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Letters, September 25, 2013

  • Thursday, September 26, 2013

  • Updated Saturday, September 28, 2013 10:30 pm

“To save money the jury will not be sequestered”

Dear Editor,

Within the next few weeks a trial is set to begin in New York City, a contest between the State and all that is civilized against an individual who has been charged with murder. While making legal prognostications is not something I indulge in on a regular basis, it is my belief that the cause of justice is about to be defeated. The reason — a total lack of leadership on the part of the entire Washington establishment. While it is obvious that the folks on Capitol Hill are now blamed for just about everything, we have reached the place where, more often than not, they deserve whatever arrows are sent their way. Please keep reading.

We know that all those indicted are presumed innocent until proven guilty. That said, it may be of interest to our elected officials that a defendant is at the Federal bar of justice, charged with leading a murderous gang for a dozen years, involvement in shootings, knife attacks, vicious beating of a co-defendant, threatening a police officer with death, and other assorted acts of violence. It is worth remembering that in the past he has been convicted of jury tampering.

The facts to be determined by the upcoming trial are enough to keep neighbors awake nights but now, citing the effects of budget cutbacks from the sages in Washington, the presiding judge has decided that to save money the jury will not be sequestered. In other words, any individual in the courtroom can see the jurors, perhaps identify one or more, and go visiting one or several any evening.

If the defendant has his minions confront a juror with a bit of unsolicited advice, such as “If you want your little girl to live until Christmas, you’d better hold out for acquittal,” what will be the result? On the other hand, if conviction is made, a legitimate case might be made that during the trial the jury could have been exposed to local or national news and influenced to convict by what was read or heard. Another trial? Same result? Either way, justice will not be served.

Eighty-seven Federal judges recently wrote to the Vice President, explaining that cuts in funding for clerks, probation officers, and public defenders are putting public safety at serious risk and slowing the legal system to a halt. Said one official “In the end, we’ll pay double. It’s an insane way to do business.” Only in America!

There is so much money wasted in Washington, so much could be saved, we must do something or eventually face certain financial ruin. That said, there is a place for the government to come into our lives and it all costs money. We deserve safe streets. We deserve effective and efficient courts. And we deserve our money’s worth.

This is just one voter’s recommendation but, with all of the uproar over Obamacare, I suggest that Congress vote to end its own taxpayer-funded, super-expensive health perks and opt into the Obama system with the rest of us. (Remember, they decided to bring us in, while leaving themselves out!) That done, we citizens might not like the new law but will be more willing to allow its implementation, the government will save a few million dollars, and the money saved can be better used to see that justice might prevail.

Barry A. Price
(See New York Times, September 20, 2013, page A-24.)

Community policing in Andrews

Dear Editor,

Andrews Mayor Rodney Giles and the Town Council may have made the right choice in hiring Joseph Cooper to be the Andrews Chief of Police. At the Sept. 19 Andrews Town Council meeting residents expressed concern about drug dealers. Telltale signs are sneakers hung over utility wires, which is a signal that dealers are nearby. Street signs are also removed.

Chief Cooper responded that the Andrews Police will take a proactive approach and will not back off. Cooper, an Army veteran, knows about paramilitary police tactics and community policing. Cooper says he will start by discussing crime prevention with community groups and will hold a gang awareness workshop.

Community policing can work if embraced by citizens. A "neighborhood watch" concept is employed and citizens become "trained observers" reporting suspicious activity, persons and vehicles to the 9-11 dispatcher. A town can become a "zone of awareness" where citizens form a partnership with our police.

Residents should never confront suspicious persons. Let the police handle that. Dial 9-1-1 and report the location of the individuals or the direction they are headed, the type of activity, a brief description of their clothing and most important if you observe any weapons. If a vehicle is involved report the make, model, color and plate number if possible and the number of occupants inside the vehicle.

Trust your instincts. If you feel persons are suspicious and don't belong in your neighborhood dial 9-1-1. Often suspicious persons are looking for a criminal opportunity such as an unlocked home window, an open shed or garage door, tools and yard equipment left unattended outside or an unlocked car or truck. When in doubt about persons in your neighborhood, have the police check them out.

Many law enforcement agencies have a crime tip hotline or website where citizens can report criminal activity that they observe. It is clear that Chief Cooper will have an open door policy. Five new police officers will be hired in Andrews. Chief Cooper stated he has shared information about wanted persons with the U.S. Marshals. Chief Cooper is leading his officers to make Andrews a safer community.

Citizens must be involved. Attend Town Council meetings. Mentor a student. Teach nonviolence. Be a role model. Report criminal activity. Andrews is a town of faithful church-goers and patriots. Good people will overcome.

Respectfully Submitted,

Greg Bennett

Marine Corps League wants to expand its ranks

The Grand Strand Detachment of the Marine Corps League is looking for Marines and FMF [Fleet Marine Force] Corpsmen to expand the ranks by joining our band of brothers and sisters. If you enjoy working with and helping other Marines and their families, the Marine Corps League is for you.

If you enjoy going to Marine Corps related functions, such as the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, quarterly trips to Camp Lejeune Wounded Warriors Barracks cookouts, volunteering for Toys for Tots program during the Christmas season, participating in color guard ceremonies during national holidays, and /or learning more about Marine Corps history, the Marine Corps League is for you.

Our dues are $35 the first year and $30 per year afterwards (includes Semper Fi magazine) to be part of the Grand Strand Detachment of the Marine Corps League and a copy of your DD-214.

The league is comprised of honorably discharged as well as reserve and active duty Marines and FMF Corpsmen with over 90 days of service. Those individuals that want to participate with the Marine Corps League, but do not otherwise qualify, may join as associate members.

The Marine Corps League mission statement: Members of the Marine Corps League join together in camaraderie and fellowship for the purpose of preserving the traditions and promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps and those who have been honorably discharged from that service; voluntarily aiding and rendering assistance to all Marines and veteran Marines, and to their widows and orphans, and by perpetuating the history of the United States Marine Corps through fitting acts to observe the anniversaries of historical occasions of particular interest to Marines.

If you are interested in sharing some quality time with our brothers and sisters:

When: Third Monday of every month (except August and December) at 1800 hours.
Where: American Legion Post 178, Hwy. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Feel free to contact the following at any time to obtain an application for membership or any additional information.
Art Blenk, phone 843-235-1328, Cell 843- 655-5654
Commandant, ablenk@sc.rr.com
Tamie Boger, phone 843-360-9736, Junior Vice Commandant capttamie@aol.com

Art Blenk
Pawleys Island

Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.


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