I am wondering if anyone besides myself feels that the amount of resources devoted to the Wright-Strong prostitution case is excessive.
The Maine Sunday Telegram reported last year that only about 40 percent of the operating-under-the-influence cases in York County are fully prosecuted (“OUI conviction rates vary widely across Maine,” July 22, 2012). The reason given was lack of judicial and prosecutorial resources.
In my 37 years as a police officer in York County, I have seen so many cases involving much more serious crimes bargained away to virtually nothing.
OUI cases are pled out to driving to endanger. Drug cases are reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, aggravated assaults are bargained to simple assaults, burglaries are reduced to trespass and theft. Convicted felons in possession of firearms typically face a $500 fine and probation.
I think when the entire caseload is inspected, York County will have devoted a disproportional amount of resources to the case.
While prostitution is not always a victimless crime, as pimps in the cities prey on young runaway girls, in this case the alleged prostitute appears to have entered “the world’s oldest profession” voluntarily and seemed to have been making a great deal of money from it.
A couple of things from my University of Maine classes in the 1960s have remained in my admittedly aging memory.
One of these is that the most basic definition of economics is the allocation of scarce resources.
The second is that crimes are divided into two types, “mala in se” and “mala prohibita,” the former being translated as “bad in itself by nature,” and the latter being “bad by law.” Prostitution generally falls under the area of mala prohibita.
Is this case the wisest allocation of resources, given the existing caseload and the types of cases that are not being fully prosecuted due to lack of these resources? I think we must look at cases as to what their social costs are, and allocation of time and money should be considered in that light.
Kent C. Berdeen
Mainers with bioptics merit access to driving privileges
A bill to permit the use of bioptic spectacles by Maine drivers has been proposed by Rep. Andrew T. Mason of Topsham.
Bioptic glasses are currently legal in 39 other states, permitting drivers with less-than-perfect vision to continue driving safely.
They have been used in some states since the 1970s. Drivers with bioptic glasses currently drive in some of the most challenging driving conditions, in states where they are legal, such as Boston, New York City and Los Angeles.
Although it is currently not legal for a Maine driver to use a bioptic to pass a driving exam and drive on a Maine road, a driver from neighboring New Hampshire, for example, may drive on Maine roads, using a driver’s license obtained while wearing bioptic glasses.
In fact, drivers from any of the states permitting bioptic glasses for driving legally drive in Maine. We are already sharing our roadway with drivers wearing bioptic glasses, although it is still not legal for a Maine driver!
In a rural state such as ours, with few public transportation options, this legislation is important for some Maine residents to keep jobs and independence that they might otherwise lose, along with their driver’s license, as a result of a vision loss that could be accommodated using bioptic glasses.
Maine currently permits drivers with a wide range of physical abilities to drive — individuals with hearing loss and motor restrictions, for example, may make modifications to their vehicles or wear devices to permit them to pass a driving exam, and continue driving safely.
Please consider attending the public hearing in Augusta on March 6 at 1 p.m. to support this legislation, or contact the Transportation Committee, which is holding the hearing on the bill, by calling 287-4148.
With his compelling words, poet enchants all onlookers
Richard Blanco (“Poet Blanco gets a superstar welcome in Portland,” Feb. 27) embodies poetical presence and power.
His grace, humility, humor and sincerity offered those of us lucky enough to be present with him at Merrill Auditorium last Tuesday night a rare and pure glimpse into what makes human beings remarkable.
While his personal presence is riveting and wonderful, the potency of his words captivated and awed me, reminding me once again that, as Shakespeare said, “We are the stuff as dreams are made on.”
I found myself almost holding my breath as he breathed life into words and offered up aspects of his life with a reverential power unparalleled by ordinary human beings’ words.
Thank you to Richard, to Andres Verzosa and to the most generous Quimby Foundation for giving us the opportunity of a lifetime to be in the presence of such poetical genius.
Article misstates mandates faced by gun owners, buyers
The article “Another gun ad targets Susan Collins” (Feb. 22) states:
“Right now, people who buy guns from licensed dealers must go through federal background checks but those who buy at gun shows or in private sales don’t.”
I have lost count of how many times this has been stated in newspapers around the country. It’s been stated so much that a lot of people believe it to be true. It puts an image in people’s heads of big arms bazaars where anybody can buy any gun they want, no questions asked.
This is simply not the truth. Ninety-nine percent of the tables set up at gun shows are set up by federally licensed gun dealers. As federally licensed gun dealers, they must check the sale through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, just like they do at their gun store.
The other 1 percent are generally people who sell outdoor sports equipment or tactical gear and aren’t selling guns at all.
In fact, over the past 10 years or so, every gun show in Maine I’ve been to has a sign saying, “No private sales of firearms on the premises or in the parking lot.”
Please get your facts right. I know that as a liberally run newspaper, getting the facts 100 percent accurate on gun-related issues isn’t part of your agenda, but you shouldn’t have an agenda at all. Your job is to report the news, not brainwash people.