Peggy Sturdivant

At Large In Ballard: Swimming with the sharks

By Peggy Sturdivant

I warned Leslie Pierson during our phone interview that I might have to interrupt her when the ship captain blew the horn. Although I don’t know her address in East Ballard I probably had a better sense of her surroundings while we chatted than she did of mine.

I was sitting with my back to the captain’s bridge on a passenger-only ferry filled with tourists wearing identification lanyards. We were headed to the mainland from the island where the movie “Jaws” was filmed and it seemed appropriate to be interviewing someone about their successful appearance (and deal made) on “Shark Tank.”

There are a lot of shark references on Martha’s Vineyard, not because we have that many sharks, but it’s the name of our college league baseball team. My father has been known to repackage the film with the label “Home Movies.” Spielberg used many locals while filming and as teenagers we spent a whole summer trying to become extras.

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Our cowboy heroes never had  paying jobs

By Tim Robinson

Sometimes I think back to the old TV cowboy heroes and wonder what how they survived financially.

"Hi-Yo Silver..away!” called the Lone Ranger as Silver reared up on their way out of town. We know he and Tonto, a faithful Indian companion,thwarted bad guys across the American West. We suspect they camped out each night. We never saw them get a hotel room.
Wikipedia claims the Lone Ranger (John Reid) was one of six Texas Rangers attacked in an ambush with John Reid, the only survivor. Tonto, a childhood friend of Reid, finds him near death and nurses him back to health. 
Together they ride from town to town doling out justice as necessary. The trademark silver bullets are all the town folk learn about the masked man and his trusted partner. 
We never saw them eat dinner, take a nap or even sip a glass of whiskey. The creed of the Lone Ranger was a moral code for youngsters. Never use poor language, never drink, never smoke, always have a clean, pressed outfit and leave behind a silver bullet as a symbol of your code. 

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Amanda's View: International Wrongful Conviction Day

By Amanda Knox

International Wrongful Conviction Day celebrates its third anniversary on Tuesday, October 4th. In honor of that, here’s a layman’s crash course in the causes of wrongful conviction, and a brief introduction to the Innocence Movement.

The Causes
Wrongful convictions are not some weird anomaly. Studies estimate that between 2.3 and 5% of people currently incarcerated are actually innocent. The causes of wrongful conviction are well-documented and stem from systemic problems. They are:

1) Inadequate defense
It would be nice if the simple fact of your innocence were enough to protect you from having to face criminal charges. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Time and again, innocent people are forced to stand trial, and their futures depend not so much on the fact of their innocence as on how well their lawyers make a case for their innocence. When an overworked or incompetent lawyer fails to make the case, an innocent person will be wrongfully convicted.

2) Invalid forensic evidence

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