From the week of December 18, 2008

"Sale of the Century and a Half," Michael Roberts, December 11

Both Sides Now

Why are newspapers failing? Virtually every paper, including Denver's, endorsed George Bush and lied us into a war. Even the New York Times, on the front page, assured us of the existence of weapons of mass destruction. Ignoring the past in which papers covered depressions, wars and even brought down Richard Nixon, today's papers, especially the Denver Post and News, are stumbling all over each other in order to copy the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, etc.

These guys have already dumbed-down the audience; kind of dumb to compete with them.

Richard Weber

Denver

If the Rocky Mountain News hadn't gotten as liberal as the Post, people might have a reason to read two papers. But we don't need more of this leftie bullshit.

Joe Garcia

Denver

As a semi-retiree from the alleged or former Rocky Mountain News, I can tell you there's only room from one newspaper in this cowtown, and it needs to be completely online for most subscribers; the rest need to pay a premium! These newspaper companies need to diversify, diversify, diversify! Although labors of love, daily print newspapers are dinosaurs. And the Rocky's and Post's debt load tells the rest of the story.

Gene W. Edwards

Colorado Springs

"Fostering Resentment," Jessica Centers, December 4

Systemic Failures

I am so sad for Sharles Johnson and what is left of his family. Their case only serves to highlight what is broken with Colorado's courts, prosecutors, human services departments and our government.

State statutes being what they are, if the cops are called on a domestic disturbance, then someone has to go to jail. And that someone will be charged with a laundry list of felony charges. The cops are just doing their job, y'know — following orders. And the district attorney's office, not wanting to appear "soft on crime," will put a list of possible felonies in front of the judge in order to secure a conviction. Oh, and those felonies are non-negotiable in a plea bargain situation, especially during an election cycle. All the DA needs is one guilty plea and all the other charges go away. A "criminal" is punished, and the DAs get to put another one in the win column.

That's how "justice" is done in Colorado.

The really scary, disturbing part is the Department of Human Services.

 This agency presents itself as an enforcement arm of the court. If you ask one of its agents to change a bit of wrong information or correct some inaccuracy, you will be told, "We just enforce the court order." There is no mechanism for addressing inaccuracies, lies or circumstances outside of the courtroom. And that requires filing fees, attorney's fees, court costs, etc. This agency answers to no one, save perhaps the district attorney's office.

And the district attorney answers to no one. Ask Scott Storey. Ask Carol Chambers.

These activist DAs only answer to the voters, and as long as these DAs appear to be "hard on crime," they keep getting re-elected, all the while cramming more and more citizens into the criminal system, overcrowding an already over-taxed prison system. These DAs think that it's okay to put people away to further their political aspirations.

 Someone like Sharles Johnson makes a prosecutor sleep well at night. The prosecutor can rid the streets of a scoundrel while maintaining the revenue stream. And everyone on the county's side can go home at the end of the day and say to himself, "Hey, I did good today," while someone in Sharles Johnson's place can only lie awake at night and silently scream into his pillow, "Please, dear God, make it stop!"

James G. Ayling

Wheat Ridge

Editor's note: On December 9, Sharles Johnson got a day in court — but not the jury trial he'd hoped for. Read Jessica Centers's followup to his story on our Latest Word blog.

 
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