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Editorial: Throw away the key

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Unless he screws up in prison, confessed serial rapist Edwin Feliciano will walk out of prison at the age of 48. At that time, there is every reason to fear he will rape again. Feliciano is a three-time loser and, if justice had prevailed, he would die in prison.

Feliciano is the embodiment of all that is wrong with a criminal justice system that places expedience in front of public safety. Had he been convicted at a trial, he would have almost certainly been sentenced to life behind bars.

Feliciano confessed to brutally raping three Asian-American women, between the ages of 24 to 37 in the lobbies or elevators of their buildings. If they are lucky, it will take years of counseling for these women to get over this terrifying and degrading experience. Chances are they will be emotionally damaged for life.

The monster who did this served an 18-month sentence for assault and attempted rape in the early 1990s. In July 2000, Feliciano was released from prison after serving five years for transporting narcotics into the United States. He was on parole when he committed the eight felonies that he pleaded guilty to last week.

Something is wrong with any system that gives this creep another chance to rape again. If the district attorney did not use plea bargains, the justice system in Queens County would grind to a halt. But the district attorney has to draw the line. There are some criminals so vile, so dangerous and so resistant to rehabilitation that society should feel compelled to keep them away from decent citizens. From all that we know about 31-year-old Edwin Feliciano, he is one of those people.

Perhaps there will be a day when criminal science will uncover an effective means of dealing with violent sexual offenders. Until that day, the district attorney should do everything possible to keep the Edwin Felicianos of this world off the streets forever.

Editorial: Back to the future

We have been taken to the woodshed.

Last week in an irate letter, John Watts, the former chief of staff to former Councilwoman Julia Harrison (D-Flushing), took issue with an editorial which supported a call by newly elected Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) to create a plan for the development of downtown Flushing.

Mr. Watts is miffed that we didn’t note that his former boss had a master plan for Flushing. “Do you have an archive?” he asked.

He’s right. We were impressed with the Flushing master plan and we should have mentioned it in both the original news story and in the subsequent editorial. He’s also right that we should have looked for this plan in the archives of the Flushing Times because sadly, as far as we can tell, that’s as far as it ever got.

Most intriguing in Watts’ letter was the comment that “greenhorn politicians are bound to make idiotic statements.” His boss was no “greenhorn,” but she was more than capable of making "idiotic" statements. Although she represented a district heavily populated by Chinese- and Korea-Americans, Harrison frequently made comments that were intolerant and disrespectful to the Asian community.

Rather than seeking to heal a district with a growing divide between older white residents and incoming Asians, Harrison often fanned the flames of prejudice.

Watts is wrong to ridicule the new councilman. If he cannot be helpful, then Watts should get out of the way.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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