The Des Moines Register
Thursday, July 4, 1996, Page 8A.


The Register's Readers Say

A stiffer sentence than James Trimble's

     I am writing in regard to the case of former Urbandale Police Officer
James Trimble, and the differences in the state and federal systems.
     In June 1992, I was arrested in Iowa in possession of 188 grams of
methamphetamines, a little less that Mr. Trimble.  I am also a first-time
drug offender.
     Unlike Mr. Trimble though, the feds decided to take my case.  Because
of that I am currently serving a 13-year sentence in a federal prison.
     My co-defendant is serving 29 years for the same thing because he had a
prior record.
     I am not denying my guilt or that fact that I deserve punishment.  I
have served 3 1/2 years on my sentence, and have no possible chance of
parole, unless there are changes in the laws and the way the system works.
     This time has made me come to terms with the life I was leading and I
am not the same person I was four years ago.  But I don't have the chance to
prove that.
     I have been taking college courses and would like to work as a
rehabilitation therapist when I get out, but I have to wait a long time for
that opportunity.
     So what decides that Mr. Trimble's case stays in the state system and
other's, like mine and so many others, goes federal?  And who was it who
said, "and justice for all"?
     The federal sentencing guidelines are very unreasonable and need to be
                                                     -- Deborah Benson
                                                  Box 6000, Pekin, Ill.



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