Here Comes the Judge

Judge Not

Jurist prudence: As a lawyer and longtime student of his opinions, I read your article on Stanley Feldman with interest ("Judging Stanley," Amy Silverman, January 23). Any honest person who is familiar with his opinions should at least admit that Judge Feldman was very bright, but was a classic, liberal "judicial activist." From his first moment on the bench, he had an agenda; he masterfully wove the court with result-oriented decisions to achieve that agenda.

Your article described his opinions as "eloquent." Actually, many were sheer sophistry, wherein he engaged in tortured and strained legal analysis not to mention "legal fictions" to reach the result he wanted. Of course, that is the exact opposite of what good legal analysis should involve, which requires sound and logical reliance on proper statutory and case law interpretation in order to reach the correct legal conclusion. Feldman too often allowed his politics and populist views to interfere with the proper task at hand. These propensities explain his frequent very long opinions and the frustrations voiced against his methodology by the dissenting opinions.

Judge Fred Martone, discussed in the article, is one of the few justices who would openly challenge Feldman's ways. Hence, he was described as "difficult." Truth be known, those "in the know" always understood that Feldman's liberal agenda was the primary force to be reckoned with. The Arizona Supreme Court had the national reputation as being one of the most liberal activist courts in the country. Thank goodness that may have come to an end. We may now enjoy straightforward decision-making. God forbid that Governor Napolitano appoint another like Feldman.

Name withheld by request

Juvenile justice: Either retiring Justice Stanley Feldman has forgotten the pressing issues of the 14-year-old girl's Kansas abortion in 1999 that he helped okay or Amy Silverman has misreported the justice. Neither possibility is attractive.

Feldman is quoted simply to the effect that government can't deny a person the right to go elsewhere to do what's legal there.

This troubled 14-year-old was a chronic runaway juvenile detainee. A Superior Court judge has said she even could be handcuffed going to, and during, the Kansas abortion if necessary.

A Superior Court judge also removed her from official government custody and turned her over to a Planned Parenthood volunteer escort in order to avoid the issue of spending Arizona funds to secure an abortion that violates Arizona law.

The gestational age had been estimated at a bare minimum of 23 weeks. Arizona law requires that for an advanced abortion, a second physician be present to provide care for a viable infant thus delivered. Instead, Child Protective Services turned to a Kansas abortionist skilled at dismemberment.

The Tribune newspapers reported Chief Justice Thomas Zlaket's concern that the parties neglected to discuss how the teen's status as a juvenile delinquent and ward of the state affected her situation. Zlaket also was reported as chiding the majority justices "for failing to cite any authority for their conclusion the girl has the same constitutional rights as a free adult."

The girl's family said they were denied contact with her; they thought she was talked into the abortion. The Tribune said sources familiar with the case said the teen was told she must abort her (consensual-sex) pregnancy or give up the infant for adoption.

If Justice Feldman's own minor granddaughter told him that she wanted to go commit legal suicide in the Netherlands, I trust Granddad would show better judgment.

Dexter Duggan

'Bite Me,' Indeed

But how do you really feel?: I ain't just whistlin' Dixie or trying to slap her ass from stick-up-the-ass L.A. when I say that Bite Me's story is one of the worst examples of journalism I've ever seen ("Madcap Moses," January 23)! It must have been that tight tank top that got her the job because "No Shit!" she writes on the level of a junior high school kid who flunked English as a Second Language. The endless dialogue at the end only added insult to injury. If you're trying to save a buck, try high school journalism students. It would be a huge improvement!

Margaret Baldwin

Once bitten: Please send this person back to L.A. Her column is offensive and sophomoric, to say the least.

Vicki Ratliff
Via e-mail

The Conversation

The play's the thing: Robrt L. Pela, as usual, has gone to great lengths to expend his vicious energies on his latest attack of a Phoenix Theatre production ("Aisle of the Damned," January 16). Sadly, Mr. Pela has now branched out and has tried to include members of the audience in his underwhelming attempts at Dorothy Parker-esque reviews.

As the person sitting behind Mr. Pela on the opening night of I Do! I Do!, I take umbrage at his extremely inaccurate characterization of my statements preceding the performance.

First, I am not a board member of the Phoenix Theatre. One of the four individuals in my party, however, is on the board, but he merely tolerated my excited comments rather than contributing to them.

While Mr. Pela eavesdropped on us, I did, indeed, make statements regarding the ballot for next year's plays. My statements, however, were not negative. I was thrilled with the choices on this year's ballot, and voiced my surprise at the possibility that I might see a local production of such plays as Dreamgirls, A Chorus Line and others on the list. The only distress that I expressed was that whoever compiled the list was forcing voters to choose between excellent plays. I don't like choosing between cake or ice cream. I want them both.

The only accurate reference that Mr. Pela made regarding my comments was my suggestion to my fellow theatergoers that we "stuff the ballot box." I only wish that there had been more of us in my party so that we truly could have stuffed the box.

I do not normally read New Times, primarily because it hires individuals with the dubious integrity of Mr. Pela. However, I am grateful that his current lowbrow hit piece was brought to my attention, as I would never have known about it otherwise. The individual who presented me with the article knew that I would resent being misquoted and mischaracterized.

Incidentally, I'm not a snake and have never "hissed" in my life. What a shame that the same cannot be said of Mr. Pela. Hopefully, he will check his facts before he prints his next uninspired drivel.

