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Simpson Case Bonuses, Deals

November 19, 1995

* I have been a deputy district attorney for 24 years. During that career I have tried more than 200 felony jury trials. Forty-six of them were murder cases. I tried every one alone. I had no staff, no assistants, no law clerks. In each case I spent most of the working day in court, which meant anything else connected with the case, such as witness interviews, legal research, additional investigation, conferences with the investigating officer, was done on my time. I received no bonuses, no overtime. I never even thought to ask for such benefits. Why? Because it's my job--that's what I do. Right now in this county there are several hundred deputy district attorneys doing the same thing.

Now I see the Simpson prosecutors received bonuses (Nov. 9) and vast amounts of overtime. During this same period young Grade 1 and Grade 2 deputy district attorneys with families and mortgages were told they could not be promoted or get their step raises due to budget problems!

Remember, taxpayers, it's your money that Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti handed over.

JIM FAGAN

Lakewood

* I read with interest your article regarding the bonuses given by Garcetti to the three Simpson prosecutors. I congratulate the district attorney for having the common sense to reward hard work. Prosecutors Marcia Clark, Christopher Darden and William Hodgman did an excellent job under the circumstances. They performed beyond the call of duty.

It is elementary that in order to attract qualified employees excellent work should be rewarded. The "Dream Team" was paid millions of dollars and they deserved every penny. The prosecutors worked day and night for 16 months. A bonus is clearly in order to show our appreciation.

ANDREW FRIEDMAN

Los Angeles

* Clark is selling her story for $4.2 million. I think she should split it with the government, for several reasons:

* What she is selling is partly government property, like the memorabilia of statesmen.

* She was paid to do her job, and the job was to carry out a public function. The assignment itself carried publicity value, before she was given it, for whoever performed it. That's public property she's converting to private use.

* The government is entitled to recover a little of its financial outlay, which is another way of saying, perhaps, that its "investment" created an opportunity that doesn't belong only to her.

* There is a "Son of Sam" law principle here. No one, not just the criminals, should profit by a crime (and a crime was committed here, whoever did it).

* She lost.

JONATHAN D. KAUFELT

Los Angeles

* Deputy Dist. Attys. Hodgman, Clark and Darden received bonuses from being on TV (free notoriety) to promote the chances of getting lucrative deals in the future. Darden has reportedly gotten a bonus $1.5-million book deal. These attorneys tried their best, but they lost the case. Garcetti is wrong to give away taxpayer money. (If they won the case, I would feel the bonuses meant something.)

TERENCE WONG

Santa Monica

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