To the editor:

Wrongfully convicted or not, your story on Rolando Cruz [November 13] fails to acquit him of perhaps the only crime of which he is guilty, being patently uninteresting. Jeffrey Felshman’s attempted paean reveals instead a simplistic, macho dope given to referring to himself in the third person, posing fathoms-deep, eternal questions such as “Whassup, man?” and who takes obvious adolescent pride in recounting his dreary little barroom showdowns with off-duty prison guards. Ho hum. The idea of this oversize hunk of beef jerky getting paid to deliver “lectures” to government officials and law students has to it an absurdist quality worthy of Edward Albee. In short, he’s about as charismatic as certain garden vegetables I could name; the kind of guy you wouldn’t even want to share an elevator ride with were he not the “cause celebre” of overturned convictions (and oh-so-much more photogenic than his erstwhile partner, Hernandez). Still, as any ambitious journalism school grad can tell you, every resident of death row is necessarily innocent by virtue of the fact that–he’s on death row! Personally, I would have been more interested in some low-down death row gossip: “Was John Gacy a good neighbor?,” “Did he snore?,” that kind of thing. As for Larry Marshall and his tireless quest for justice, I have nothing but praise. One just has to believe that crowding 35 former death row inmates onto the dais at a ritzy downtown law school will once and for all expurgate the law enforcement community of the undesirable elements responsible for those wrongful convictions, namely greed, ambition, self-righteousness, sloppiness, et al. Coincidentally, though the media has curiously afforded us scant attention, the organization to which I belong will be holding its national convention this week, with similar aims. We, the Unabashed Foes of the Common Cold (all wrongful sufferers are welcome!) will be convening in an all-out effort to bring about the downfall of, among other things, coughing, sneezing, sore throats, runny noses, etc.

David J. Kemper