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The presumed sentence for this crime for someone with Latawiec’s criminal history is 300 months of prison time. The prosecutor asked for 120. The victim’s father, who made a very powerful and emotional impact statement about how his daughter’s life has been irreparably and forever altered, asked for no less than 90. The judge sentenced Latawiec to only 72 months.
This plea deal was negotiated behind closed doors in Judge Daniel Mabley’s chambers; certainly it was best that the girl not have to endure going through and testifying at a trial, but 72 months — less than one-fourth of the time called for? Something is seriously wrong in our culture when a sentence as light as this one is given to a serial criminal for this horrific and violent crime.
Until these perpetrators are given real sentences that are commensurate with the crime and their criminal history, women and children will continue to be devalued in our society. Shame on us. (P.S. This incident happened in 2012, and Latawiec had been out on bond until this week.)
KATE KELLY and RANDY DEBRUYN
The writers are board members with WATCH, a Hennepin County court-monitoring organization.
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Rep. Paymar’s approach is just common sense
The common-sense approach to the issue of safety in the State Capitol offered by Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, is one we should all embrace (“State panel to debate gun carrying on Capitol grounds,” Aug. 14). Where is the sanity in the right to carry guns virtually everywhere? Rep. Kelby Woodward, R-Belle Plaine, compares the intimidation caused by having guns in a volatile atmosphere to that of being shouted at. I’m not aware of anyone dying by being the target of shouting.
JUDI SATEREN, Minneapolis
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Consider the trade-offs if we rely on foreign oil
Given the pervasive nature of corn-based materials in both food and ethanol production, an Aug. 16 commentary (“Yes — reconsider that ethanol blend rate”) is a primer on the operation of commodity markets balancing competing demand via price fluctuations.
The only thing missing appears to be the obvious link between what you eat and what you drive. If we like to buy imported oil from the Mideast and fight ruinous wars to assure a steady supply, we can back off on domestic ethanol production and have cheap chicken. If we want to reduce dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil, we can invest in fuel-efficient transportation and alternative sources of energy. Would you rather send your kids to fight a war over oil, or pay more for eggs?
GEORGE HUTCHINSON, Minneapolis
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.