Letters

Haute Bourgeois Whiner
So ex-assistant district attorney and former cokehead Kristen Pain believes she was treated "unfairly," singled out, as it were, by a vengeful prosecutor ["Pain for the Prosecution," by Steve McVicker, June 25]. "Most people" who are convicted in similar cases don't draw jail time, she whines.

Let's see: Ms. Pain got 45 days safely tucked away from the general hoosegowed population, 600 hours of community service (an opportunity to darken her tan, tone her shape and subtly market her clearly effective body-building skills) and deferred adjudication.

I agree with her. She damn sure was unfairly treated. Any member of the district attorney's office caught snorting cocaine (regardless how pert the snorter) should have spent her jail time with the folks she'd sent there. The State Bar ought to yank her license. Just for good measure, Johnny Holmes might drop by her house twice a day for a year or two and apply a swift kick to her well-honed buttocks.

Shame on you, Ms. Pain, for your haute bourgeois whining. Shame on you for judging others harshly who behaved no differently than yourself. What you don't understand even now is that yours was a special case and it shouldn't have been handled like anybody else's. You are not just anybody else. You voluntarily applied a higher standard to yourself when you took every advantage that your suburban, respectable, college-educated life offered. You made yourself a public servant, and you demanded all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto: prestige, power, professionalism and parking places near the courthouse. Now you want standard treatment.

No ma'am. It doesn't work that way. For every advantage we get there's a price to pay. Conquer the air and birds lose their mystery. The charm of distance fades as the exotic becomes commonplace. Those among us who want to ride in big black cars with flags on the fenders have their private lives made public. Officers of the court who flout the law suffer consequences more stringent than the standard-issue criminal. It seems altogether fair to me.

Chris Drake
Houston

He Can't Feel Her Pain, Either
Kristen Pain needs a reality check. There is a very good reason why the law should treat her differently for a first-time cocaine use charge: She was an officer of the court! That makes all the difference in the world. An ordinary citizen should normally not be held to the same high standards expected of those granted such an honorable and prestigious place within our democratic legal structure. Considering the outrageousness of her betrayal, the punishment is far too lenient!

I do not consider myself a self-righteous prig who is sinless and without faults. Nonetheless, there are certain levels of transgression which demand complete and unhesitating social condemnation. Ms. Pain must immediately cease her self-perception as a victim and confront the cold and harsh awfulness of her crime.

I do hope Ms. Pain once again practices law. She still has much to offer her fellow citizens, and forgiveness and reconciliation will eventually be an appropriate action. Ms. Pain currently, however, must have her license suspended -- and she has indeed burned her bridges regarding future employment as a prosecutor. Nonetheless, I believe she should eventually resume her profession in the private sector. But this can only occur after Ms. Pain receives further punishment and also recognizes how seriously she has forsaken the dignity of our American legal system.

David Thomson
Houston

Walkin' the Dog
According to "Pain for the Prosecution," we're a bunch of self-righteous, pampered, spoiled, narcissistic, delusional brats over at the district attorney's office. Too bad the truth is actually a little more boring than the tired cliche painted by the article. Otherwise, I'm sure your journalist would have bothered to talk to a few assistant district attorneys so that the whole boring truth could come out, rather than allowing Kristen Pain's uniquely twisted perspective to be the only word presented on what life as a prosecutor is really like.

Here's the boring, untold story: I worked at the D.A.'s office as a prosecutor for about a year, handling misdemeanor cases. I worked 50- to 60-hour weeks without overtime for a salary typical of county employees. I efficiently (and cheerfully!) handled a docket of hundreds of cases, dealt with hostile officers, complainants ranging from the abusive to the apathetic to the simply dishonest and stress that has wrecked more than a few marriages, not to mention personal health. At the end of the day, most assistant district attorneys pick up their kids, go home to spouses, go work out, go to school or (in my case) take their dog to the park.

Thank you for making a thankless job even more so. Luckily for me, I found satisfaction in knowing that one more DWI offender or one more lousy wife-beater was held accountable for what they did because I was there to tell a jury about it. I keep maintaining an optimism that somewhere there is a newspaper that will print the truth of a matter, no matter how complex and paradoxical (as the truth often is), or how simple and boring. But then I guess I'm just delusional in my optimism.

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