Pubdate: Sun, 05 Sept 1999
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 1999 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Address: P.O. Box 85333, Richmond, VA 23293-0001 (LTEs by FAX or mail only!)
Fax: (804) 775-8072
Author: Lennice Werth


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Circuit Judge James Cales was right to criticize police and
prosecutors for bringing him too many petty drug charges ["Judge
Lectures Police on Drug Cases," August 22].

It is true the police are wasting their time with so many small-time
drug cases. The judge was doing us all a service because police in
Virginia clear a low percentage -- 24.2 -- of victimizing crimes such
as robbery and assault. Moreover, the overloaded criminal justice
system can never hope to address the root problems of drug-involved

This reminds me of the bandana rapist because he struck time and again
in Henrico during a period when the police from that jurisdiction were
actively lobbying at the State Capitol for a tougher marijuana law.
One night the chief and several of his high-ranking aides stayed at
the General Assembly into the wee hours trying to get the "seeds and

stems" bill though the House Courts of Justice Committee. As a member
of the opposing team, I was impressed with how they had prepared
themselves, bringing with them twiggy marijuana to demonstrate their
point (they needed the change in the law so they could more
conveniently prosecute as felonies what otherwise would be

Imagine my disgust when some time later I read an account of how a
Washington reporter recognized the mode of operation of the ski-mask
rapist and called Henrico police to inform them. The man who had
appeared on "60 Minutes" was operating right under the collective
noses of the police-department-turned-lobbyist. I'm sure a lot of
women would agree that the police had, as the wise judge suggested,
"better things to do."

Lennice Werth
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