It's Not How You Conduct the Trial, It's Whether You Send 'Em to the Slammer
Kirk Semple's article about Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Udolf ("Witness for the Prosecution," August 21) was -- succinctly stated -- silly. Its silliness was surpassed only by Mr. Udolf's responses to Mr. Semple's questions. Prosecutors do not prosecute because they want to be part of a "well-tried" case. They prosecute to win. The object is to convict. To imply otherwise is disingenuous. The Raul Martinez prosecutions (note the plural) underscore that point.
It was not enough that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals -- a traditionally conservative federal court -- reversed Mr. Martinez's conviction. The government had to try him two more times, at great expense to him as well as taxpayers. For what? To see a case "well-tried"? Ridiculous! Those prosecutions were motivated by the same goal that motivates all prosecutions -- to obtain convictions.
Also, to describe any prosecution as a "Sisyphean struggle" is absurd. No matter what the law says, defendants are usually presumed guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Prosecutors need only convince the jurors that their initial intuition about the defendant's guilt is correct. In truth, it is the defendant and the public who struggle in these multiple prosecutions, for they are the ones who are forced to endure these ill-conceived court actions only to see them fail, and then they have to start pushing that proverbial rock up the hill all over again.
Luis I. Guerra
The Dermer Profile: Courage, Leadership, Vision
Ted B. Kissell's article about the rising fortunes of David Dermer ("The Strange Bedfellows of Miami Beach," August 21) was much more insightful than his story the week before about commission candidate Simon Cruz ("The Body Politic Hits the Beach," August 14). Cruz, like Dermer, is fairly new to politics, willing to listen to everyone, and is still able to make up his own mind in the end.
David Dermer took on the two-million-dollar Kramer-financed Portofino campaign, the mayor, the city manager, the commission (except for Marty Shapiro), the police union, the chamber of commerce, the Miami Herald editorial board, and numerous phony civic front groups. He, along with a small group of volunteers, proved that the people of Miami Beach are not for sale.
So David Dermer is now running for city commissioner and his Save Miami Beach volunteers are getting ready to endorse candidates and develop a platform. Good for Dermer and good for them. It's the next normal step. It's not enough to win a referendum; the whole government that caused all these problems must be replaced. We need new blood in city hall. These people are not afraid to say no when the public interest is threatened.
To me, Mr. Dermer personifies these needed reforms. He has shown courage, leadership, and vision.
The Dermer Profile: Bloated Bellyache
Was David Dermer holding his stomach in the photo accompanying Ted B. Kissell's article? Could it be because his political bed partners make even him sick? If Dermer had any guts, he'd speak up against those candidates he's slated with who have done nothing for the city of Miami Beach and who have performed little if any public service for its citizens. (Don't hold your breath.)
Or will Dermer continue to hold his stomach in anguish over even his candidacy?
Peaceful Protests, Arson, Car Bombs, whatever
Your latest issue featured an article by Judy Cantor about the MIDEM Latin American and Caribbean music conference ("Cuba's Finest Banned," August 21). First, I would like to congratulate her on her good writing. But permit me to constructively criticize an obvious point: Ms. Cantor failed to include the point of view of those involved in the "banning." She also failed to interview Cubans in Miami to see if they actually agree with their politicians' decisions.
Also, I would like to comment on the remark by MIDEM's artistic director Bernard Batzen, who said, "We would have a riot on our hands" if Cuban groups were actually permitted to perform in Miami. Yes, we Miami Cubans often protest. We do this peacefully, however. At no time in the history of our exile have we ever been involved in any kind of riot; we hold only peaceful protests.
In the future, please include different points of views and make clarifications in your articles. That would complement the nice writing.
Gloria and Willy Forever - and Ever and Ever and Ever
Judy Cantor's article about the MIDEM Latin American and Caribbean music conference brings to mind a word that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright loves: The people at MIDEM and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau have no cojones.
Latin American music without Cubans? Poor people of Miami, still living in the dark ages. Forced to listen to Gloria and Willy. If they only knew what they were missing!
Singing Lady Lynda's Praises
Lady Lynda Edwards really outdid herself in her story about male choirs in black churches ("Gospel Truth," August 6). She wrote with so much grace. And her understanding of history was remarkable.
Lady Edwards, the path awaits you. With your insight, the sky is yours.
Terry Fernando Newton
Your Headline Here
I guess we are going from clarification to exaggeration by using hyperbole as a headline tool. I refer to my letter of July 31 with the headline "When God Demands Intolerance, We Listen." It works; it calls attention. But I would like to respond to the August 14 letter from Antonio Vazquez, a reader from Coral Gables.
Mr. Vazquez, regarding your question "Which God?" let me suggest you take a Bible, find a quiet spot, and do some reading about the subject. I know you will find it enlightening.
As to your comments on various institutions, let me just say that in today's "feel good society," in which you are encouraged to do and believe whatever makes you feel good, without responsibility or accountability for your actions, you will always find helpful groups that can provide you with the necessary crutches and excuses to explain and rationalize away every single action.
Homosexuality a sin against humanity? Yes sir, and two wrongs do not make a right, which is your proposition. I want to thank you, though, for your confirmation that homosexuality is irresponsible behavior.
Christians and everyone else in this country have a right and an obligation to fight for their beliefs. That is a benefit provided for and protected by the United States Constitution, which I also recommend as valuable and instructional reading. Christians have never claimed to or wanted to impose their beliefs on anyone, but we also will not stand idle and allow someone to impose their beliefs on us -- especially by governmental decree or order.
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Thank you again for declaring the lesbian bar "a private club," which by definition is "intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person, group, or class." That definition goes to the heart of an ordinance that would claim special rights for a particular person, group, or class -- i.e., homosexuals.
This country was not founded on the divisive principle of special rights for special groups, but rather on that very clear and special principle of "one nation under God."
The Dade County Commission has acted within its lawful rights to protect the values of the majority in our county without falling prey to the demands and demagoguery of special-interest groups.