I’m not sure how prison sentences are determined but there must be some consideration that, in the scheme of things, there is a hierarchy of evil. For example, certain crimes warrant the death penalty because of “special circumstances.”
Former Mayor of Chicago, Rob Blagoyevich, recently got sentenced to 14 years for trying to sell President Obama’s Senate seat as well as other crimes. I understand that as an elected official, the public trust is paramount and the “People” in People vs. Blagoyevich means that the crimes he committed were, indeed, crimes against the People. And, if the judge wanted to make him an example that this type of behavior is not to be tolerated, I get it.
But I also think that crimes against a person are in a different class, with greater penalties being easily justified.
For example, back in 2005, Devon Weinstein, was sentenced to 21 years for deliberately breaking eleven bones, including the legs, of his girlfriend’s 7 month-old baby girl, in the presence of her 5-year old brother, because she cried during a Denver Broncos football game. She also suffered a separated left elbow and facial burns.
I have no idea what the sentencing parameters were for these crimes but, if I had anything to say about it, I would have given him life. He probably only got 21 years because he didn’t kill the baby – but not for lack of trying. But that’s just me.
But in November, his attorney made a motion to have his sentenced reduced for seven reasons: he was a model prisoner, he participated in the prison dodge-ball team, he maintained excellent behavior behind bars, the child has fully healed, his sentence wasn’t consistent with other cases, her mother got a lighter sentence and his own daughter submitted a letter on his behalf. To all this, I say big deal! (I actually said something a bit stronger but I’m trying to keep my composure while I’m writing this.)
I think any reasonable person would say, “On what planet would any of these reasons justify a sentence reduction for this guy?” I’ll tell you. Planet Hannen. That’s right. Arapahoe District Judge Mark Hannen, in Denver, agreed that the adjustment of Weinstein’s sentence was justified. He didn’t taken off the ten years this pig’s attorneys requested, but he did reduce his sentence by seven years, which means that Weinstein could be released as soon as next year but no later than 2019.
Here are a few other egregious examples of light sentences reported by Bill O’Reilly.
In Rhode Island, 18-year old Josh Maciorski was convicted of having sex with a 13-year old girl, but sentenced to probation. Two years later, he molested a 14-year old girl and served just one year. Then when he got out, Maciorski raped a 16-year old girl. His sentence after this third strike – an unbelievable three years in prison.
In Missouri, 19-year old Darrell Jackson received only four months in prison and five years probation after pleading guilty to repeatedly sexually abusing a little girl from the time she was eight.
In Minnesota, Joseph Duncan was accused of a molesting a little boy. Even though the judge knew he had served 16 years for raping another young boy at gunpoint, the judge released him on $15,000 bail. He promptly left the state, went to Idaho where he allegedly kidnapped, raped and killed a 9-year old boy, molested his sister and killed their family.
Perhaps if Jessica’s Law was in effect at the time of these crimes, things would’ve been different. Jessica’s Law was named in memory of Jessica Lunsford, who was abducted and sexually assaulted before being brutally murdered in Florida and mandates a minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison for first-time child sex offenders.
Yet, Idaho, Colorado (where Weinstein’s sentence was reduced),Illinois, Hawaii, Vermont and New Jersey, won’t pass Jessica’s Law.
I have to say that Rob Blagoyevich is a lovable scoundrel. It was amusing to watch his legal maneuverings and shenanigans and his adamant denials of any wrongdoing. Plus he had great hair. Yes, he violated his oath of office and yes, he should be punished. But, in my world, the sexual and physical abuse of the most vulnerable victims ranks far greater in terms of harm to our society.
I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.
Copyright © 2013 BernardGoldberg.com