Saturday, October 17, 2009

E-Mails of the Week

Friday's column featured an e-mail from a retired Philadelphia police detective named Brian Grevious. Here's a follow-up.
Hi Gil,
After reading your subsequent column on the Kevin Leonard story I felt that perhaps it was appropriate for me to follow-up.

For the record I am African American, Although I do reside in Collingdale I don't any of the parties involved in the incident nor have ever seen them and would not know any of them if anyone would have pointed them out me in public. I felt compelled to respond to the your subsequent article because the issue race was mentioned to place the matter in context.

When I responded to your article it was solely based on the facts as they were presented and the issue of ethnicity or race never was an issue of consideration. As a retired law enforcement officer I find it troubling that even the suggestion of the consideration of race was an issue when the detectives and district attorney's office decided to make their decision on who to charge and who not to charge in this case. I could not fathom race being considered as to who would be charged within the context of how the facts of the case were spelled out.

When I was a Police Detective I have arrested and charge defendants of all stripes Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Arab, "wealthy", poor, highly educated, un-educated. A person's status or ethnicity should not be a consideration if it is not germane to the facts in the case. The depiction of Lady Justice being blindfolded must be paramount if we are remain a Country/State of laws regardless of the way political winds may be blowing. Law enforcement officials should not be concerned about whose "yelling in the corner" whether it's Al Sharpton or David Duke, their responsibility is to seek justice for all.

Brian, Collingdale
What can anyone say to that but "Here, here."

Another Bryan also sent in an e-mail about the case, State Rep. Bryan Lentz.
Good article about the Collingdale teen who got arrested. My two cents: The decision to decertify doesn't have to be left up to Judge Hazel. The DA can (and should) agree to have the matter sent to juvenile court without a hearing.

I prosecuted some of the first so called "direct file" juvenile cases in the state back in 1996 when the law was changed to put enumerated felonies directly into adult court. I was responsible for prosecuting exactly the kind of dangerous juvenile this law was aimed at taking into the adult system. This case clearly is not the type the legislature had in mind when they passed the direct file law. There was nothing that required the case to be charged as an adult offense in the first place. That decision is always with in the discretion of the DA. If it had been charged as a juvenile offense then the stay in adult prison could have been avoided.

Again, "Here, here!"


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