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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Don’t judge all anti-gang programs based on one alleged criminal

Ms-13
A poster shows defendants in custody as part of a federal crackdown on alleged Los Angeles-based members of the MS-13 gang.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In order to select a fair jury in any criminal trial, the lawyers engage in a process of questioning prospective jurors regarding their feelings toward law enforcement.

Many prospective jurors tell us that they cannot be fair in a case involving the police because they believe police are dishonest. This distrust often comes from a handful of either personal or reported examples of a police officer being dishonest.

As the prosecutor, I will typically follow up by asking whether it is really fair to hold the actions of a few dishonest cops against the entire profession. Hopefully, the juror will acknowledge that his or her bias is unfair and unwarranted.

It is disappointing to read about the allegations of continued criminal activity made against someone who has ostensibly been working to prevent gang violence. However, these anti-gang programs are important and the individuals who run them are generally passionate about their cause.

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It would be unfair and unwarranted to make any sweeping assumptions about the programs based on the actions of one individual.

Lyle Riggs, Pasadena


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