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Letter to the editor, Miscarriages of justice
2019-01-22

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Dear Editor:

The lenient sentencing of Jason Van Dyke for his murder of LaQuan McDonald calls to mind the White Nights from May 1979, when Dan White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder of Harvey Milk and George Moscone.

White was sentenced to seven years and eight months, of which he served five years; Van Dyke was sentenced to six years and nine months and can be released after a little more than three years. White used the "Twinkie defense" in which his attorneys argued that the copious amounts of junk-food diminished his mental capacity. One of Van Dyke's defense arguments was to blame the victim—and both arguments are preposterous.

The pattern is also continued from when Michael Brown was murdered in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, and the shooter was not indicted. After the April 2015 murder of Freddie Gray by the Baltimore police, the officers were either found not guilty or were not indicted.

Voters and citizens have become numb to this nonsense—in Chicago, Ferguson, Baltimore and more, it is once again white cops killing another Black youth; in San Francisco, it was homophobia in which a straight man murdered an openly gay supervisor. Because the murdered victims were minorities and/or members of marginalized groups, lenient sentences were given or there were no indictments or not-guilty verdicts.

These patterns of travesties and miscarriages of justice continue to riddle our society and must cease. They destroy any credibility in the criminal-justice system.

Sincerely,

Scott G. Burgh

Chicago


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