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Says jail letter crossed the line

By Staff | Jun 8, 2009

To the Editor:

I have read Mr. Enger’s previous letters to the editor, sometimes in amusement, sometimes in agreement – but he must be taken to task for his latest pontification.

Every citizen can and should question how – and sometimes why – our government spends the money it does. But the letter crossed the line when it referred to people in jail as trash.

I have spent 15 years representing the people of this county who have been charged with crimes. The vast majority have been decent people who have simply made a mistake. I find that it is easy for people to make a generalization about the clients I represent and refer to them as ‘trash’ or ‘those people’ until it is their friend or family member in that situation. Then opinions and labels change.

I can safely say that the majority of the readers of this paper have friends or family members who have had a fight with an ex-significant other, driven home after one too many drinks, or had some other once-in-a-lifetime mishap that resulted in an arrest. These poor choices have not rendered these people ‘trash’ or deserving of scorn.

Quite simply, the ‘trash’ label was mean spirited and uncalled for. Mr. Enger has been quick to point out when the county board has been wrong. Will he be as eager to step forward and admit that he was wrong?

Troy Timmerman, Public Defender

Blue Earth