I disagree with the Dec. 5 editorial "Mr. Minnick and Miranda." It contributes to a mocking mirage of justice and misconstrues the constitutional balance between rights and responsibilities. How many times does an escaped convict deserve to be reminded that he doesn't have to answer questions?

Justice Anthony Kennedy and the Supreme Court majority widened a loophole for convicts like Robert Minnick to escape punishment. The ruling, which The Post supports, also contributes to and encourages the lack of discipline and accountability in our society. The trial by a jury of peers and prosecution's burden to show proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt are more than sufficient rights for the accused, especially when compared to the rights of victims.

Part of the solution to our criminal justice crisis and budget deficit is simple: reduce the cost to taxpayers and law-abiding citizens and increase the criminal's cost. Simply put, make it so one voluntarily waives a right to silence when one speaks. After police read an accused man his Miranda rights once, why should they have to keep reminding him why he is in custody and what his rights are?

I agree with Justice Antonin Scalia that the Minnick decision creates "a veritable fairyland castle of imagined constitutional restriction." The restriction is on law-abiding citizens and, worse, on the innocent victims -- in this case, the two murder victims and their families. WALT VIGLIENZONE Washington

George Will's Dec. 9 op-ed column "Scalia's Dissent" missed the relevant issue by a country mile. His focusing only on the widening of the right of criminal suspects to counsel is like sharpening one blade of a pair of scissors. The most important issue is what effect the ruling will have on the innocent who are caught up in the criminal system.

The criminal suspect who is guilty knows ahead of time what to say to avoid incriminating himself and perhaps to throw blame on someone else. On the other hand, an innocent suspect is like a blindfolded person walking through a mine field. An innocent person does not know the details of the crime and may unwittingly say something that will hang him.

In other words, the guilty person has a tactical advantage over the innocent person when being interrogated/investigated by the police. The brilliance of the Miranda decision is that it changed this unbalance.

The fact that our justice system is mostly fair and just puts a terrible burden on the innocent person who has been accused of a crime. Once a person is brought in for questioning most people assume that is the proof of guilt. The importance of the recent Minnick decision is that it offers further protection of the innocent against a miscarriage of justice.

L. DOUGLAS BALLARD Gaithersburg