Editorial roundup

• Akron Beacon Journal, Oct. 15

Since entering the Oval Office, President Trump twice certified that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Last week, he declared he would not do so again. What changed? Evidently, the president no longer could accept the gap between certification and his denunciations of the deal on the campaign trail and recently at the United Nations. …

Listen to the president, and the suggestion surfaces that somehow Iran has been paid to join the agreement. Actually, the exchange goes: Iran shuts down its nuclear program, and in return gains access to its own assets long frozen as part of the international pressure applied to bring its negotiators to the table.

Iran already has regained a significant share of its assets. If the president gets his way in scrapping the deal, Iran would have its money without having to meet the nuclear terms. Now that would be one-sided.

Germany, Britain and France responded as one to the president’s choice, citing at the top the growing isolation of the United States. The president has harmed the country’s trustworthiness, the move embarrassingly and dangerously at odds with reality, diminishing American influence and thus power. Consider the conclusions North Korea is invited to draw. Why enter negotiations and reach an agreement if the Americans are not willing to keep their word?

Online: http://bit.ly/2hKZ5lN


• The Canton Repository, Oct. 12

… For many years, Ohioans have been allowed to purchase fireworks in this state but, legally, could not set them off here. Until a couple of years ago, purchasers in Ohio were required to sign a form stating the fireworks would be transported across state lines.

Sign here. Wink, wink. …

The state has moved a step closer to eliminating the need for pretense.

Under a bill the Ohio House approved with a 77-12 vote, shooting off fireworks in Ohio would become fully legal — just in time for July 4, 2020 celebrations. …

Rep. John Boccieri, D-Poland, said the legislation “takes a sensible approach in moving cautiously toward the legalization of a recognizable part of American culture.”

“Let’s not kid ourselves,” he said in a statement his office released, “many Ohioans already buy and set off fireworks around their neighborhoods on the Fourth of July. By making fireworks legal, we are allowing the legislature to establish best practices for their use to ensure that we prioritize safety and minimize accidents.”

Making fireworks legal does not make them any safer, as this Editorial Board wrote in June when the legislation was proposed, stating: “Regardless of what the law says now or in the future, we urge all of our neighbors to exercise proper safety precautions if using any form of fireworks. Better yet, when in doubt, leave it up to the professionals.”

Online: http://bit.ly/2gLeAuF


• The (Findlay) Courier, Oct. 11

Criminal defendants have certain rights under the Ohio Constitution, some dating to 1851. Victims do, too, but not so many, and none for as long.

Those who commit crimes have a right to a speedy trial, bail, counsel, and to confront witnesses face to face. They are also protected from having to take the witness stand themselves, from cruel and unusual punishment, and from being prosecuted for the same crime twice.

The rights of victims, on the other hand, were contained in a single amendment to the state Constitution in 1994.

It reads: “Victims of criminal offenses shall be accorded fairness, dignity, and respect in the criminal justice process, and, as the general assembly shall define and provide by law, shall be accorded rights to reasonable and appropriate notice, information, access, and protection and to a meaningful role in the criminal justice process.”

Victims’ rights, however, would be strengthened if Ohio voters approve Issue 1, also known as Marsy’s Law, on Nov. 7. …

Under the amendment, crime victims would have the right to be notified of all proceedings and are guaranteed the right to be heard at every step of the process. They would have a right to provide input on plea deals for offenders, and the right of refusal when it comes to being interviewed by the defense for a deposition or other pretrial matters. …

Criminal justice already carries a high price tag, but neither the accused nor victims should ever be shortchanged in the system. It’s time for Ohio to join others in recognizing that victims deserve to have full protections under the law.

Online: http://bit.ly/2ztUpcr