Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Must-Read Letter:

Of all the letters to the editor this campaign season, today's Oak Ridger contains one that must be read -- it's the last of several today.

The writer is Melissa Martin, who served as (retired) Judge Buddy's Scott's judicial assistant for the last 15 years. The lady brings credentials to the arguments about cases heard, for she was involved on a daily basis in the scheduling.

In particular, the following two paragraphs caught my attention:

The true reason for the small number of jury trials is they were not asked for and scheduled by their [Ramsey's]office. Criminal cases were resolved by plea bargaining and often with victims in the courtroom upset over the lenient punishment of the plea bargain that had been offered by the assistant district attorney general assigned to cover the Criminal Court. Defense attorneys often expressed to me what great deals they could get for their clients in Anderson County.

In the few criminal cases that were set for a jury trial, the attorney general’s assistant would offer the defendant a better deal at the last minute to avoid trial. If Judge Scott turned down a plea, the justice system was punished by non-aggressive prosecution by the attorney general’s office. Two pleas that involved the deaths of the victims are now pending before the Tennessee Supreme Court because Judge Scott would not accept such inadequate punishment for defendants that took a life.

If, as prosecutor-in-chief, he proved adept in ensuring avoidance of corrections; just how bad might he be as a judge with the same ethic?

Ramsey's jerking around the efforts to form a drug court -- an avenue that has proven very successful in reducing repeat offenses, as well as being more cost-effective for the public -- still bothers me. I cannot understand his motivation in the least.

Thank goodness August 3rd is just around the corner.

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