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Letters to the editor

Views on a Jim Braude column, a must-do bit of home maintenance, and a touching love story.

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Perhaps I am mistaken, but I am fairly sure that within a courtroom it is the job of a jury and judge to do . . . well, the judging. Jim Braude’s claim (Perspective, August 4) that “we want to judge for ourselves” is true. And throughout American history, Americans have “judged” for themselves. The victims of this breed of extrajudicial justice include Leo Frank, Thomas Shipp, Abram Smith, and countless others. Exacting some form of discretion in federal trials allows for due process while avoiding the element of public spectacle that characterizes almost every instance in history in which the public has taken the law into its own hands. I would hope that even for the most despicable criminals, the law, and not a mob, would decide their fate. Perhaps, for the sake of a fair trial, we might content ourselves with sketches and summaries.

Arielle Vishny

Canton

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As a lawyer, I agree with Braude’s assessment that the public should have full access to courtroom proceedings. He makes an excellent point that justice continues to be served in camera-friendly state courts. The courts, funded by the public and for the public welfare, should be as open to that same public as other branches of government.

Sheila S. Cunningham

Norton

Braude gets it right. As much as I look forward to an insightful Sebastian Smee piece on the long-suffering courtroom artist and her Rorschach-test interpretations, it’s about time taxpayers see for themselves what actually transpires. Heinous crimes are often committed when no one is looking. A trial should be just the opposite. Let us hear and see what jurors hear and see. Let us get a smidgen of insight as to how evil works. Let us watch the public servants who do humbly serve. Let us bear witness to the suffering of the survivors and remember that this ain’t no episode of Perry Mason. This is real life with real anguish and real trauma. To me, there’s only one way cameras can turn a courtroom into a three-ring circus . . . and that’s if the judge is a clown. The public has a right to see that, too.

Ellen DeGenova

Cambridge

ADD IT TO THE TO-DO LIST

I would add this to the list of maintenance to ignore at your peril [“34 Home Maintenance Myths,” August 4]: keeping your shut-off valves functional. Turn the shut-off valves for toilets, sinks, washing machines, etc., at least once a year to ensure they will actually work when you need to make repairs.

aburgman

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posted at bostonglobe.com

Yes, and the main shut-off at the water meter. Good to know where it is. If it has not been turned for eons, have it replaced before you try and turn it. I call it the Panic Valve.

TellyFour

posted at bostonglobe.com

DEVOTION

I was moved to tears when I read Shuo Zhuang’s essay “The Couple Next Door” (Connections, July 28). Walking my dog around the neighborhood the other day made me realize that after living here 18 years, there have been so many changes on my street — births, deaths, and dear neighbors moving away. I could relate to the story on so many levels because I am becoming Bob and his wife.

Donna Ferguson

Canton

I’ll have been married 35 years this November, and Zhuang’s prose reminds me of the day I wed my wife, Lorraine. And Bob reminds me how beautiful a relationship can be. To me, Bob is a hero and role model to emulate.

Jim O’Neil

Bridgewater

I kept anticipating poignant reflections of the writer’s visits through the years to the older couple’s house, but read of their offer to baby-sit, his plowing of her driveway, the writer’s watching the tragic decline of Rita. Surely this can’t be the whole story. I hope to read another Globe reflection about what her family did for them and restore my trust in the willingness to reach out to our neighbors as they become more fragile.

Maureen Saldarini

Newton

COMMENTS? Write to magazine@globe.com or The Boston Globe Magazine/Comments, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.

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