Allow comfort dogs 

Allow comfort dogs

I was dismayed to read of Judge Wendell Griffen's recent ruling against allowing comfort dogs for child sexual abuse victims in criminal court proceedings. It seems to be a ruling based on politics and bureaucracy [judges "controlling" their courtrooms] rather than the pursuit of justice. To say the judicial and legislative branches never intersect is simply wrong. Our courts already make mandated accommodations for blind, hearing-impaired or non-English speaking witnesses, to mention just a few.  Accommodations are so that witnesses can fully participate and give the court the best possible information for rendering a just verdict. Why would we do any less for child sexual abuse victims?

There is a strong body of research and professional evidence on the benefits and effectiveness of comfort dogs for child witnesses. This ruling is an attack on children's protection, their ability to be effective witnesses, and to find justice in our courts. These children are confronting a power abuser who badly used and hurt them — a terrifying person to face in court. But I have seen child victims willing to testify in order to stand up for themselves or, more touchingly, to protect other children. Comfort dogs allow child witnesses to better cope with fear and anxiety, making their testimony more accurate and meaningful.

Stacking the deck against children in court is cruel, wrong and not in the interest of justice.  Surely the system will not abandon child victims and allow this dangerous, wrong-headed ruling to stand.

Carolyn Layman Gordon

Former chair,

Arkansas Governor's Task Force on Child Abuse

Purple is the new green

Six-and-a-half-billion dollars were spent on the 2016 election and most all of it went to battleground states. Nearly half a billion went into Ohio alone. By comparison, Arkansas got diddly-squat. No one is going to spend big money on a state that is fully ++committed to one party or the other. The money doesn't flow to red or blue, it goes purple.

Listen up, people, we're leaving money on the table here. Let's put aside our partisanship, work together and go for the gold. The next time, and every time, a pollster asks your opinion on a political matter answer it with either "Don't Know," "Undecided" or "None of the Above." This will lay the groundwork for the upcoming election cycle.

This fall, when you go into a voting booth, don't look at the names on the slate but rather at your Social Security number. If it is even, then you vote Democratic and if it is odd, vote Republican. If we all do this the elections in Arkansas will be decided by the thinnest of margins. The recounts will go on until Easter. Come the 2020 presidential election the manna will flow.

David Rose

Hot Springs

Vote NO on Issue 1

I want to make sure you know what's at stake with Issue 1, which is going to be on the ballot this November to change the Arkansas Constitution in several significant ways.

It was put there by special interests and corporations that will hurt our community and put our families at risk. We all know how important family, community and the joy of life is to all of us. But politicians in Little Rock don't see it that way. By passing Issue 1 this November, they want to put a one-size-fits-all value on human life that eliminates our constitutional right to a citizen jury trial unencumbered by arbitrary regulations.

I'm voting NO on Issue 1 this November.

Furonda Brasfield

Little Rock

From the web

In response to the May 10 Arkansas Times cover story "Battling to retake Arkansas's 2nd Congressional District":

Those running for office in Arkansas as Democrats who argue that the opposing Democratic candidates are not progressive enough all have one thing in common: They're gonna lose. This is Arkansas. We were a very blue state for a very long time, but our Democrats tended to be to the right of a lot of Republican politicians on the West Coast or in the Northeast. It's always been a pretty conservative state, even when it was a blue state. California liberal types are never going to win here.

These people need to get real. Republicans dominate everything now, and if Democrats are going to make inroads they need candidates who will appeal to the majority of voters in their districts. A "Republican-light" lawmaker in the federal House or Senate is still going to vote with Democrats most of the time. In state or federal legislative bodies, they're still going to be sort of a check and balance against the other side, which completely dominates basically all three branches of the federal government and most states' governments and certainly our government here in Arkansas.


In response to Gene Lyons' May 10 column "Trump under oath? No.":

[Special counsel Robert] Mueller's report may be devastating to you or me, but it won't change the mind of [President Trump's] base. Assuming the report says Trump was laundering money from Russian oligarchs through purchases of various properties, his base and Fox News will just say he was a shrewd businessman who knew how to make a deal. Even our spineless Republican congressmen will find a way to rationalize Trump's crimes and will refuse to hold him accountable.

Bad Earl

You can fool some of the people all of the time.

I have zero interest in any testimony by President Trump not under oath.

I will not believe, without substantiation, anything he says under oath. Even with considerable supporting evidence, Trump saying something would diminish my expectation that the statements were correct.




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