Day 221 Question 221:
Is our justice system fair?
Yesterday there was a headline news story about a young man that was sentenced to three years in prison for beating and kidnapping his girlfriend…as well as threatening her. This young man was due to be a high school senior and had a very promising career as a potential professional basketball player. In the courtroom when the judge revealed his sentence, the young many collapsed and his family members (and even his ex-girlfriend) went into hysterics. Some of his teachers and coaches were fighting for him to just receive probation and his ex-girlfriend told the judge that she wanted nothing more to do with him but she believed he needed help but jail was not going to be the place that he was going to get it. She may be right by saying this but in all honesty I felt no sympathy for this young man. Surveillance cameras in this ex-girlfriend’s apartment lobby show the girl on the floor and him kicking her in the head repeatedly and dragging her around by her hair. For several days the girl received extremely threatening voicemails and text messages. I, whole-heartedly, believe that if someone harms another individual that they better be prepared to pay the price. I believe this young man does need counseling for his obvious anger issues but he is also an adult and justice needs to be served.
The question at hand though is whether our justice system is the “dominant” country is fair. Without question, it is not. Chris Brown beat Rihanna quite severely and he got away with a slap on the wrist and some hours of community service. Community service should not be considered a punishment….community service is something that EVERYONE should strive to do in order to better their communities, their states and their countries. So, why did Chris Brown get a slap on the hand but this young man was sentenced to 3 years? Well, I think it is obvious….being a celebrity makes many people untouchable. Khloe Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan are prime examples of this. Every time you turn on the television or open your laptop there is a new story about some sort of trouble Lindsay Lohan has gotten herself into….but have we seen her serve any jail time (other than maybe a few measly hours…being released because of “overcrowding”). Why does the celebrity get released for overcrowding but the average citizen doesn’t???
I have been on a lot of political and governmental rants lately. That is usually not my deal but the more and more I educate myself the more and more I realize how corrupt our government and judicial system has become (not that it ever started off perfect). I have read of incidents where a woman kills her husband/boyfriend in self-defense because he had been beating her viciously for many years and she is sentenced to life in prison for 1st degree murder but Michael Vick who brutally killed several dogs out of enjoyment of watching dog fights gets 2 years (if he even served that) and is released on “good behavior” and is now back to making millions of dollars playing for the NFL. I understand that animals and people are not the same but where is the justice in either of these situations? I am getting really tired of seeing people getting rewarded for bad behaviors. I am not saying that people don’t make mistakes…but there is limitations when it comes to the severity of the mistakes. Training dogs to fight and kill each other is not an “oops” moment…he found enjoyment in it. He is an adult that knew better but still chose to do it. People may say I am harsh but even the thought of Michael Vick makes me sick to my stomach because of his actions and the thought of the court-system that gave him such a minimal sentence and the NFL for giving him a brand new contract gives me more of a feeling of hopelessness when it comes to thinking about the justice in this country….apparently right and wrong really doesn’t exist.
I guess I have a hard time understanding the motives of “powerful” people. I guess I just have a hard time understanding people that are unable to take ownership for their wrongdoings. I guess I have a hard time understanding how people can blame everyone and everything else but themselves on the problems they have and the decisions they make. I guess I don’t understand how we have a “justice” system decides on what acts deserve what punishment. A person that illegally downloads a movie(s) can serve up to 20 years in prison but a person that is charged with 1st or second degree murder/rape/child molestation can be free within 5 years. Susan Smith strapped her two beautiful children into the back of her car and rolled it into a river. She was sentenced to life in prison. The crazy thing about that sentencing is that life=25 years….she may not be granted parole BUT there is potential that this woman that murdered two innocent children could be walking the streets by the time she is in her mid 50’s. I don’t understand how life in prison=25 years….that seems contradictory. Our judicial system is no longer about justice but instead has become only about power. Sadly it has become a “pissing contest”.
Top recruit collapses in court after receiving three-year prison sentence
Instead of sifting through scholarship offers, selecting a school and launching his college basketball career as he originally planned, an Ohio high school standout will have to put his dreams on hold.
Tony Farmer, an 18-year-old senior at Garfield Heights High School, received a three-year prison sentence on Tuesday as a result of pleading guilty to kidnapping, felonious assault and other crimes.
The 6-foot-7 forward had been hoping to receive probation after teachers, coaches and family members testified on his behalf. When he learned he’d be going to prison as the judge read his sentence, he crumpled into the arms of a sheriff’s deputy and collapsed to the ground in anguish.
In an odd twist, among those in the gallery sobbing in reaction to the judge’s decision was the victim herself, Farmer’s ex-girlfriend Andrea Lane. Even though the two remain separated since Farmer attacked Lane last April after she didn’t want to reconcile their relationship, Lane had previously asked Judge Pamela Barker not to put Farmer in prison.
“I know he was a good person,” she said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I hope he still is.”
The entire courtroom scene is depressing and painfully hard to watch because Farmer had such a bright future prior to this incident. Before video cameras caught his altercation with Lane on tape last April in the lobby and parking lot of her apartment complex, Farmer was a consensus top 100 prospect who had drawn interest from the likes of Ohio State, Xavier, Dayton and Michigan State.
The punishment he received from Barker is just yet severe. Unless Barker reduces Farmer’s sentence when she reviews it in 180 days, his hopes of playing major college basketball are likely now over.
Well said! I have a very hard time with MV! I use to teach a class on humane education and pit bulls was one of the classes. This meant learning more about MV and what he did as part of the class. I was able to follow two of the fighting dogs who were rescued and rehabilitated. I will never forget what those does went through. Amazingly they both overcame the horrid environment and one even became a therapy dog.
In my opinion, the justice system is broken. The main reason is that justice is subjective and at best, we as United States citizens are guaranteed the right to a fair trial…..NOT JUSTICE. As I write this comment, my TV is showing a Chris Brown video titled ” Seven Minutes in Heaven.” and the irony of this is palpable. As I see it, we can do better as a nation and world, but it requires a complete overhaul of so many of our systems that operate for the “control over” or “power” paradigm, as these benefit only a select few and harm the majority. Hopefully your post will add to the wave to change the current paradigm, even if it is just a trickle instead of a tsunami. Keep on going.
I’m with you in not understanding how the law can be applied so differently depending on how much money you have. Remember O.J.? How could we ever forget? And yet nothing changes.
I saw this story, too and I could not agree with you more. Just because you are good in a sport does not excuse you from consequences – although often in our society it sadly works that way!