James Watt

Your paper reported that former Interior Department Secretary James Watt was able to sidestep 18 felony charges of perjury and of making false statements (March 13). He was merely sentenced to probation for withholding documents from a federal grand jury investigating a Housing and Urban Development scandal.

In sentencing Watt, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said: "It seems to me that what you did there is out of character. It was an aberration from your life. You have had a life of great integrity and it's a shame to see what happened here."

The Times article further states that Watt had resigned from the Interior Department in 1983 following his description of members of a federal advisory panel as "a black . . . a woman, two Jews and a cripple."

Webster's dictionary defines "integrity" as: "the quality or state of being of sound moral principle." If Judge Lamberth defines Watt's life as having been one of integrity in spite of his well-known views, the natural question that arises is: What is the level of integrity possessed by Judge Lamberth?

MARVIN STERN

Santa Ynez

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