Letter to editor: Justice center comments beg response

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To the editor:

Given the quote of Andy Mallon in the May 29-June 11, 2019, Indiana Lawyer addressing the contamination that has soaked the property of the proposed Marion County courthouse/jail project, a response is required. In asserting that the pending report is an “absolute validation” of everything that has been done so far, Mr. Mallon proceeds to make the incredible statement that a “handful of judges are really looking at it from the perspective of ignorance. They don’t understand what has been done on the project … nor have they paid attention to all we’ve done on remediation.”

Quite frankly, Mr. Mallon’s comments that certain judges opposing the project are simply ignorant of the facts disqualifies him from any standing in arguing for the completion of this project. Not only should all judges be demanding an immediate apology, but he should be removed from any future involvement.

But the problem doesn’t stop there. As many of you know, Mallon also serves as a member of the Marion County Judicial Selection Committee, which will determine who is able to run for election in 2020. His comments bear the ugly suggestion that if you continue to oppose the mayor’s proposal based on your ignorance, then he can play a role concerning those that have to run again for election next year. Like it or not, fairness requires that Mr. Mallon immediately resign from his position on that committee before anyone is called to listen to another word that he has to say in this matter.

It is clear that this project has been given a quick validation without little people like average lawyers, probation officers, court staff and police officers being involved in helping to make a final decision. For example, if Mr. Mallon suggests that the remedial program that he is now sponsoring solves any health concerns, then would he suggest that the mayor’s office is relocated on this spot? Would he encourage a small sports complex to be set up for kids to play soccer and Little League baseball? Is he proposing an outdoor facility where kids visiting inmates can play outdoors? Furthermore, have Mr. Mallon say that he would gladly locate his office in that location. If Mr. Mallon agrees that his experts have concluded that this location could not be used for residential property, then how could it possibly be used for a courthouse and jail?

Let me close with what I consider a determining factor in this case. When Mr. Mallon wants us all to believe that his remedial project will make everything environmentally safe for anyone working in the new jail and courthouse, then let him address the fact that the Marion County Sheriff’s Office was told in response to its proposal that it wanted inmates to be able to grow a vegetable garden, “Well, they can grow it, but they can’t eat it.” If everything done on this land is supposed to make people safe, then why can’t inmates eat what they grow?

As a movie fan, I have just begun watching the HBO series on Chernobyl, the explosion of the nuclear facility in the Soviet Union that killed many civilians. In the first episode, you see a government official stating that all citizens should be told that they are safe and should remain in their present locations. He responded by saying that they are to be told to trust the State.

Isn’t Mr. Mallon taking that same position?•

Bob Hammerle,

Criminal defense attorney

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