Del Norte Triplicate Readers

Criminal justice system perpetuated injustice

On Nov. 18, Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla argued to keep London's owner and the entire public from speaking at the sentencing hearing of Zachary Hinton, who entered a "no contest" plea to felony animal cruelty for shattering London's front legs and leaving him without medical care until his Humane Society rescue and subsequent double-amputation.

Not even that affront to justice could prepare one for the travesty that occurred at Thursday's continued hearing ("180-day sentence in dog abuse case," Dec. 7) to see if Judge Chris Doehle would accept the plea bargain.

Over Ms. Padilla's strident objections, the judge allowed into evidence the laudable letters of London's supporters from places as far away as Maryland, Alabama and Australia, all asking for a much stronger sentence. Judge Doehle then, again at the insistence of the DA's Office, denied the right to speak to a board member of our local Humane Society who had firsthand knowledge and involvement in the rescue of London.

The former prosecutor who initially charged the case and was ready for trial at one time, who could have persuasively refuted the hollow argument of Ms. Padilla that this was not a strong case worthy of trial, was also not allowed to speak.

Indeed, the eyewitness to the attack upon London was present in court on Thursday. Despite the possible unavailability of the operating surgeon, two highly respected local veterinarians, familiar with his case, had said his condition was so severe after the attack, they would have recommended the puppy be put down.

Those doctors were available for trial and could have also testified to the operating surgeon's records.

At one point, Judge Doehle stated she believed a one-year jail sentence was appropriate. Incredibly, Ms. Padilla then joined with the defense attorney in adamantly arguing to cut Judge Doehle's one-year sentence in half, which she eventually did.

Finally, notwithstanding Judge Doehle's characterization of his acts as "despicable," Zachary Hinton was allowed to plead "no contest' and not to have to admit any guilt whatsoever.

The attack upon London was brutal and violated any notion of common decency, morality or civilized conduct.Sadly, the abuse he sustained Thursday from the people and a criminal justice system sworn to protect him only served to mirror and perpetuate that injustice.

Eileen Bennett and

Jason Northrip,

Del Norte Humane Society

Pres. Obama is no Mandela or King

This is an open letter to President Obama:

I didn't know Nelson Mandela. I never met Nelson Mandela.

But, sir, you ain't no Nelson Mandela, and you are no Martin Luther King, Jr., either.

All due apologies to Lloyd Bentsen.

Joe Thomas,