Your newspaper hosted a personal attack on my good reputation unsupported by the written record (“Evidently, He’s Our Guy,” 10/26). In the Scotland Williams trials, my work was minor, as Mr. Williams implicated himself from the ATM photographs using the victim’s bank card to his hairs, fibers, shoe prints, and DNA left at the crime scene. His bragging of the crime in prison helped him receive life without parole in his second trial.
In the Albert Givens case, the Maryland courts affirmed a new trial due to inadequate defense counsel. This included the failure to cross-examine me and to subpoena a Maryland State Police Chemist who examined a sock for hairs. The wrench was not sent to another lab for examination except for tool mark comparison to wound shape.
Ms. Nethercott and Mr. Kent are also forgetting the complete and forthright access they had to me, the evidence, and my documents prior to all trials. Screening multiple locations on an item of evidence and finding positive and negative results is common, and my reporting followed usual guidelines.
Apparently Mr. Mercer drew his conclusions from faulty recollections of others and without direct research of the cases or my 20 years as a studious and impartial forensic scientist. I would not deign to judge him from similar hearsay.
William T. Vosburgh
Director, Consolidated Forensic Laboratory
Thanks for your cover story profiling new recruits to the military (“Falling In,” 10/26). The subjects of the piece provided varied responses to your question, “Why ship out in the middle of this war?” but I think the undercurrent of the majority of their responses is that the working class is not valued in this country, and one of the few ways for them to achieve a measure of dignity is to join the military, which they see as valuable either for the experience it provides or for the fully funded college education that is the reward. Absent conscription in this country, there is no denying a kind of warrior or mercenary caste, driven to risk their lives by family tradition or the desire to transcend a subordinate class position. In a country that denies dignity to the working class, to what degree is the decision to serve a free one?
Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
I could not help but revisit “The Battle Over Heavy T” (9/28) again because it reminds me of parenting gone wrong! The article is an understatement of what happens to children who can’t see beyond the fork, knife, and plate. The main character in this article just doesn’t get it, and apparently neither does his family. The article merely cracks the surface about the challenges children face when complacent with inactivity and ineffective parenting. The weight problem is Heavy T’s least problem. The crime of being overweight will sentence him with a garden variety of health problems that include diabetes, respiratory ailments, high blood pressure, and coronary related illness. Need I go further? I think not! Scrape the plate and please pass this letter to his parent.
Sharon J. Chambers