Catherine Vatalaro: Suspects innocent until proven guilty

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To the editor:

I'm writing this letter in response to a letter printed on June 5 sent in from Dale Becker. What gets me in the pit of my stomach is the fact that you don't even know Mr. (Troy) Neal, or the facts in his case, but yet you assume he is guilty and ready to throw away the key. What they don't print is at the time of his arrest he had no drugs in his possession and no solid evidence he sold drugs to anyone except from an informant trying to get herself less of a sentence. They don't mention he has been in jail for six months with a bond too excessive for him to make. With how our American justice system works and what our local paper prints, there is little hope of a fair trial and a chance to prove his innocence. To take the plea so his bond would be lower was the only way he felt he had to get out.

I'm aware of the meth problem and understand why there are concerns, but to put these people's pictures in the news repeatedly and ruin their reputations in the community as if they had already been convicted. I believe it is wrong and against their right to innocent until proven guilty. It is not going to solve the problem with meth but give people less hope in our justice system and our constitutional rights, when sex offenders get less punishment and more of a chance to a fair trial then someone who gets accused of meth.

So I feel before the paper or anyone else decides to slander these people's names and assume their guilt, you should get the facts behind the charges and on the accused. People's lives are affected by what you assume.

Catherine Vatalaro

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