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Punishment and Entertainment

April 15, 2001

* Re "Verdict In on High-Tech Courtroom Presentations," April 2.

"Find Him Guilty" projected large and colorful on the courtroom wall. Ventura County prosecutors' bloated budget allows them to use the latest in high technology to exploit the synergy of entertainment and the lust to punish.

We've seen this before. For a rather blunt but enlightening look at the punishment-entertainment correlation pick up a copy of the recently published book "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America." Look closely at the pictures. See if you can see yourself in one of the crowds.

Ronald Janes, a chief deputy district attorney, is quoted as saying of the multimedia shows, "It caters to the way people learn today." The responsibility of the district attorney is to seek the truth and, if need be, to concentrate on proving alleged guilt rather than teaching guilt by using sensationalism.

Justice would be better served by providing a thorough and honest investigation. Prove the allegations with honest, relevant facts and leave the emotional hucksterism to Hollywood.

DAVID McGEE

Thousand Oaks

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