The Des Moines Register
Saturday, May 25, 1996, Page 10A.

The Register's Readers Say

Trimble sentence a travesty of justice

     Is it any wonder that we continue to have a drug problem 
when the judges refuse to sentence the school drug officer to 
prison for illegal drug activity?  Is our judicial system 
committed to expanding drug usage by sentencing James Trimble to 
probation despite his visible position in the drug discouragement 
(supposedly) process?  What a terrible example this sets for our 
young people.
                                           - Murl 0. Black,
                                 1199 Fifth St., Lohrville.

     I've heard of diplomatic immunity, but I've never heard of 
police immunity.  You mean to tell me that what James Trimble did 
to the children of Urbandale by "not doing what he said" is not 
punishable by more than a $l,000 fine and 100 hours of community 
service?  Where will be do his community service - in the 
Urbandale schools?
     This man could have been made an example of for the children 
he deceived.  Now he is an example of what it means "to get away 
with it."
                                         - Lorraine Powell,
                                   211 Seventh St., Nevada.

     The next time any of us wonders why there is steady moral 
decay in our country, all we have to do is look back at Judge Leo 
Oxberger's decision in the case of ex-Urbandale Police Officer 
James Trimble.  This decision was a mockery of our system of 
     Not only did Trimble break numerous laws, he broke the 
public trust.  He worked with kids in an anti-drug campaign.  Now 
he has to do 100 hours of community service, again telling kids 
the "evils" of drug use.
     Judge Oxberger's decision further erodes the public trust.
                                              - Ron Nesbit,
                                  1816 79th St., Des Moines.

     The sentencing of James Trimble was such a travesty of 
     Judge Leo Oxberger said because Trimble was not on duty, he 
would sentence him as an average citizen.  Now, many "average" 
citizens are in prison for using illegal drugs, let alone being a 
police officer who stole drugs from the police department with 
the intent to use and sell (i.e. deal).
     The sentence Trimble received was just this side of nothing.  
The "average" law-abiding citizen works more than 100 hours in a 
two-week period making an honest living.  And, in this day and 
age, what is $1,000?
     What complete hypocrisy serving 100 hours of community 
service by going into schools and telling students that drugs are 
wrong.  Wasn't that Trimble's job at the time of his arrest?  No 
thank you; I don't want this man in the same town as my children, 
let alone going back into the schools to tell them using drugs is 
                                       - Cleoda M. Mikesch,
                               2419 Tomlin Ln., Des Moines.

     I was sickened and appalled over the sentencing of former 
Urbandale Police Officer James Trimble.
     How can such a sentencing be justified?  Would he have 
received such a sentence had he been a poor white or minority 
represented by a public defender?  What message does this 
sentencing send to the public about the importance of public 
trust, the abuse of drugs and hypocrisy?
     It is true, as stated by Judge Leo 0xberger, that the 
defendant has lost much.  But can you imagine the impact his 
crime had on the young people in Urbandale, the police department 
and the public's faith in the system as a whole?
     The judge's reasoning is warped and amazing.  If the 
president of a bank stole $5 million from the bank because of his 
position and the trust of the bank customers, should he receive 
the same sentencing as a person who attempts to pass a check at 
the bank?  I think not.
     It amazes me that members of the judiciary and other 
political persons want the citizens to believe that the system 
works the same for all people who are involved in it.  This is 
obviously not the case.
     Frankly, I am getting sick and tired of it all!  We need 
more responsible judges.
                                           - Lynne Harrell,
                                      4206 S.E. Fourth Ct.,
                                                Des Moines.