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Salsa Lawsuit at County Jail

August 21, 1988

There must be a logical explanation or excuse for Stephen Smith's caustic and irresponsible reaction to the Hispanic inmates of the Orange County Jail in their quest for ethnic respect ("Salsa Lawsuit at the County Jail," Aug. 14). Somebody must have stolen Smith's letterhead and written that absurd letter. I find it extremely hard to believe that a member of the California State Bar would submit for publication to numerous newspapers such a lack of understanding of the facts and obvious ignorance of the law.

All the sentenced Orange County inmates have been convicted of misdemeanors, civil matters, traffic tickets, public intoxication, leash laws--and not the horrendous crimes alluded to by Smith. Thousands of citizens are detained in, and released from, the Orange County Jail as a result of no criminal charges being filed by the district attorney. Others have been arrested by mistake. True, others are arrested and held in the County Jail for violations of the law suggested by Smith. But while housed there awaiting their day in court, the law presumes them to be innocent (and many are in fact innocent). Human decency dictates that a so-situated citizen be treated accordingly.

However, if in fact Smith is an attorney, it's no wonder he offers his advice freely, for no one would pay for it.

DANIEL M. DUFFY

Santa Ana

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