What About Fairness to Neighborhoods?

RECEIVED Thu., May 29, 2008

Dear Editor,
    I know Judge Baird, and to be honest, I am impressed with him and find him to be a very likable person [“The Honorable Charlie Baird,” News, May 30]. What I am concerned with is that in his fairness to the defendants, he is inadvertently endangering those of us who have to live in the neighborhoods these defendants are released into. Face it: Most judges, and for that matter the attorneys for both the defense and prosecution for the large part, don't live in the same parts of Austin that these defendants are released back into. It is us, the working poor, the physically disabled worker, the mentally ill on Supplemental Security Income, etc., that live in the neighborhoods these defendants are released into. It is us, the law-abiding citizens at the bottom of the economic ladder who have to deal with the recidivism and continued criminal activities of these repeat felons. It is us who have the majority of the gangs, burglaries, prostitution, domestic violence, robberies, rapes, and muggings precipitated by the use of the cocaine and heroin sold by these defendants in our neighborhoods.
    I would bet money that if the state ever pulls its head out of its ass and mandates drug testing for everyone arrested for burglary, theft, hot checks, assault, domestic violence, etc., the state may be very surprised to learn that in the majority of these cases the defendants were on cocaine, heroin, and/or alcohol at the time the crimes were committed. To continue to release these repeat drug offenders back into our neighborhoods is a burden and a danger to the rest of us law-abiding citizens who, due to economic realities, have to live our day-to-day lives in those same neighborhoods.
    I wish Judge Baird and the rest of the people involved in the criminal justice system would give just a little thought to the other faceless and nameless victims of these crimes.
Delwin Goss
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