Thursday, June 01, 2006

[political-researchp] Bloglines - Residents Protest Judge After Sentence

Residents Protest Judge After Sentence

In law

OMAHA, Neb. -- Cheyenne County District Judge Kristine Cecava is facing protests after she sentenced a convicted child rapist to ten years probation.

The judge said Richard Thompson should get jail time, but she gave him probation because she was afraid he may become a victim in jail.

50-year-old Thompson is is five foot one. He's convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl on two separate occasions.

Now residents are protesting Cecava and demanding she be removed from the bench.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Burning says he plans to file an appeal to the sentence in the next two weeks.
Residents Protest Judge After Sentence, May 28, 2006

It is certainly commendable that Judge Cecava is displaying compassion and concern for those affected by her decisions on the bench. I say this with no hesitation as no one should fail to see humanity in all humans, regardless of the despicable acts some humans sometimes commit.

However, Mr Thompson is not the only person to be taken into consideration here. There are other questions to be asked, other issues to be considered. For instance, how likely is Thompson to commit another rape while on probation? How likely is a potential rapist or other criminal to be emboldened by such incredible example of judicial leniency? In short, Judge Cecava is a public servant and she would be well advised to consider the interest and concerns of the society as a whole as she makes her decisions.

And, lastly but not leastly, there is one more issue to consider - specifically, that of this sentence relative to other sentences dished out by the judicial system. Richard Thompson is certainly lucky in one regard - namely, that he is not Serena Nunn and it is rape of a minor, not drug dealing he was charged with as otherwise he would likely be mandated to spend more time behind bars than Judge Cecava sentenced him to spend on probation. While Judge Cecava has no control over the federal cases one of the inadvertent consequences of her leniency still is that the message just got a bit louder that the US justice is no longer about punishing those who do most harm to the society, only those who match a certain profile selected by the political elite to further their agenda.

And that message is strong indeed. An excellent documentary titled Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus contains a jail-house interview with a group of inmates somewhere in the South. One inmate tells his story - working and making about $350 a week, then turning to drug use and drug dealing and making $5000 a week, that followed by an arrest and an incredible sentence to 120 years imprisonment, loss of access to his children and various other woes that inevitably followed. While telling his story he makes a reference to child molesters getting out in 6 months. Quite possibly, he was hardly exaggerating - especially if the Thompson case is any indication.

Aside from any assessment Judge Cecava's decision may entice I think it is abundantly clear that the priorities of the American judicial system and law enforcement are at this juncture vastly misplaced. This is an urgent issue which can no longer be ignored as it erodes the morals of the society as well as destroying the lives of those who directly and indirectly become victims of various kinds of injustice the system currently perpetuates.

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