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Contact us via voice mail at (714) 825-8432, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or write to Letters to the Editor, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Or fax: (714) 708-8410. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. All correspondence must include your home city or service provider and a daytime phone number.INJUSTICE FOR ALL?
My thanks to Bob Emmers for providing the first comprehensive account of the horrible injustices suffered by 17-year-old Arthur Paul Carmona at the hands of our corrupt "justice" system ("The Kid Is Innocent," Sept. 17). But I would like to challenge the childlike innocence the article attributes to private investigator Dave Marshall, regarding police who prejudiced eyewitnesses and destroyed evidence in the case. "Never in all his time as a police officer," Emmers writes, "had he [Marshall] seen such a flouting of the principal that the chain of evidence must be maintained inviolate."
That unbelievable statement by Marshall dovetails with the impression given by most of the media that misconduct by law-enforcement officials is a shocking anomaly. It is shocking to most people, but only because this common behavior is largely ignored by the mainstream media, whose members—hand-fed hot crime stories by police and district attorneys—find it easier and more profitable (both economically and politically) to accept those stories than challenge them. The proof of this is in the countless thousands of documented cases across the country of people who have been falsely accused and convicted of crimes related to sex, drugs, robbery or murder, or who have been beaten or killed by police before receiving a fair trial.
Police and prosecutors, backed by crime hysteria whipped up by special-interest groups and the media for public consumption, enjoy an undeserved reputation of moral infallibility along with nearly absolute political power. Add to that an appalling lack of training in basic science and democratic principles, and you get ridiculous laws, no real accountability and a growing prosecution-police state. So it should be expected that police and prosecutors will often lie about, destroy or fabricate evidence; manipulate, trick, coerce, or bribe witnesses and suspects; and usually get away with damaging or destroying innocent lives.
People can come up with many good solutions to this problem, I am sure. But I suggest that, for a start, we give the police and prosecutors a bit of their own medicine. Police and prosecutors who put innocent people behind bars should have to serve out the sentences given their victims.—John Earl, Huntington Beach
Emmers' article has left me feeling angry—and not only at immoral cops and judges who are indifferent to justice. Why take the trouble—with dramatic details and careful juxtaposition of events—to get the reader's indignation worked up, to lay out the facts in a dramatic fashion, to impugn our court system for not caring if it grinds up the life of an innocent young man, to get our energies inspired, and then give us no proposal for what we might do to help? I couldn't believe it when I finished the article and not one word had been spoken about where I might send a contribution or what other strategy I might engage in to bring pressure to bear on the powers that are determining and then ignoring this blatant injustice. Would a letter-writing campaign to Superior Court Judge Everett Dickey help? Is there a fund where the readers who Emmers got worked-up can send donations to help the family with legal costs?
I was also puzzled by a certain "ambivalence" in Emmers' characterization of his own point of view. After all the evidence he presents, he only thinks it "unlikely" that Arthur Carmona committed these burglaries? That's not much of a commitment to innocence. Also, regarding the blurb on the front page saying that it would take a "cynic" to think Carmona got 12 years for being a Latino: if Emmers' account is not omitting relevant information, then a person would not need to be a cynic at all—just an objective observer. It's not cynical to see the facts for what they are.—Carla Copenhaven, Newport Beach The editors respond: Good point. Read on.
I am the mother of Arthur Carmona. I delivered a copy of your article to Arthur, and we would like to thank you. This is a very hard time for us. We do feel alone at times, and the heartache we both feel is very painful. I was overwhelmed with all of the calls from your readers; they had me in tears.
To the readers of the OC Weekly:
Thank you for your concerns and for all the inquiries as to how you can help. I was deeply touched, and so was my son. We have a long, hard fight ahead, and if you would like to help in any way, please continue to call Nadia Maria Davis at (714) 740-4099 or my voice mail at (714) 297-3662.
Some people have wanted to send donations for Arthur's legal defense. Send them in care of Nadia Maria Davis, 621 N. Linwood, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
You are welcome to write Arthur with any words of encouragement. Letters can be forwarded through his attorney at: Arthur Carmona #MD086, c/o Deborah Muns-Park, Sidley & Austin, 555 W. 5th St., Ste. 4000, Los Angeles, CA 90013.