The San­ders suit

Austin American-Statesman - - OPINION -

Re: July 21 ar­ti­cle “Coun­cil, lawyers had dis­cussed suit deal.”

I be­lieve the pro­posed law­suit set­tle­ment of $750,000 with Nathaniel San­ders’ fam­ily sends the wrong mes­sage. A set­tle­ment of that mag­ni­tude is an im­plicit ad­mis­sion that there was fault. The city would be dis­re­gard­ing the con­clu­sions reached by the grand jury, the in­ter­nal af­fairs di­vi­sion and the Austin cit­i­zens re­view panel, and, in­stead, re­ly­ing upon the find­ings of the in­de­pen­dent re­view panel.

By agree­ing to such a large set­tle­ment, the city would be sub­sti­tut­ing it­self for the jury and uni­lat­er­ally con­vict­ing the Po­lice Depart­ment in­stead of de­fend­ing it through the jury sys­tem. The city should stand be­hind the Po­lice Depart­ment and let a jury make its own de­ci­sion af­ter re­view­ing all the ev­i­dence and ar­gu­ments.

Even if it loses at trial, the city will have shown con­fi­dence in its Po­lice Depart­ment as well as the grand jury sys­tem, the in­ter­nal af­fairs di­vi­sion and the cit­i­zens re­view panel.

Rich Villa


I agree with Mayor Lee Leff­in­g­well. Why make a set­tle­ment?

It is al­ways a shame when some­one dies, but enough is enough. Af­ter all of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, it ap­pears as if all have been ex­on­er­ated.

As for set­tle­ments, let me tell you how the City of Austin’s le­gal depart­ment op­er­ates. While em­ployed by the City of Austin in the Pub­lic Works Depart­ment, I rep­re­sented the con­struc­tion in­spec­tion di­vi­sion as li­ai­son to the law depart­ment for suits brought by var­i­ous contractors. The at­tor­ney I had to work with was called “Half-and-Half Jones” (not his/her real name) be­cause he/she al­ways wanted to set­tle for half of what the city was sued for.

As she/he said: “Well, it will cost us that much any­way” — no mat­ter how good our cause was against the con­trac­tor. It seems as if the at­ti­tude in the law depart­ment hasn’t changed much.

Good luck, mayor. leo o. Mueller JR.


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