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Criminal justice system failed

Chicago Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy (2nd from left) listens speakers during press conference he called with Mayor Rahm Emanuel promote

Chicago Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy (2nd from left) listens to speakers during a press conference he called with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to promote a plan to increase mandatory minimum sentencing for serious gun crimes in an effort to combat the city

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Updated: April 12, 2013 6:06AM

Much of what retired judge Daniel Locallo said in his Feb. 23 Sun-Times article “Proposed sentencing laws unwise” about Illinois constitutional and statutory sentencing law and common sense is right on target.

In essence, he said that, on balance, judges should have wide discretion in sentencing individual convicted defendants so that the sentence imposed fits the attendant circumstances of all concerned, including the defendant, rather than compelled by law to hand down a mandatory prison sentence.

Locallo’s comments come on the heels of the murder of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendelton by the alleged murderer 18-year-old Michael Ward, who was on probation at the time of Pendelton’s murder for a felony gun conviction.

There are, however, several serious omissions in Locallo’s article about Ward.

The media widely reported the following salient items, which Locallo fails to mention: Ward had two prior juvenile court adjudications; moreover, he had been arrested and charged, while on the gun probation but before Pendleton was murdered, on three different occasions, yet there were no judicial probation revocation hearings. Regarding the latter, it is fair to say that, based on the media reports, one or more persons and agencies in the Cook County criminal justice system failed to do the right, and legal, thing in relation to Ward’s probation violations.

Judge Locallo is correct in his assessment about the short-sightedness of mandatory prison sentencing laws, but the Pendleton/Ward matter is the wrong example. Chances are the Hadiya Pendleton would be alive today if the mechanics of the Cook County criminal justice system were working as the law required.

Dennis M. Dohm,

retired Circuit judge,

Oak Lawn,

Get rid of the penny

England is currently very wisely phasing out the use of its penny and rounding off prices to the nearest nickel, resulting in faster and simpler transactions.

Although this idea as been suggested for our country many times in the past, we foolishly continue to make costly almost useless pesky pennies we carry around. I wish someone would offer a logical and intelligent reason why.

Ken Greenberg,


Record of winning

Larry Dominick won the election in Cicero. Wow, maybe Ryan should run for governor again.

Don Drapinski, Matteson

Politicians get off easy

If a medical doctor is guilty of malpractice, he or she gets sued. If an attorney is guilty of malpractice, he or she gets sued. If an engineer is guilty of malpractice, he or she gets sued. And so on. So, why is it that when politicians are guilty of malpractice, they get re-elected? How dumb can we be?

Lee J. Regner, Park Ridge

Out of touch

Well, you have to give Jack Higgins this much: he is consistent. Consistently out of touch with reality. A day after a cartoon where he shows that he doesn’t understand the difference between the weather and the climate, he suggests that people should imitate Depression-era Dust Bowl farmers and put their money in their mattresses rather than the stock market. As the stock market hits all-time record highs. What’s next? A cartoon about how great the Chicago Cubs are?

Bill Savage, Rogers Park

Meat causes global warming

Nothing causes more global warming than raising and killing animals for their meat! This inhumane travesty is massively responsible for air, water and land pollution, deforestation, dire water shortages, the destruction of rain-forests and irreparable damage to ecosystems. It’s unpardonable that we still inhumanely slaughter our fellow creatures for their flesh to placate our palates and to decimate our earthly habitats.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

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