Pubdate: Fri, 07 Oct 2005
Source: Berkshire Eagle, The (Pittsfield, MA)
Copyright: 2005 New England Newspapers, Inc.
Author:  Robert S. Caine


To the Editor of The Eagle:

As an attorney, I am appalled by the action of Berkshire District Attorney
Capeless in prosecuting the Taconic youths under Massachusetts' Draconian
school-area drug law.

Mr. Capeless has asserted that it is his office's policy to prosecute
these young people and put them in jail for two years, thereby
effectively ruining their lives, as well as their parents' lives. This
is a good reason to eject Mr.  Capeless from his office, as policies
that are wrong should not be followed but  rather changed. He should
be a standup politician and do the right thing something we don't
see many politicians doing these days. Moreover, if Mr. Capeless can
plea bargain more serious crimes, he should be ashamed to press
forward with the teenage prosecutions as he is wont to do now ?"
despite losing the first case, thank God. We plea bargain everything
from traffic tickets to murder. Why not for these children? Mr.
Capeless' stand also shows me that he has little faith in the judges
in our county to impose an appropriate sentence. He sets a poor
example to the populace residing here.

It seems apparent that it is Mr. Capeless' pride that will not let him
back down. He has taken a stand, and he's going to emulate George W.
Bush, our appointed and worst-ever president. That is as much a shame
for a public official at the local level as it is at the national
level. Mr. Capeless should admit his mistake and correct it. The Sawin
jury said as much. No one has suggested that the young people being
prosecuted should not be punished; however, the punishment should fit
the crime as well as the perpetrator, and here it doesn't do
either. Like the Rockefeller drug laws in  New York state, this law
accomplishes nothing when it is applied without a sense  of justice
something Mr. Capeless is missing.

He is also missing the intent of the law, which obviously was to stop
sales of serious drugs to school children and here there were no
such sales, just entrapped youngsters. No one was harmed here by the
children's actions ?" except  themselves and their parents. These
prosecutions are wasteful of our youths and  taxpayer dollars.

Robert S. Caine

South Egremont
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin