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Published: Sunday, 1/13/2013

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Prosecutor: State bill is no folly

In response to your Jan. 2 editorial “Prosecutors’ folly”: House Bill 265 gives the prosecutor the option to object to the waiver of a jury trial by the defendant and to insist on a jury trial in some felony cases. We believe this is necessary in order to abolish this last vestige of forum shopping and to ensure the state an impartial forum.

Among the salient points that we believe are applicable to this issue is that this is the law in federal courts and is the law in a majority of the states. It is recommended by the American Bar Association in its Standards for Criminal Justice.

The bill is supported by the Ohio attorney general, the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, the Ohio Chiefs of Police, and the Ohio Victim Witness Association.

The bill will not interfere with the trial judge’s control, and does not contravene the authority of the court to dismiss the case at the conclusion of the state’s case, at the conclusion of all the evidence, or even after the verdict is returned.

It has been argued that the bill is unnecessary because the prosecutor can file an affidavit of disqualification of the trial judge. We have learned, however, that of 273 affidavits filed in 2011 and 2012, up until about mid-November, only three were granted. It appears that this is not an effective remedy.

The Legislative Service Commission’s analysis has found that the bill’s fiscal impact on the operating expenses of the criminal justice system will be minimal.

Our proposal does not affect the defendant’s right to a jury trial, and its federal equivalent has been upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The standard for justice in this country is trial by jury. No party should be compelled to try its case in any other forum without its consent.

JOHN MURPHY

Executive Director Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association Columbus

McNamara did what is right

I am proud of my son Joe McNamara because he took a stand for what is right, ignoring any cost to his political career (“Democrats threaten to remove McNamara from executive panel; Unions bash council leader for opposition to party’s candidate,” Jan. 8).

I have some thoughts for union official Dennis Duffey. A threat to harm a public servant to intimidate him in the discharge of his duty is a third-degree felony.

I am a proud former dues-paying member of a state teachers’ union and daughter of an automotive industry union steward. His comments besmirch Toledo’s union heritage by portraying us as a group of vengeful thugs in the wake of a right-to-work movement that is threatening to eradicate us.

Mr. Duffey owes my son, our union brothers and sisters, and the citizens of the Toledo metropolitan area a public apology for his brutish, violent, and insensitive remarks.

JILL KELLY

Sylvania Township

Duffey should’ve used maturity

Whether you are Democrat or Republican, or for or against a specific Toledo City Council replacement, a unified response should be sent to Dennis Duffey regarding his nationally publicized comments (“Fox News slams remarks,” Jan. 9).

He should have exercised maturity and restraint. We don’t need more comments that shed a negative light on Toledo.

DAVID MALLORY

Sylvania Township

Articles unfairly taint Enright

The articles written by Blade staffers about newly appointed City Councilman Shaun Enright are callous and show little regard for the achievements he has made despite a troubled past.

I believe Mr. Enright made a choice in the course of his young life that manifested itself into his appointment to local government. I see this as a success story. The way it has been portrayed in The Blade reads more like a personal attack to sway voters from Mr. Enright’s election in this fall’s at-large bid to city council.

DAN KLINE

Swanton

Enright may bring new ideas

How about this for diversity on Toledo City Council: noncareer politicians. Who knows what new and refreshing ideas Shaun Enright may bring to the table?

Our city must move forward and away from old, tired ideas, concepts, and good-old-boy voting that has characterized City Council in the past.

RAY JOHNSTON

Darrel Road

Islamophobia column on point

I was pleasantly surprised to see that you published Dr. Mahjabeen Islam’s Jan. 6 op-ed column, “Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and freedom of speech.”

The column points out the increase in hate crimes against anyone who appears to be Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, or South Asian, from the stabbing of cab drivers in New York to the firebombing of mosques and desecration of Muslim cemeteries.

Dr. Islam points out that anti-Muslim hate crimes are orchestrated by the well-funded Islamophobia industry and media outlets such as Fox News.

Freedom of speech is important and serves a great purpose in self-expression and diversity of opinion. But when it is used as an excuse to put a negative label on a community or as a shield to incite deadly attacks, it goes against the first and most fundamental premise of our nation: the protection of life.

I was present at Randy Linn’s hearing and he clearly implicated Fox News in inciting him to burn the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. Shouldn’t Fox News be investigated and held responsible for these hate crimes?

I am proud that you published a column about Islamophobia. It is wonderful to know of fair-minded media outlets that adhere to the principles of journalism and justice.

ABDEL-WAHAB SOLIMAN

Perrysburg Township

Column leads to enlightenment

Thank you for publishing Dr. Islam’s op-ed column, which brought to light a problem in our society. There is hatred all around us, but it becomes more of a problem when it is promoted by the media.

If people cared enough, they would ask questions and try to understand what Islam and Muslims are about before they are spurred to do anything drastic.

Dr. Islam’s words reached out to me to search and question before jumping to conclusions. I hope there will be more clarification about Muslims by people who know the facts before more misunderstanding is spread.

FAYE SUGHEIR

Secor Road

Nation’s freedoms are sacrosanct

Dr. Islam needs to be reminded what country she’s living in. We have a Bill of Rights. The first one deals with the freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, and of petition. From what I can decipher from her rant, she would like to add an asterisk next to freedom of speech stating: “unless dealing with Islam.”

It doesn’t work that way. While some speech may offend some, it empowers others.

If our laws offend her, she needs to move.

America opens her arms to all, but people blessed enough to live here need to accept and respect our laws.

JEFFREY CLARK

Grand Rapids, Ohio



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