To the Editor:
It is important to evaluate trial judges' work, however, there are major flaws in using deputies' time in court as a measure of how well or how hard a judge works (City Beat, August 4th issue). I know that the analysis is skewed for Judge Robert Childers. As part of his caseload, he has handled one of the largest products-liability cases in Tennessee, the controversial He case, and the recent lottery-ticket divorce. Childers opened court early and ran court late. In addition, Childers spends time writing pattern jury instructions and serving on various boards and commissions.
Judge James Russell spends a large amount of time reviewing the facts, pleadings, and law in each case that comes before him. Judge Karen Williams puts in long hours at home at night. And bailiff time records do not reveal that Chancellor Walter Evans often offers to hold court on weekends and sets cases over the Christmas break when requested. These are only examples of a list that goes on and on.
Should judges be evaluated as part of an effort to improve themselves? Of course, but the judges deserve a more considered study than what the Flyer gave them. Hopefully, this fall's Memphis Bar Association review will help to provide that. I look forward to your coverage of it.
To the Editor:
On two occasions the Flyer has printed stories that verify that the information published in your August 4th City Beat column was false. Yet the newspaper itself has not taken the responsibility for printing that false information. Had the Flyer contacted the judges subject to this atrocity, I am certain that it would have been apparent that the sheriff's records do not capture the time that the judges work. The Flyer is just as responsible for misinforming the public as anyone else involved.
Rita L. Stotts
Thirtieth Judicial District
Editor's note: As Judge Stotts correctly notes, we have published two stories that verify that Sheriff Luttrell's bailiff's hours reports - upon which we based our analysis of judges' working habits - were flawed. In the second of those, we fully quoted Judge Stotts regarding her opinion on the matter. In addition, we published a letter from the sheriff acknowledging that his report was erroneous.
Wrong About Bush?
To the Editor:
I voted for President Bush. Is it time for me to say I voted wrong? Not yet, I think.Is it time for me to seriously consider my political convictions? Not yet, I hope. But I will say this: It is time for the United States to get out of Iraq. I see no reason to sacrifice another soldier's life for that cause. I have seen no real reason yet for us to be there. Is it for "protecting our freedom"? Looking at increased terrorist activity, probably not. Is it for oil? Looking at the price of oil these days, apparently not. Some say that most Iraqis are glad we are there. Is the happiness of the Iraqis our goal? Certainly there are many people in countries around the world who would love for the U.S. to "set them free."
Yet for those who have lost someone in this war, getting out now would seem like it was all in vain. When I was a boy, my neighbor, William Berryman, was killed in Vietnam. He was just weeks away from coming home to see his newborn daughter. Stories like this one are happening almost daily. Why? I believe it is like Steve Earle sang: "... just another poor boy off to fight a rich man's war."
It is time to end this, even if it is embarrassing to the current administration. Or else it may be time for me to reconsider my political convictions.
Skyrocketing Oil Prices
To the Editor:
President Bush claims his policies - endorsed and passed by the GOP Congress - are a success and our economy is strong. These policies are based on giveaways to a corrupt corporate America that uses them to send jobs overseas and reward incompetent CEOs.
While oil prices are skyrocketing, Duyba proudly signed an energy bill that provides nearly $18 billion in tax breaks to energy companies that are ripping off the consumer. While blaming OPEC for gas prices, the oilmen in the White House ignored the fact that some oil company profits have jumped as much as 56 percent. The energy bill contains crumbs for renewable energy sources in the form of tax credits that will expire. The tax breaks for big oil companies are permanent.
This president and GOP Congress are only interested in paying back their corporate base, thus ensuring that they continue to give the Republican Party millions in return for billions in corporate welfare.