Racial comparison lacked key information
Newsday’s series on ethno-racial disparities in judicial sentencing relies heavily on statistics from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services [“Numbers show racial disparity,” News, Oct. 22]. The article’s methodology sidebar states that these records contain nothing about a defendant’s prior convictions.
A defendant’s arrest and conviction history is crucial in determining both charges and penalties, and is central in assessing the fairness of sentences imposed in court. Without such information, it’s difficult to see how any useful comparisons or conclusions can be made regarding possible sentencing disparities among different demographic groups.
Richard Welch, Northport
Local gov’t should help with green energy
As we pass the fifth anniversary of the devastation of superstorm Sandy, we reflect on how it affected our lives financially and emotionally [“Resiliency and loyalty,” News, Oct. 29].
I believe the predictions that such storms and hurricanes are becoming more frequent and intense.
Do we continue to do nothing and become victims of violent weather, or do we take action? One option is to do our part to mitigate climate change. Shifting to clean, renewable energy will help. Another good measure would be to help provide ways for families to keep power flowing when such weather events strike.
I urge our townships and local legislatures to commit to renewable electricity and make Suffolk County a national leader in the fight against the climate crisis. The county should provide incentives and make adoption of wind, solar, battery backup and geothermal technology easier for businesses and residences.
Charles Avalos Jr., Miller Place
Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the Long Island chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Suffolk prosecutors shouldn’t get bonuses
Recently, we read about bonuses given to prosecutors by Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, and now we read about his indictment and resignation [“Feds charge Suffolk DA,” News, Oct. 26].
In addition to federal authorities, I believe the state attorney general should look into the legality of the bonuses given by Spota. I believe that the funds should be returned so that the police will have the equipment and anything else they need to take on the gangs, drug dealers and others who infect our communities.
How can it be legal to give bonuses to prosecutors who receive pay and benefits from the taxpayers? Is this how the asset forfeiture fund was intended to be used?
The police put their lives on the line to arrest criminals, and that’s the source of the asset forfeiture money. The police have to make arrests and seize property, assets, guns, drug money, etc. There should be a report of this money once a month to the county legislators and county executive.
Editor’s note: The writer is a retired sergeant of the New York City Transit Police.
Funds from the millions of dollars’ worth of assets seized each year should be used for drug treatment programs, and to eradicate the illicit drug trade in our communities.
Martin Blumberg, Melville