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Thursday letters: Stephanie Ragusa's punishment for sex crime is excessive

10 years in prison for sex with teens | June 29, story

Punishment for sex crime is excessive

A 10-year prison term for Stephanie Ragusa is absurd! It belongs among the decrees from the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.

We, of course, need laws to protect our children from harm, but the punishment should fit the crime. A crime doesn't really exist if no harm is done. Were the "victims" really injured in any way? I think not. The mother of one of the boys asserts that her son has a guilt burden, and the judge asserts that Ragusa has caused harm. If one looks at the matter critically, it is the legal system, our cultural taboos, and the media frenzy that are the root cause, not the actions of Ragusa.

The logical approach is to determine what harm has been done (with a panel of psychiatrists?) to the "victims" and sentence in accordance therewith. Surely, some community service is more rational than a lengthy prison sentence.

Donald Barnhill, Trinity

10 years in prison for sex with teens June 29, story

Misreading Ragusa

Judge Chet Tharpe made a common error in reading a defendant's mannerism as a display of arrogance. In his case, it's a worse mistake because he sits on a throne of grave decision.

Stephanie Ragusa was very emotionally distraught and any mannerism she had might not be a reflection of her true state of mind. It's common for people to react in opposite ways to their true feelings in cases of emotional distress. It's their compensation against whatever grievance has been made against them.

Tharpe likely knows that, but showing some intelligent compassion for Ragusa would have negated his wish to be a star in the theater of the courtroom.

Shane Hunter, Clearwater

10 years in prison for sex with teens June 29, story

Gender still matters

It is amazing that your article on the front page of the Tampa Bay section indicated that Stephanie Ragusa's criminal sentence was more than others have received. This may be true if compared to the teacher deemed too pretty to go to jail (Debra Lafave) but I doubt this is true compared to not-so-pretty male perpetrators.

The judicial system continues its two-tier justice based on gender. Perhaps this is perpetuated for the same reason that female candidates enjoy a statistical advantage in judicial elections simply based on their ballot names.

Kevin Driscoll, St. Petersburg

Kagan does have the chops June 29, PolitiFact

An insult to the court

Excuse me … six years of legal practice? Six years, including "three summers at law firms in New York City." This is the most qualified candidate that President Barack Obama could find for service on the highest court in the land?

And let's not be confused by her serving as dean of Harvard Law School: Being dean of a law school has no more to do with the theory and practice of law than being president of an airline qualifies you to fly a passenger jet plane.

Many of us thought that President Obama insulted the Supreme Court when he used his State of the Union address as a vehicle for criticism of a decision he did not like. But this nomination is the ultimate insult to the court.

Barry Augenbraun, St. Petersburg

Supreme Court

Limited terms needed

Currently, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings for a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This position should never be a lifetime job. The other branches of our government, legislative and executive, do not have this special treatment as being a lifetime position.

No one should have this enormous advantage for any position, appointed, elected or nominated under our Constitution. During this process now, this document should be evaluated and considered for change.

Nine people should not control the other millions. Talk about equality, this is not the case.

Donald Kreis, Largo

Divided court rules for gun ownership June 29, story

No infringing

I must admit that I was not surprised that the Supreme Court stated that all of the states are bound by the amendments to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. That nothing shall infringe upon them is clearly worded.

Folks, let's face the fact that the Second Amendment is a part of our Constitution. What is amazing is that four of the justices failed to comprehend the meaning of "shall not be infringed." The people of our nation have a right to keep and bear arms, and no state or other form of government has the right to try and change that.

It would seem that the four who dissented may just be anti-Constitution. If it is the Constitution of the United States, would it not follow that it covers all of the states and not just a select few if they so choose?

Woodie Gray, Clearwater

It's time to end partisan pettiness June 29, letter

Partisan attack

How can this individual say, "It's time for the end of partisan politics" when he also says, "The senators on the Republican side of the aisle …" Isn't that playing partisan politics? Isn't he committing what he is condemning? And of course, let's lay this at the feet of George W. Bush! It is my belief that he will be blamed for everything for decades to come.

I have news for this individual. Spending is not going to get us out of debt. It doesn't work on a smaller scale when looking at the household budget and it doesn't work when our government does it. The past stimulus packages have already shown that.

Ronald Melone, Clearwater

On Scott's watch | June 27, story

He'll fit right in

This recent article should be mandatory reading for all Floridians. It's truly amazing this man could be Florida's next governor. After reading this story one is left with the feeling Rick Scott should be wearing a suit with horizontal stripes and a number.

Unfortunately I think Scott would fit in all too well with the current members of the Florida state Legislature. In a Legislature that was willing to build a $6 million building for a major donor to park jets in, wanted to give the rich (those who need it the least) a tax break on their next expensive boat or plane, and wanted to tell every woman in this state they know what is right for her reproductive system, yes, Rick Scott would fit in fine.

In the article Scott states, "Columbia/HCA made mistakes, and I take responsibility for what happened." I don't see how walking away with hundreds of millions of dollars as soon as an investigation began is taking responsibility for anything. Scott ran Columbia/HCA with unbridled greed, the very thing that is killing capitalism in this country.

Michael Younglove, Brandon

Crist leans too far left for some he needs June 26

Where is the beef?

Adam Smith's political analysis seems sound but it reflects Charlie Crist's hollowness as a candidate. Everything is a matter of calibrating, polling, etc., to see what he should actually believe or advocate.

Gertrude Stein's pithy observation about Oakland, i.e., "there is no there there," is the perfect description of Crist.

Jeffrey Meyer, Clearwater

Thursday letters: Stephanie Ragusa's punishment for sex crime is excessive 06/30/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 6:42pm]
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