Update: The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is currently featuring links to this entry on their homepage.
In light of the recent unconscionable ruling of Judge John True (which released the woman who killed Matthew with less than a slap on the wrist), a letter-writing campaign has been started to call for True’s resignation. The name of the driver is witheld in the following letter for reasons of legal prudence. John Shiurba writes :
Yes, it’s time to get the letter writing campaign under way. I have written a letter, which anyone is free to use as model, but I think if we all write in our own words, the impact will be stronger.
Here is a copy of my letter, with the defendants name and my address deleted. Feel free to circulate this in any way you see fit. I would urge anyone writing letters to be careful not to engage in libel. The following letter represents the opinion of its author and nothing more.
Judge John True
Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse
661 Washington Street,
Oakland, CA 94607
Dear Judge True,
I am writing to express my outrage over your indefensible ruling in the case of XXXXX, who killed Matthew Sperry while illegally driving a borrowed car. There’s no hiding behind “the law” in this case, your decision was clearly wrong, and frankly nothing less than morally reprehensible. I don’t understand all the “ins & outs” of the legalese, but I do understand that even though the DA was technically unable to charge XXXXX with anything more than a misdemeanor, as judge you had latitude to decide whether the charge would remain as a crime, or be reduced to an infraction thereby reducing the sentence to a mere fine. Under special circumstances someone in this position could get a jail sentence and probation, and as the DA put it to us, it’s hard to imagine what would qualify as “special circumstances” if not these.
I know that you were within your “legal” authority to make the decision that you made, and I write you now not to question that legal authority, but rather to express my anger and frustration that someone in your position could display such a lack of moral character, and such disregard for the decency that characterizes our community. You may be a judge, but your judgment is very poor. I do not make any claim to a full understanding the complexity of the moral fabric of our community, and hence I have no aspirations to serve as a judge. But I will say without a doubt that you, sir, have exhibited a clear misunderstanding of what our community is all about. You have also have sent a clear message to bicyclists everywhere– watch out, because you have no rights! Stay off the streets, because anyone, even someone with no right to drive a car can get behind the wheel of a borrowed car and mow you down with impunity. As long as they do it on the backstreets where no one sees, there’s a judge who will let them walk, and that judge’s name is John True.
I would like to stand up in memory of Matthew Sperry and call for your resignation.
In the coming weeks and months, I hope that you will be inundated by letters such as my own. Should you elect not to resign, I can assure you that I will join with many others from our community and beyond, to convince voters that you are not fit to serve as judge.
[Your Name and Address]