Posted by: thescoundrel | May 24, 2008

Scales of Justice Should Be Blind not Oblivious

When you read trial results you often have to shake your head about the often seemingly imbalanced judicial sentencing for crimes. I am not thinking Bell Curve high sentencing cases where you might possibly get life in Folsom for stealing a donut or the Bell Curve lows, where unless you are stupid enough to have murdered some notable figure, the judge and jury will probably just pat you on the head – say bad boy don’t do it again – then hand you a Starbucks Latte Grande – a double scoop of your favorite Ben & Jerrys ice cream – a winning lottery ticket trip to Florida, a list of fashionable golf courses and point you towards the door that leads to freedom. Those are headscratchers but they are also anomalies. No the cases I am thinking of are a little closer to home and more centrally located in the crime and punishment curve.

Case one in Davenport Iowa. A still young twenty-nine year old man that has a long criminal history (I have read as high as 60 counts) including a murder in 1993 -at the age of 😯 14 😯 – where he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison gets sentenced recently to a now infamous sentence of getting churched-up for what is just one of several more violent criminal events he has been embroiled in since his release.

Case number two in Sioux City. In what is a case of four teenagers calling in a phony pizza order then assaulting the pizza delivery driver, stealing the pizza and attempting to make away with the drivers money: two of the teens involved have been sentenced to ten years in prison for the event. My searches for information on the story have yielded little crucial information. So it is difficult to weigh the balance of justice served in this case, as the most informative of the stories I could find did not elaborate on past criminal activity by those involved, the severity of the attack on the driver, if there were weapons involved or even the total amount of the goods and cash stolen. I think ten years might be a little harsh, though not too awfully harsh, since the action was clearly premeditated.

I am not claiming that I know what the proper amount of punishment any of the individuals deserve. What I am saying is that there should be a balance in sentencing that is fair, justifiable and understandable. If you compare the two cases you have to wonder how someone, such as the individual in case one, with a clear violent history could walk away with basically a series of continuous slaps on the hands while the other two teens involved in case number two are looking at serious time. I am not saying that the individuals in case two are being overly punished. No, it is hard to say just how harshly they should have been punished. But the facts that they planned and executed a plan to accost and rob an individual points that they need more than a hand slap. Sadly the punishment is not likely to teach them any real lesson as our penal systems are designed to make master criminals out of petty criminals. I am saying I do not understand the leniency being shown towards the individual in case number one. When you consider the breaks the individual in case one has been receiving after being involved in a long series of violent criminal activities and compare them to the second case it makes you wonder – why the difference in treatment? In comparing these two cases I do not see any balance of justice. I also understand that the scales of justice are supposed to be blind, but that does not mean she is supposed to be oblivious to the evil that surrounds her.



  1. I just found your blog. I really like your array of topics. Keep up the good work.

  2. We wondered about also. And if blacks only make up 2% of Iowa’s population, we can’t understand why they make up 25% of our prison population. Especially if they’re all inocent. Our impression is that nobody is being held accountable for their actions anymore. The system is broke and needs to be fixed.

  3. Cruiser I think the problem is a general failure our our penal system. They fail to rehabilitate and they fail to punish. In the end all they mange to do is create mostly thugs and a few superstar criminals.

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