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Letters to the Editor


Luttrell Explains

To the Editor:

After publication of the Flyer story "Judging Judges" (August 4th issue) regarding bailiffs' time spent in courtrooms, produced such opposition from a number of judges, the Internal Audit Bureau of the Sheriff's Office conducted an audit of the system producing the reports. The audit revealed that the data being reported were seriously flawed and were not an accurate representation of the bailiffs' courtroom activity.

Audit Bureau personnel attempted to correct the reports for the six-month period depicted in the Flyer article; however, the absence of critical data made it impossible to accurately reconstruct the reports to show accurate information.

Based on the findings of the Audit Bureau, I determined that correcting existing reports would not be feasible and that any revised reporting would require an inordinate amount of "estimation" to substitute for missing data. Accordingly, revised reports would serve no real purpose, and the decision was made to concentrate all efforts on correcting the flawed system and ensure that future reports would be accurate.

Top staff in the Courts Division have already developed policies and procedures to ensure that time is accurately captured and entered into the computer system with appropriate checks and balances to prevent a recurrence of the flawed-data situation existing today. The Audit Bureau will conduct regular audits of the process and the data to ensure compliance with the policies and procedures and the integrity of the data reported.

Mark H. Luttrell Jr.

Sheriff of Shelby County

Editor's note: Sheriff Luttrell's letter cited a sampling of errors noted by the auditors. These were edited due to space limitations. The full letter will be posted on the Flyer's Web site, MemphisFlyer.com.

And So Do the Police

To the Editor:

Regarding "Judging Judges": This article does not accurately reflect the time that judges actually work. The article only documented time spent on the bench. Every case a judge hears requires study and preparation. Often, written decisions must be rendered after the case is concluded.

Many judges work through their lunch hour so that police officers who are subpoenaed can leave as soon as possible. Additionally, many judges make themselves available 24 hours a day to review arrest and search warrants.

I believe the article by John Branston gives a skewed view of these diligent and hard-working individuals.

Thomas A. Turner

President, Memphis Police Association

This Will Go Over Well

To the Editor:

  Confederate Park is a peculiar and dissonant note for a resurgent downtown Memphis. It is high time to rename the park Republican Park or Grant Park, in honor of the thousands of Tennessee Republicans, who opposed slavery from the beginning, or General (and later President) Ulysses S. Grant, who finally liberated Memphis on June 6, 1862. The sooner we forget the flesh-peddlers of the Confederacy, the better.

Phillip Stephenson



To the Editor:

I keep thinking how hot it must be in Texas, where Cindy Sheehan is camped out waiting to talk to the vacationing president. Her son Casey was killed in Iraq. I too have a son named Casey. He is 1 year old.

My other son is 18. My greatest fear is a resumption of the military draft. If Iraq's new constitution deprives Iraqi women of their civil rights, then the world can witness the age-old irony of fighting for freedom by oppressing women all over the world. I keep visualizing the lamentations described in biblical scenes of despairing people sitting in sackcloth and ashes, praying for justice. The scene shifts to a hot, dusty Texas roadside.

Denise Parkinson


What Kind of Genius?

To the Editor:

What kind of genius is it that enables the deck-shoed minority in the United States to keep an increasingly firm foot on the supine neck of the class that serves them; that shrieks at any thought of sharing our society with unwashed, hungry people seeking to better themselves and their families; that frightens able thinkers to be terrorized into managed silence?

Whatever it is, the working and producing citizens of the U.S. will have only themselves to thank if they continue to succumb to the selfish genius of the "haves." They are sucking the sap from the tree of life, whose boughs shade them, whose fruits nourish them, and whose roots continue to stabilize them.

Benno Friedman


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