The Hierarchy of Evil

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.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • Mike Jackson

    Sometimes a life sentence just doesn’t seem fair enough nor long enough.

  • Ken Hansen

    Personally I’m against most “minimum sentence” laws because they:

    a) Removes the ability of the judge to inject some common sense based on extenuating circumstances (for example when a 15 year old girl sends her 15 year old boyfriend a naked picture of herself, and he passes it to a friend, is that really worth a couple kids being on the Sexual Offender list for LIFE?).

    b) Based on the convoluted mess our legal system is, these “requirements” open the door for what I’ll call a “calculation appeal” wherein the criminal argues that his sentence isn’t consistent with others imposed for similar crimes (one of the seven reasons the fellow’s 21 year sentece was reduced).

    c) It injects politics into the criminal justice system – politicians looking to score points with inner-city voters imposed extremely harsh minimum sentencing guidelines for crimes involving crack cocaine, thinking that would stop the spread of crack – instead it wound up taking a disproportionate number of inner-city youths off the street and putting them in jail for sentences that are in some cases multiples of the sentence they would have received had they had an equal amount of ‘regular’ cocaine in their posession when they were arrested, not ‘crack cocaine’.

    Sentencing guidelines box in the judges, and frequently have unintended consequences – is a Boy Scout that brings a pocket knife to school really the same as a gang banger with a switchblade? Under so-called zero-tolerence laws in many states, they are considered exactly the same as far as the minimum sentencing guidelines are concerned.

  • anna zachariah

    You expressed my sentiment. It’s something I’ve often said. Gov Blago was a trip; it was only money. – I knew a town clerk who said if a family member molests a child, & it’s only once, there should be no penalty. -Imagine that type of thinking! -Once is far too often! Once destroys a child.

  • Shirl

    Bleeding heart liberalism. Our children are our most valuable treasures. Check out the location of the states and the people who live there. Obvious they don’t care enough in Illinois, Hawaii, Vermont and New Jersey about their children to protect them because their hearts bleeds for the purpetrator vs the victims. Shame on these states for putting politics above all.

  • Ron F

    Luckily I believe these are the exceptions, not what happens with most sentencing. It would be interesting to know if the sentences were within the guidelines or just some out of control judges. Hopefully, more states will look at longer mandatory miniumum sentencing laws

    • anna zachariah

      Not exceptions, the rule. One judge wouldn’t sentence a guy to jail because “he’s too small.”

      • Ron F

        The fact that the sentence was newsworthy indicates that it is the exception. We do not hear about the sentences given to the vast majority of criminal defendants.

  • Peter Alex

    I’ve always noted that crimes involving money, the hammer really comes down. ‘Other’ crimes seem to go as you describe. Go figure.