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Letters to the Editor 8/17

August 23, 2000

Letters to the Editor 8/17



Abuse of law



To the editor:

If anyone still wonders why most Americans rank lawyers and jurists at about the same level as used car dealers, consider the latest administration of "justice" by the Maryland Court of Appeals. The court, on July 24, overturned the death sentence of 45-year-old Joe Roy Metheny because, even though he strangled Catherine Magaziner in 1994, no aggravating factors existed. In other words, he did not murder her while committing a robbery and carjacking the victim, he simply killed her.

But wait, there's more. Metheny told people he had killed as many as 10 people and was indicted for the deaths of three of them. Obviously, it would have been better if a person such as Metheny had strangled on his own umbilical cord back in 1955. But Maryland's court system, cavorting with the law, decided that since Metheny took the victim's clothing and purse after he killed her, the murder was incidental to the crime. Had Metheny strangled her "in the furtherance of a robbery" he presumably would now be on death row.

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Now let's take a deep breath and regroup. It seems to me that Catherine Magaziner (and the others Metheny admitted to killing) lost something before or during the murder act: their dignity and their rights. We have a social compact with America (and the state of Maryland) to observe the law, pay taxes, etc., and in return the government agrees to protect us against the likes of Joe Roy Metheny.

Capital punishment is the redemption of the contract that society owes to all human beings: To protect them and to guard posthumously their dignity, by taking the life of those who took their lives.

The Maryland Court of Appeals has done us all an immense disservice by sentencing Metheny merely to life in prison - a judgment which we all know can be overturned or reduced by future machinations of the legal profession. While the jurists debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, we might do well to consider the words of a former U.S. Court of Appeals judge, Robert H. Bork: "Some of our cities delight in nihilism and destruction as much as do the random killers in our cities. The weapons are just different. But who, familiar with the academic world, to take a single instance, has not seen destructive ideas spread by men and women, not because they mean well, but because they want notoriety, influence, power or just because they enjoy laying waste the structures built by others? There is no reason to think that people with Ph.D.s are more well-intentioned than people who dropped out of high school."

Jonathan Moeller

Frederick, Md.




A fine lady



To the editor:

I worked with Shirley Ann Schroeder, the lady killed in the car accident on Leitersburg Pike at Maryland Ribbon Co. She was a fine lady.

She was always happy and friendly and would always talk to you no matter at work or outside of work. She talked to most of my family at the Washington County Hospital back in April when my mother was sick.

Shirley was a special lady and will be missed. People like me can learn from a person like Shirley - live life to the fullest. It was an honor to know and work with someone like Shirley Ann Schroeder. People like her are special. What put a spark in her was she was always happy. And that to me will always make her a special lady. Your friend always, Charles.

Charles W. Ernde Jr.

Hagerstown




Lights needed



To the editor:

It is 5 p.m. At about 4:15 or 4:20 p.m. today I heard a large crash and a scream in front of my house. I looked out and saw a girl running in the street. One car, red, was up over the curb. The other half in my driveway.

In this case, the two drivers seemed unhurt. Thank goodness.

This is one dangerous street. The traffic is unending.

Yesterday afternoon a pick up and a car were racing up Northern Avenue. As they approached Pennsylvania Avenue, the car put on brakes and slid over the curb. They could have been traveling at about 70 miles an hour.

Before there is a fatal accident, the city and county need to add stop lights at all corners to stop speeding.

Mary Jane Viar

Hagerstown

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