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Sentence in scout's death too light

Thomas Murphy attends a hearing before Suffolk County

Thomas Murphy attends a hearing before Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho in Central Islip in 2019. Credit: James Carbone

Thomas Murphy may have received the "maximum sentence allowed by law," but it won’t truly be maximum unless our (in)justice system makes him serve all 25 years ["Maximum sentence in DWI killing of boy scout," News, Oct. 1]. Even then he’ll eventually be free to continue his life — while his young victim, Andrew McMorris, will still be dead. Of course, even Murphy’s full 25-year sentence would still pale in comparison with the 50, 60, 70, or 80 years of life he "stole" from Andrew. But chances are that Murphy will get out sooner; perhaps after serving only the minimum 8 1/3 years. His sentence might even get shortened for so-called "good time." While Justice Fernando Camacho said Murphy is "not a horrible man," Murphy’s broken promise to "accept responsibility" for the fatal car crash tells me that Murphy is not a "decent man." And as for Murphy’s wife’s complaint that "I can’t even give him a hug?", she’s had the past two years to hug him every day — while the McMorrises have had only a tombstone to "hug."

Richard Siegelman,


Trump again denied Nobel Peace Prize

Once again, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has denied President Donald Trump the Nobel Peace Prize ["UN agency wins peace Nobel," News, Oct. 10]. In spite of his achievement to help broker a peace deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the award went to the World Food Program. To me, Trump has done more to create peace and deescalate tensions between countries than most other Peace Prize winners. Take 1994 co-winner Yasser Arafat or, even better, the 2009 winner, President Barack Obama. Trump should not fret. He’s in company with another president the committee ignored, Ronald Reagan. Reagan helped tear down a wall, uniting Germany, and helped end communism in many parts of the world. We can look forward to the Nobel committee continuing to make this mistake when it considers Trump in the next four years of his presidency.

William Kregler,


Views of Barrett’s SCOTUS hearings

I am astonished that reader Gene Reynolds characterizes Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s expected appointment to the Supreme Court to mean she will be expected to do President Donald Trump’s "bidding" if confirmed ["Letter writer gets it wrong on Barrett," Letters, Oct. 15]. I believe this statement is not only a personal insult to Barrett as it would be to any other Supreme Court nominee in the past. I also believe Barrett has shown herself to be a gifted and knowledgeable jurist and also extraordinarily patient in listening to half-hour political speeches. I did not hear, in listening to most of the proceedings, anything but reasoned answers to the questioners. I say that whatever the reader can perceive of Trump’s activities cannot be transferred to Barrett’s qualifications.

Jack Barthel,


Joe Squerciati’s letter to the editor, to me, reflects poor logic ["Barrett’s effect on court’s religious balance," Letters, Oct. 16]. All Catholics are not against contraception nor are all other religions pro contraception. A nominee’s religious beliefs have no place in a confirmation hearing nor does a religiously "balanced" Supreme Court have any place in our judicial system. The judge’s legal profile, court decisions, knowledge of constitutional law, etc., are the only subjects that should be questioned. Is the reader suggesting an affirmative action process in which all nine seats are divided among nine "major religions"?

Orlando T. Maione,

Stony Brook

Your editorial "Court’s legitimacy in the balance" [Oct. 18] fails to emphasize a crucial issue regarding Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. As if confidence in the executive and legislative branches has not been sufficiently diminished, the rush to get Barrett nominated and confirmed within weeks of a presidential election in which there is a distinct possibility she will be called upon to cast a vote to decide the election’s outcome, to me, reeks of a corrupt bargain, and presents to the world a picture of a hypocritical, abject, abuse of raw power to maintain power. Are we no better than President Vladimir Putin’s Russia? For the sake of the country, she should say that she will recuse herself from any case involving the upcoming election. Failing to do so, she should not be confirmed.

Eric Jurist,


According to Newsday editorial writers, the Supreme Court’s legitimacy is undercut when it does not "mirror public opinion." Really? Public opinion is fickle and can swing wildly from generation to generation. I would remind the writers that in 1896 the court in Plessy v. Ferguson mirrored public opinion with devastating results when it sanctioned racial segregation. Thank goodness it was later overturned by a court that strictly applied the Constitution. If public opinion were to favor it, should the court censor newspapers (no matter how misguided their editorial policy)? Should innocent Japanese Americans have been interned in camps during World War II because it mirrored the public will? No, the court’s legitimacy is upheld when it applies the clear language of the Constitution, which guarantees fundamental rights and protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority. This is precisely what Judge Amy Coney Barrett rightfully pledges to do.

Robert D. Teetz,

New Hyde Park