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'Papering' an O.C. judge for being too fair

To the editor: Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas showed courage when he prosecuted Fullerton Police Department officers for homicide in the beating death of a homeless person and when he prosecuted UC Irvine students who disrupted a diplomat's speech. ("O.C. prosecutors steering cases away from Judge Thomas Goethals," March 13)

Now that his deputies are "papering" a highly respected judge who has ruled against the district attorney for violating constitutional rights of defendants, Rackauckas should show courage by respecting the independence of the judiciary and instructing his deputies to stop papering the judge unless they come to him first and justify their actions.

Unless the district attorney does so, there will be a void in leadership only he can fill.

The excellent article notes that the judge, Thomas Goethals, "declined to comment for this story." Judges cannot comment on pending cases. Their role is solely to do justice.

Stuart Jasper, Newport Beach

The writer is an attorney.

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To the editor: I can sure understand why Orange County prosecutors would try to disqualify Goethals from major cases. How dare he insist prosecutors not hide information from defense attorneys? And to question the use of jailhouse snitches and other questionable informants just ties prosecution hands.

After all, guilt or innocence is irrelevant, and only convictions count, right? Cutting corners and subverting justice is the norm, and if a prosecutor gets caught with a hand in the cookie jar, well, it's just part of the job.

How in the world did American jurisprudence get to such sad state that a judge is anathematized for demanding fairness? Your story makes me want to buy Goethals lunch one day.

Roger Walton, North Hills

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