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January 22, 2014
Between the Lines
Criminal justice system seriously flawed . . .
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- The other day I read a story in the Star Tribune about a man who was convicted of assault on a baby and domestic abuse. As far as the courts action, they seemingly got it right convicting the man of his crimes.
I am OK with that, however after reading the particulars of how this 7 week old baby was horribly abused I am completely aghast at the sentence or in this case non sentence was handed down.
The man pleaded guilty to third degree assault and also pleaded guilty to domestic assault by strangulation of his girlfriend, the child’s mother, last February.
Beside that, this was no ordinary case of shaken baby syndrome.
Interestingly enough when the mother took the child to the hospital in late January, doctors concluded nothing was amiss. The mother persisted, and brought the child back in February 17, when doctors found new and healing femur fractures. Two days later, a CT scan showed bleeding on both sides of the boys brain and on March 4, seven broken ribs were discovered.
Here’s the rub — the sentencing judge ordered the man to serve a year in jail. Because he had already been in jail for 240 days — two thirds of the sentence — his time on the charge was finished! He was given 15 month stayed prison sentence and probation. On the other charge of domestic assault he was given a similar deal which stayed the rest of a 180 day jail sentence, plus an additional three years on probation. In total the man received seven years of probation! That to me is incredible to say the least. There was no mention of counseling for anger management or anything else. Basically he received practically no punishment.
I am sorry folks — people who seriously abuse children, women, men, elderly, animals, or mentally challenged should never get off this easy. To make matter worse this person plead guilty to a prior domestic assault charge, and convicted of a second domestic assault charge. In the most recent case, which I suspect there was a plea agreement the judge chose to sentence the man to the low end of the guidelines. Of course as a lay person I can not make a defined judgement of whether or not the court erred on this one, but you be the judge.
By comparison there was another case where a man committed a hit and run of two army recruiters, seriously injuring one of them. In this case one of the victims was dragged over a mile, and at one point the defendant stopped and tried to dislodge the victim by kicking him. The man plead guilty in November to first degree assault and criminal vehicular operation.
The difference in this case the sentencing guidelines called for an 11 to 15 3/4 years prison sentence. The judge obliged to give the man the maximum sentence of 15 3/4 years sentence.
Looking at the circumstances I feel that is a fair sentence. But in the other case, I am sorry, what was that judge thinking?
It is hard to say how much suffering each of these victims will suffer over the rest of their lives, so I think it is only fair for the defendants to suffer an equal amount of time.
It is hard to say how much these injuries will affect that small child, however, at that age he more than likely will have hardly any or no recollection of
terrible suffering he endured.
Somehow I also wonder if these two men will have to live with their misdeeds for the rest of their lives, or do they have no remorse.
In the end I just don’t get it. I know one thing, I would hate being a judge, prosecutor or a defense attorney. In these types of cases they certainly earn their money.
Have a great week and do good!
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