Ohio's Justice System Flawed

After reading the article "Law Group: Stop the Killing" (issue of Sept. 26), I think that one thing is clear to people on both sides of the death penalty issue: Something needs to be done about the

Oct 3, 2007 at 2:06 pm

After reading the article "Law Group: Stop the Killing" (issue of Sept. 26), I think that one thing is clear to people on both sides of the death penalty issue: Something needs to be done about the way Ohio has been handling sentencing and judicial rulings so casually.

It seems that two people convicted of the same crime, but in different Ohio counties, are likely to not get the same sentence. How can we say that the justice system is fair if the same crime doesn't carry the same sentence?

A man in Cincinnati is 6.2 times more likely to get the death sentence that a man convicted of the same crime in Columbus! Does that seem like justice?

It doesn't to me. And I have nothing against putting deserving criminals behind bars; I do, however, have an issue with the fact that the justice system has a "guilty until proven innocent" attitude.

The Ohio system is weighted against the persons on trial. I was appalled to hear that public defense attorneys were not given the same benefits as the prosecuting attorneys. What frustrated me more was to read that Ohio has no defined statute for what crimes warrant the death sentence.

It seems to me that the Ohio judicial system is rather scatterbrained and is need of some serious restructuring.

I think that it's time for some profound changes in Ohio law. I think many would agree.

— Danyelle Ramey, Eastgate

Yes, You're Human
I'm a reader who's not one to make comments on columns, but Larry Gross' "Hiding Behind the Mask" column (issue of Sept. 26) sort of got to me.

I read his columns all the time, and I like his little slice-of-life stories. In each one I can tell that Gross is a decent person who goes out of his way to help others and to talk to others. Why doesn't he think it's fine to reach out to others when he needs some help?

I believe it's a man thing. I don't know how old Gross is, but I can tell you the older you get the more that mask is going to need to come off. It gets in the way of real life. Wearing a mask will turn you into stone.

I like how Gross ended his column: "I screw up. I love and feel loss. I'm afraid some of the time."

Yes, you're human. Always remember that and be OK with it.

— David Hamhill, Covington

Never Hurts to Cry
Larry Gross' Living Out Loud column this week almost moved me to tears ("Hiding Behind the Mask," issue of Sept. 26). His honesty in that bar with the bartender, taking that mask off, was probably a breakthrough for him. I hope it sticks.

I know so many men who can't be honest with their emotions, men like Gross. Maybe he's changed now. Remember that it never, never hurts to cry.

— Christi Bar, Hebron

Why Not Cincinnati?
The Banks project, if it ever happens, offers two great opportunities for Cincinnati ("Qualls: Break up The Banks," issue of Sept. 19).

We could make this a high-visibility green development, a cutting edge environmental design that would save water and energy down the road and would show us the way to future sustainability in our society. Second, we could help lift income in Cincinnati, the third poorest mid-sized city in America, by providing good-paying construction jobs for Cincinnati residents.

The energy quest is a no-brainer. We exchange buying foreign oil for employing local high-skill workers in projects that reduce future energy demand.

Providing good jobs for residents — especially African Americans, other minorities and women — is a little more complicated, but other cities are doing it. They're called Project Labor Agreements, with specially crafted and funded pre-apprenticeship programs that encourage, recruit, prepare and train future journeymen building trades workers. They work with community organizations and educational institutions and are based in the building trades unions.

Philadelphia has a big school construction program which they thought should employ, guess who, graduates of Philadelphia public schools. It's working. Oakland has a huge port development project with a Project Labor Agreement that's bringing large numbers of local residents into those jobs.

Why can't Cincinnati do this? Instead of bemoaning population loss and planning for bigger jails because progress is failing, why don't we do the right thing?

— Bob Park, O'Bryonville