Bingham J.F. Lowe
Via e-mail

Joe Schmo

The people have spoken: I can hardly believe, after reading Robert Nelson's story about Sheriff Joe Arpaio ("Jailhouse Justice," January 23), that this man is allowed to continue running the county sheriff's office along with his cronies!

It's about time that someone dig deep into the political muck and mire that he's created for everyone here. We all live in this county and have to put up with him when he's out for media coverage about this, that and something stupid.

What totally amazes me is that the citizens of Maricopa County turn a blind eye to this man! He runs roughshod over anyone who stands in his way or makes him look like the idiot he really is (reference the mayor of Fountain Hills) in real life.

There's a new sheriff in town the people! And we deserve to live without the lies, deceit and "back scratching" that occurs on a daily basis downtown. I was hoping that with the fall of Stalin, Hitler and Chairman Mao that we'd seen the last of the dictatorial scum! I guess we have one or two left.

Kudos to Robert Nelson for not backing down on exposing the horrible corruption in the sheriff's office.

Seán Hannah

Cardinal Sins

It's a joke: I love you guys, but . . . either the Bidwills are the dumbest folks ever to visit the Earth, or you, New Times, have been duped, or it is a beautiful hoax by New Times ("Super Bowl V," Rubén Oman, January 16).

My opinion is that agricultural fields are not native habitat to tortoises. I recognize my former tortoise, Bubba, taken from my yard, in your picture humping the young lass tortoise.

The Bidwills are truly not that stupid, and you guys remind me of Sports Illustrated many years ago who duped us folks into believing some Tibetan left-hander who could not be beat being hid in Florida for the Mets.

Please tell me this is a real good funny hoax. Otherwise I question wanting the Cardinals over here on my side of paradise.

Name withheld by request

Credibility? What credibility?: I fell for the desert tortoise story hook, line and sinker. Frankly, I am stunned, offended, feel deceived and victimized by such a fiasco, not to mention complete loss of faith in New Times' credibility.

In my estimation, you are relegated to "scandal sheet" mentality by publishing such a libelous article. How often has previous material been "trumped up" to entice and dupe your faithful readers?

Char Monahan

You can always cancel your subscription: Bravo! Bravo! A very well-written story, certainly had me going. I'm sure this doesn't really matter to anyone on your staff, but now I've learned not to take any of your journalism seriously. Bravo!

David Sebba

Strait Shooter

A rare treat: I just wanted to compliment you on the article you wrote about George Strait and his concert in Phoenix ("Rollin'," Henry Cabot Beck, January 23). It's rare that such an in-your-face and plain-speaking review is written about Mr. Strait, his music and career. We certainly need more articles written in this manner. Thank you!

Sylvia Connor
Via e-mail

Grammy Haul

World class: Am I just a cynic, or could the Grammy shutout of Jimmy Eat World have anything to do with the fact that the band took control of their professional lives, did the CD on their own, and then took their pick from among the many labels that courted them as a result ("Arizona Squeeze," Christopher O'Connor, January 16)? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the band earned their success themselves, and no label honcho could brag that he "made" them? I think the popular success of Jimmy Eat World goes a long way toward showing that the standard music industry way of doing things may not be the best way. (What a surprise!)

Perhaps the industry doesn't like that type of success story.

Jim Rummage
Via e-mail

Ladmo's Bag

Border patrol: After reading "Ladmo's Bark" (Susy Buchanan, January 16) ("Barf" is more apt), I must say that "Joe" is your typical hero wanna-be, hiding like a roach while talking like a warrior. He says he won't reveal his identity because others would attack the messenger, not the message. But then he turns and attacks the message of those of us who are manning the border to try to prevent the criminal acts being perpetrated upon our neighbors on a daily basis.

Theft, assault, rape, kidnap and murder are common occurrences along the border with Mexico, and we are "morons" because we don't turn a blind eye and ignore it? "Joe" has a rather skewed version of fact. Or perhaps he chooses to ignore them.

His reluctance to "come out" in the open is more likely a fear of being confronted by truth than an issue of protecting his family. He tries to make himself appear macho when in fact he is a coward. Liar would probably fit his character as well. He really has nothing to fear except exposure as a con man.

I will tell you who I am. I won't hide. I am one of the "morons" from whom "Joe" is hiding. In truth all "Joe" has to fear from me and others in our group is the light we will shine on his cowardice.

David Cheney

Northern Arizona Coordinator

for Ranch Rescue

Talent Show

Badu to the bone: I am writing in response to your article about the arrival of Erykah Badu into Phoenix ("Rollin'," Christopher O'Connor, January 16). We were lucky to have her grace our city and I was disgusted to read such a muddy review of her, her fellow musicians and her music. Have you ever really experienced a concert of Ms. Badu's? Probably not, because if you had, you would know that her stage performances are brilliant. The rare moments I have been lucky enough to see her she lights up the room with sultry notes, improv, DJing and keyboard playing, and pays homage to old-school rap artists with a twist of her very own. She speaks with her heart in a nonthreatening manner and excites the crowd, because she cares. I have been to many concerts and would put her in the top five of the 35 or so of my concert experiences.

Oh, and to speak negatively about Common, Jill Scott, and D'Angelo? That's just wrong, and I highly advise you to pick up Like Water for Chocolate, Mama's Gun, and Jill Scott's debut album, which is wonderful. As you write about musical artists, try to learn a bit about music before you criticize such rare and unique musicians.

By the way, did you even know that Cody Chestnut was at the concert? You didn't mention him, which in my opinion shouldn't have been overlooked in your article.

Tracy Wells
Via e-mail

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