Watch the courts

I share the concern of the defense attorneys who question why Supreme Court Justice Donald Beatty's comments struck such a nerve with so many of the state's prosecutors. If any prosecutors engaged in "witness tampering, selective or retaliatory prosecution, perjury or suppression of evidence," this would indeed be cause for alarm.

It is not uncommon to discover, after a verdict, that the district attorney or prosecutor withheld evidence that would have supported a defendant's not-guilty claim.

Since DNA evidence became admissible in court, we often hear of innocent people having spent years in prison (at an average cost of $30,000 per year) being released. All too often, trials become a battle of winning or losing, and not a sincere desire to serve justice.

We must be vigilant to ensure that our criminal justice system works as intended, and not perverted to enhance an overzealous attorney's career.

Gregory Bayne

21st Avenue

Isle of Palms

Fixing I-26

My heartfelt sympathies go out to Greg Elmore, and his family, on the loss of his son Taylor. There is no greater heartbreak than for a parent to lose a child. Especially in what might have been an avoidable accident.

However, the problem with I-26 is not the trees. Neither the median nor the outside has proper shoulders. No irregular pavement alerts sleepy or distracted drivers. And no guardrails or cable barriers are in place.

Especially along stretches with deep ditches lining the roadway, any and all drivers are vulnerable to fatalities and injuries, with or without trees in the median.

Putting in place barriers and leaving the trees as is would result in a double safety net. The trees shield drivers from sun glare and prevent traffic from crossing the median and striking vehicles going in the opposite direction. Wide shoulders and guardrails would alert inattentive drivers and buffer an impact.

With almost 12 million cars using I-26 yearly (based on the reported 32,000 driving it daily), it is amazing that between 2007 and 2011 there were "only" 44 deaths and 709 injuries, especially considering how some drivers speed, text or use cell phones, not to mention drugs and alcohol. That is little consolation to families who have experienced one of these catastrophes, but surely we could prevent many more with simple, commonsense remedies.

S.M. Renaud

Regatta Road

Charleston

Mideast mistakes

I attended Paul Bremer's recent lecture on the Middle East at the Charleston Library Society.

While I am as aggrieved as anyone at the missteps in U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, it is disingenuous of Mr. Bremer to lay the blame solely on the Obama administration.

Anyone interested in a broader picture of the situation should research "disbanding the Iraqi Army."

Ann Holland

Rutledge Avenue

Charleston

Valuable water

It is time for some brilliant soul to step up to the plate.

Two authorities - state-owned but operated separately - are making the most of our water resources. They are the Santee Cooper Authority and the State Ports Authority. But the environmental impact to the coastal region is costing many millions of private and public dollars.

Prior to the lakes being made, 7,200 square miles of North and South Carolina creeks and rivers supplied the sands to build and maintain our coastal shores. That source no longer exists.

The natural flow of water in the Cooper River was 750 cubic feet per second. After the hydroelectric plant came on line in the early 1940s that flow of water was vastly increased. And the flow was sometimes greater in heavy rains.

In the 1980s they reopened the rediversion canal into the Santee rivers. It was a godsend. For example, the recent heavy rains could otherwise have damaged the entire Cooper River system.

As for the State Ports Authority, it is preparing to spend almost $2 billion on growth projects, which we certainly need in order to stay competitive in shipping.

One project is to deepen the shipping channel in the harbor again. Each deepening causes an environmental impact on Folly Beach.

Its builders left a 1,500-foot opening in the south jetty. It was the original natural channel into the harbor.

The flow through that hole should be measured. It might indicate that a submerged jetty is necessary to lessen the impact.

The lakes have provided water for electricity for 73 years. The profit for both authorities has been at the expense of property owners and taxpayers. It's time they pay for the damage they have caused.

C.W. Benson

Pemberly Boulevard

Summerville

They tried

Dec. 4 headline: "Dorchester 2 might relax no-gadget rule: High school leaders know most students are ignoring policy anyway."

Upcoming headlines?

"SCDOT drops speed limit enforcement: Officials know most drivers ignore the law anyway."

"DHEC stops requiring 'Employees Must Wash Hands' signs: Suspect workers don't bother anyway."

A. Thomas Price

Sully Street

Goose Creek

Down and out

The four downs of Obama;

Lie.

Deny.

Deceive.

Punt.

Wally Reddington, Jr.

Master Sgt., U.S. Air Force (Retired)

Durrell Court

Goose Creek