Re "U.S. attorney shaken up by the shutdown" (Our Region, Oct. 11): It is difficult to single out the most troubling of U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner's comments concerning the government shutdown. Although the shutdown is inexcusable, I nevertheless am stunned that the prosecutor would claim that federal employee witnesses in criminal trials would not be required to appear because they were not being paid.
I was even more troubled by his comments that because "support staff" were not available to issue grand jury subpoenas or to produce discovery to defense counsel, those jobs would "go undone." As an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, I issued my own subpoenas and produced my own discovery. But more to the point, if prosecutors deemed essential are not doing this essential work, they are not only non-essential, they are not doing their jobs. Legitimate concerns about the shutdown's effects certainly exist, but Wagner's comments don't do them justice.
-- Nancy Luque, Carmichael