The Feb 21 editorial "DMX's busy schedule" was short on facts, logic and civic understanding. It is not true that DMX was "supposed to start serving his sentence last May." Service of his sentence was stayed while it was being appealed as harsh and arbitrary.
It was DMX's right to appeal that sentence. It was his right to challenge the practice of getting motorists to give up their right to appeal as part of their guilty plea, without warning them that in so doing they would also lose the right to challenge an excessive and harsh sentence.
DMX had no way to plan for when his appeal would be decided, and therefore when, if at all, he might have to serve that sentence. It turned out to be nine months later, not "a year's time." But this is what The News calls "skirting the law long enough." So much for legal rights.
Rather than acknowledge that DMX was treated with unusual harshness, despite his "rap" sheet of four past citations, The News cries that DMX's failure to immediately start his 15-day jail term is a "mockery of the judicial system," which retroactively excuses the excessiveness of the sentence imposed last May. Harsh sentence first, then see if the citizen later does something to deserve it.
A mature legal system cannot be threatened by any individual litigant, even one who is obstinate or insolent. Here, DMX's choice to fulfill his contractual obligations to Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures make him neither.
While many people could have been seriously damaged financially had DMX failed to meet these obligations, no one can articulate any legitimate stake the "judicial system" has in whether he starts his 15-day sentence last week or next week.
The News is not interested in whether the "warrant" issued by the town justice is illegal, or that unequal treatment of African-Americans is pervasive in certain town courts. No "mockery" there, I guess. Details like this may be too much to bother with. But what excuse is there for prodding the district attorney to "seek appropriate punishment," on top of the already harsh jail sentence, when DMX surrenders?
The only real "mockery of the judicial system" is by officials who use it as a vehicle for their personal gratification. That is the greater danger, with which we all should be far more concerned.
MARK J. MAHONEY
Attorney representing DMX