I read with considerable interest your column about Larry Hatch and Sgt. Rodriguez . No, justice was not served, but such events are not uncommon in Orange County. A previous and even more outrageous incident may have set the stage for this travesty.
(On April 7, 1988), a Marine got into an argument with several members of the Cal State Fullerton football team in a bar. The argument continued outside, where two of the football players simultaneously struck the Marine's head and he fell dead to the pavement.
No charges of any sort were brought, not even for disturbing the peace. The district attorney's office came up with the marvelous opinion that it was a case of "mutual combat," no harm, no foul.
I believe sincerely that the system's treatment of Larry Hatch was strongly influenced by this incident and others of similar but lesser ilk. The prosecutors you quoted would do well to ponder their own department's calumny and culpability in promoting this atmosphere.
ROBERT C. HUNT, Santa Ana