Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Civil compromises thwart the law

To the editor:

I laud you for your editorial "Law Needs Fixing" in the Nov. 26 issue.Totally separate from the Cole case the ability of any defendant in a criminal case being able to avoid prosecution through a "civil compromise" is counter-productive to the purpose of criminal statutes.I am not an attorney but I have spent the last 43 years in law enforcement in one capacity or another.Other than Oregon I have not heard of a state that permitsthe antiquated "civil compromise" negotiations to negate the criminal process.

As your editorial correctly noted criminal cases are pursued on behalf

of thepeople of theState of Oregon, not the individual

victim.Criminal and civil are two separate and distinct theories of

law.If a victim, in any case, wishes to be reimbursed for damages

suffered at the hands of another thevictim can initiate legal action

under civil law.The outcomeof that litigation shouldnot influence

the outcome of the criminal proceedingas the criminal proceeding

outcome should not impact the civil.

Let me conclude with a theoretical but very possible scenario.Suppose

a situation were to occur inwhich a criminal case that upon conviction

would require the defendant to register as a sex offender is "bought

off" through civil compromise.As I understand it, with the cessation

of criminal proceedings registration as a sex offender is no longer a

consequence.What if the defendant relocates out of the area in which

the crime occurred?What if the lack of registration as a sex offender

results in additional crimes which might have been prevented had law

enforcement and the public in the new area of residence been alerted to

the presence of a registered sex offender?That scenario alone is ample

justification for amending the law as your editorial


Jerry Boyd

Baker City

Who voted for full access to records?

To the editor:

Before our society goes 100 percent electronic for access to federal,

state, agency, academic and global information and records - keeping in

mind theexponential rate at whichthis is occurring - it is important

to consider this fact: We never voted


Linda Bergeron


Airport scanner threats ignored

To the editor:

What is not being told to the flying public or the TSA staff working

close to Rapiscan X-ray scanners thatemploy the Compton

back-scattering imaging process is the scientific fact that ALL

ionizing radiation ALWAYS increases the risk of genetic mutation in a

linear and cumulative manner. Moreover, because back-scatter radiation

concentrates much higher doses of radiation in the tissue near the

surface, the rate of damage per unit of genetic material is therefore

much higher in these areas, such as the groin and genitalia where the

last failed bomber attempted to conceal explosives.

The back scatter X-ray imparts all of its energy into the electron it

strikes instead of being diffused by multiple non-ionizing interactions

through deeper layers of tissue and bone, thus causing maximum

potential damage to the irradiated area.Consequently, if you are over

65, or taking immuno-suppressive medications, are prone to skin

cancersor have glaucoma, the last thing you need is this increased

mutagenic risk.From photos of the machines in use it is clear that no

proper X-ray precautions are being followed. There are no signs stating

X-ray in use, no dosimetry badges have been given to the untrained

scanner operators, no information is given to the person being scanned

as to the dose emitted, there is no shielding for the open sides of the

unit, and no shielding for the eyes of the subject in the booth. In

fact, such blatant disregard for health and safety regulations would

cause any medical X-ray clinic to be shut down on the spot. Thought

should be given too to the inevitable, possibly hazardous doses of

radiation emitted when these machines go out of calibration afterbeing

banged, bumped and moved about by unskilled and untrained TSA personnel.

It is very disturbingthat alternative non X-ray scanners are not being

used duelargely to pro-Rapiscan lobbying by Bush's former Homeland

Security chief Michael Chertoff whose company the Chertoff Group

represents OSI Systems, owners of Rapiscan. When did the health of the

public become less important than private personal


John Harmer

Baker City

Scales of justice out of balance

To the editor:

Your editorial in last Friday's (26th) paper was excellent.The whole

story about Brian Cole and the minor female was simple and

straightforward in the beginning.The police work was near perfect.

Cole and the girl were found parked in the country after dark with a

bottle of booze. She was charged with possession of alcohol by

consumption.I believe that means that she was drinking the booze.

Then the legal profession entered the scene.Cole's lawyer began an

incredibly long series of stalling tactics but as the trial date

finally neared we learn that the case has largely been solved by a

legal maneuver the judge is calling "civil compromise" and only

thecharges of furnishing alcohol to a minorwould come to trial later.

In many other jurisdictions "civil compromise" would be known by

another name.For instance, in Chicago it would be called bribery.

But wait.On page 3Aof this same newspaper we learn that the

furnishing alcohol to a minor charges have been "settled" and so the

trial has been cancelled.It is not postponed.It has been


But wait again.On page 2A of this same paper a 24-year-old male has

been given a jail sentence and fined $500 for furnishing alcohol to a


The scales of justice seem strangely out of balance locally.

Carl Kostol

Baker City