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Bench Warmers

Posted 9/19/2007

It was with shock that I read your Sept. 12 Mobtown Beat article on Judge Bruce Sewell Lamdin's possible temporary suspension from his position as a Baltimore County District Court judge ("Shut Your Pie Hole"). My shock came not from news of his conduct, which is not unusual for a sitting judge, but from the prospect that someone might actually consider doing anything about it. And I strongly suspect that the recommendation for suspension came not because of his conduct on the bench, but because he lacked the good sense to rein in his behavior during his appearance before the Commission on Judicial Disabilities.

Arrogant and hostile? Most Maryland judges seem to consider those job requirements! It doesn't take many trips to a Maryland district or circuit court to see such behavior coming from the bench. Find a judge who carefully and impartially listens to both sides of a case before issuing a well-reasoned decision and you have found a rare gem, indeed. Most Maryland judges, in my experience, are pompous asses, acting like demigods in their own little courtrooms, sovereign over all they see. No rule of law here. And no one needs take my word for this. Just visit any courtroom when "hearings" are under way, and see for yourself.

And any attempt to appeal a trial court's decision is complicated by the fact that the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, has specifically directed the Court of Special Appeals, the first rung in the appeals process, to find some basis for turning down appeals, across the board.

As for the always forthcoming positive comments from attorneys about almost any judge, consider this: These men and women make a living practicing law before these very same judges, and the outcome of a trial could hinge on an attorney's willingness to laugh at a judge's jokes, or on enduring some other similarly outrageous conduct from said judge. They would be doing their clients a great disservice by not going along with all the crap.

During the French Revolution, judges like these were dragged into the streets and beheaded, and some 150 years ago Alexis de Tocqueville warned of the dangers of the rise of this New Aristocracy. But we are more and more sheep, content to avert our eyes from such goings-on and then allow those imprisoned by our "justice" system to be treated as less than human.

It all reminds me of a phrase I once heard that has stuck with me throughout the years: I wish I lived in the country that they taught us about in civics class.

E.A. walsh

Body (Politic) Modification

Last Wednesday's City Paper showed great head shots of all the candidates with the exception of Mike Schaefer ("Business as Usual," Feature, Sept. 5). He was shown with a very "husky" torso. My question is, "Why did they put Michael Schaefer's face on my body?"

A. Robert Kaufman

The writer was a Democratic candidate for mayor in the recent primary.


Brian Morton's "description" of the Laffer Curve in his Political Animal column (Sept. 12) is so inaccurate it can only be the result of profound ignorance or intentional obfuscation. Instead of saying "the more you cut taxes, the more revenues go up," the theory merely states that there is an optimum tax percentage that maximizes tax revenues. Rather than Morton's goofy metaphor, "the more air you let out of your tires, the fuller they'll be when you hit the road," a better and accurate one would be, "it is dangerous to overinflate your tires, as well as to underinflate them." If Morton is so willing to admit that he's not an economist, maybe he should steer clear of economic topics to avoid coming across as a tool. Further, calling those of us who play the lottery "suckers" and "stupid" is not a classy move, but that's to be expected from high-toned liberals like him. 

Daniel Wiznitzer

No More Than We Deserve

As a black man who lives in East Baltimore, I am angry at the results of this election ("It's Just Politics," Feature, Sept. 5). Those of us who are most effected by this election didn't get up off our asses and vote. I hear people do nothing but complain, yet they vote for the same idiots who have already been running this clusterfuck.

All I see in East Baltimore is a bunch of people that don't give a damn about anything but trivial BS. I see my neighbors band together to watch people fight in the street; they get together to talk about one another, or to say how bad it is. These problems just didn't start--ask yourselves why is it that all these ideas pop up when these people want to get elected?

Conservatives had the federal government in their pocket because they elected people who worked for them. Not because they're cool, stylish, or because they have a well-known last name. The people who didn't work for them were replaced by people who would. You get the government you elect, and after seven years of O'Malley, Dixon, Young, and Rawlings-Blake, what do you have? What do you think you'll get from these people now--they already have your vote?

We need to start getting involved in our government and not just be spectators in our own communities. You want change, you have to demand change; what you have now is what you've been getting all along. So for all you people who complain yet didn't vote, or voted for the "same old," you'll get the city you deserve. I live east, where kids don't really have too many places to go, where crime and violence is normal. Remember this: Rec centers will pop up, all these new amenities will come to our area, but they won't be for us. They're not rebuilding that area for us--they want to be able to tell the yuppies they can go other places besides the harbor. So in two years, when you're sitting in an area you don't know, in a house you can't afford, take a trip to your old neighborhood. These politicians care about you every four years, and some of us are too stupid to see the writing on the wall.

Tony Newman

Editor's note: With this issue, we welcome new music editor Michael Byrne. A native of Detroit, Michael most recently freelanced for Portland, Ore., alt-weekly Willamette Week, as well as for magazines such as Spin and XLR8R. He found his way to the Mount Royal Tavern all on his own his very first night in town, so he should fit in quite nicely.

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