Press

Letters to the Editor

Philadelphia Inquirer

Judge is doing what justice requires

Re: “Gun cases tossed out, suspects walk out,” Sunday:

As a former Philadelphia prosecutor and current criminal-defense attorney, I have had the pleasure of appearing in front of Judge Paula A. Patrick on many occasions. She is a hardworking, fair-minded, and even-handed criminal trial judge who tries extremely hard to do what justice requires. Your headline and innuendo are neither supported by legitimate empirical evidence nor even an understanding of how American jurisprudence works.

In many legal systems – for example, third-world countries, dictatorships, and the former Soviet bloc countries – a person is arrested by the police and then sent to jail, where he begins serving a long sentence. In America, however, the Constitution requires that people receive certain levels of due process. That means that law enforcement officers must follow rules.

If the rules and procedures are not followed, then judges are duty-bound to order that evidence be suppressed. To imply that, by doing her sworn duty, Judge Patrick is soft on crime is both a cheap shot and unfair. It is also worth noting that your paper has made much of the arrests and convictions of police officers over the last year and a half. Implicit in all of the police corruption is the idea that someone must police the police. With that in mind, you still attack the very judges whose job it is to sit in judgment of the same police force so rife with issues of reliability.

Michael J. Diamondstein

Philadelphia

By: Michael J. Diamondstein