Over the years in reading your editorials I did not always agree with what you said but at least thought your reasoning valid and your comments fair. Then came your editorials of July 20 and July 21.
In "Breaking the Shield" (July 20) you take the position that a journalist should not be forced by contempt proceedings to testify on behalf of a criminal defendant, even if the testimony would lead to the dismissal of criminal charges against that defendant.
The purpose of the Bill of Rights and the corresponding sections of the Constitution of California is to protect the individual citizen from the excesses and illegalities of government police and prosecutor activities. The First Amendment and the state Constitution do not provide a shield for members of the press as to what they observed police officers doing in a public place.
On July 21, I was appalled when I read your editorial that advocated doing away with preliminary hearings in California as a way to speed up the judicial process and to rely on grand jury indictments instead. Has the writer of this editorial considered that most county grand juries in California are charged with and spend most of their time in overseeing the functioning of various branches of county government and the political subdivisions of county government? To take the grand juries away from this task of overseeing would allow the local governments to operate without this public scrutiny, which I think all agree is necessary.