything until after they are convicted. In fact, they are actually innocent until convicted.

Secondly, the purpose of bail has never been to punish an offender. That is what sentencing is for after a person is found guilty.

Bail is the amount the court

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Sep.
9th

COURTS: Citizens should observe judges in action

I recently had the experience of observing a family court hearing in Pierce County. I was attending in support of a friend. Although the outcome was in my friend’s favor, I was disappointed in the way the court proceedings took place and the way in which a judgment was rendered.

It was clear that the judge was disinterested in the proceedings. He was often yawning and cradling his head in his hands, eyes closed. When it came time to render a decision, it was obvious that he had not looked at any of the materials or arguments previously submitted to

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Dec.
13th

JUSTICE: System lacks restorative opportunities

Marriam Oliver was denied clemency this week after spending 12 years of a 22-year sentence in prison for a crime she committed as a child. She was 14 years old at the time of her crime. She is now 26.

At the heart of clemency is forgiveness and mercy, and the clemency and pardons board unanimously agreed that Marriam deserved mercy. She deserved to be given an opportunity to reintegrate back into community. The Governor denied her this opportunity.

Today, the United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. And we are failing our citizens. This

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Feb.
13th

JUSTICE: We must live up to values of liberty

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama said:

“I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon, in Burma, when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American president into the home where she had been imprisoned for years; when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, ‘There is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that.’”

I hope that the people of Burma recognize just as we must, that justice and law must constantly be checked and balanced with fair treatment, equality, mercy,

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Feb.
6th

JUSTICE: Judge values punishment over restoration

On Jan. 25, I attended the sentencing of Karen Lofgren (TNT, 1-26).

I went into the courtroom expecting that the judge, Katherine Stolz, would be careful, compassionate and fair as she weighed all the evidence before her. I believed that she would consider all sides and order a sentence that balanced our society’s goals of punishment and restoration.

Instead I experienced the reality that some judges seem to value punishment and condemnation over everything else.

Lofgren’s deep remorse, her spotless record, her contributions to her community and the strong community support for rehabilitation and restoration were ignored. She was

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Jan.
28th

JUSTICE: Sentence focuses on punishment, not restoration

Re: “Woman gets 13-year sentence in murder-for-hire scheme” (TNT, 1-26).

It was a sad day for our justice system. I left the courtroom with a heavy heart after the sentencing of Karen Lofgren, for I witnessed firsthand how our justice system is eroding into one that seeks punishment and not restoration.

Alan Paton, a South African writer, wrote that “If a man takes unto himself God’s right to punish, then he must also take upon himself God’s promise to restore.”

When Karen wrote these words to the judge she was speaking truth: “I am truly sorry for this horrific

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July
16th

JUSTICES: Citizens need to step up to jury duty

I was thrilled to receive the little blue postcard calling me to jury duty. In the 35 years I have lived in Pierce County, this was my first summons.

A recent tour of the County-City Building revealed calls to jury duty receive less than a 10 percent positive response. How can a democratic court system function without the support of its citizens?

Justice may be blind, but more Pierce County residents must open their eyes and say yes to this vital civic obligation and privilege.

March
28th

JUSTICE: Embezzler’s sentence seems excessive

Regarding the sentence given the 63-year-old woman for embezzlement (TNT, 3-24):

As serious as this crime was, and as serious as I am about enforcing our laws, the 16-year sentence given this woman, considering her age, seems extreme. If memory serves, some violent crimes committed in the past have received lesser sentences than this nonviolent, first-time offense.

I would think that a much shorter sentence combined with restitution and community service would have much better served the concept of justice. I will pray that this 16- year sentence is reviewed with this in mind.