1. On one of his last Talk to the Mayor programs, Mayor Bookmeyer said the loudest noise is often made by the person who doesn't know the facts.

2. People who were not present at the Symonds sentencing don't know the facts. I do as I was there.

3. People in attendance know the Judge relied upon the contents of the pre-sentence report prepared by the Department of Corrections, which was also used by the prosecution and by the defense, who asked for, but did not receive, a deferred judgment.

4. People in attendance saw the victim impact statement given by the victim's father.

5. People in attendance heard the explanation of the Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown for the appropriateness of an Alford plea in this case.

6. An Alford plea allows the defendant to admit that if the case went to trial, the State would be able to prove the offense charged, which is often a lesser included offense. The use of the Alford plea allows the prosecutor to avoid bringing the family of the victim through at least one set of depositions and through a full blown trial, and allows the prosecutor to often achieve much the same result as to sentencing. Most families appreciate not having to relive the trauma all over again at depositions and trial.

Robert S. Swanson, Mason City