Sunday, December 25, 2011

American Justice II

A Merry Christmas for one guy, a lump of coal for the other.
This is from the Dec 21, 2011 edition of Midweek, in a syndicated column called Weird News, by Chuck Shepherd. I have reproduced it verbatim.
Criminal Justice?: Daniel Vilca, 26, was ordered to prison for the rest of his life (without possibility of parole) following his conviction in Naples, Fla., for having pornographic photos of children on his computer. He had no previous criminal record nor was there any evidence of contact with children. The judge computed the sentence by multiplying a five-year term by 545 photos police found...A week earlier, a judge in Dayton, Ohio, sentenced former CEO Michael Peppel, 44, for defrauding his shareholders by overstating revenue in a company that went on to lose $298 million and cost 1,300 employees their jobs. Sentencing guidelines recommended an eight- to 10-year term, but federal judge Sandra Beckwith ordered Peppel to jail for seven days.
Peppel also received a $5 million fine, the levying of which seems to be the preferred approach when the wealthy are convicted. More on his story here.

The United States has an overtly class-based system of justice. It is the poor, the powerless, and the disadvantaged who are prosecuted in the first place, face high conviction rates, and serve disproportionately long jail sentences.

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