Juvenile justice?

The OpEd on failures in the juvenile justice system by James L. Dold was well timed. We have an excellent example here in Maine, unfortunately. The BDN reported that Dominic Sylvester, who allegedly murdered his grandmother when he was 16 after years of alleged abuse, will be tried as an adult.

The psychologist who testified said the Sylvester “suffered from severe abuse by multiple adults, including his grandmother,” according to the June 26 BDN story.

I am not a lawyer, but I believe that if Sylvester lived in a big city or in another state, a self-defense case could be made successfully.

This defense has been used by women who kill their husbands or boyfriends. Courts have ruled that the murder need not take place during an attack on the women. They fear for their lives.

The psychologist testified further that Sylvester lived in an “incredibly disruptive environment” from which he finally felt he had to save himself.

An earlier BDN article stated that the grandmother’s boyfriend was a convicted sex offender.

The decision to try Sylvester as an adult was wrong.

Peg Cruikshank


Health care for immigrants

Democrats on the debate stage supported free health care for any migrant. As lifelong, law-abiding citizens, we pay $10,000 a year for health care. Many U.S. veterans do not have adequate health care. Would someone in the Democratic Party please explain this anomaly to me?

Ralph “Doc” Wallace


Vote McConnell out

Until enough people wake up in Kentucky and vote Mitch McConnell out of office, or we get a Democratic majority in the Senate, we are stuck with him running the Senate and the country. Recently, in reference to an attempt by Democrats to prevent Trump from unilaterally going to war, McConnell said, “Rather than work with the president to deter our actual enemy, they have chosen to make him the enemy.”

Has McConnell forgotten that he is the master of making a president the enemy? Has he forgotten that when Barack Obama was elected, he declared that the task of the Republican party was to make sure he was a one-term president? Has he forgotten that he refused to do his elected job when he blocked even a hearing on Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court? Yet he recently said that if there is an opening in the court next year, he will move quickly to fill it.

Jenni Casale


Collins not courageous

I’m tired of giving Susan Collins a pass to sit on the sidelines.

A principled moderate would stand up for the LGBTQ+ community, even when it’s inconvenient or politically invaluable. A profile in courage, which she has been heralded as, would never vote frequently with the same administration that banned transgender troops from serving our country. But Collins has, even if she’s taken steps against the ban itself.

She has also voted to confirm several Trump’s nominees with various histories of opposing marriage equality or opposing laws protecting LGTBQ+ Americans.

June 28 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. July 7 marks 35th anniversay of Charlie Howard’s murder in Bangor.

As far back as 1995, Collins declined to accept an award from the Maine Lesbian-Gay Political Alliance, reportedly because she didn’t agree with their entire agenda. She then waited nearly 20 years coming out in support of same-sex marriage, after Mainers had voted to legalize it across the state. That’s not courageous.

Timothy St. Pierre