Third Party & Independents Archives

Must be this Tall to Ride

Everyday we are reminded that there’s no shortage of loopy judges in this country. Take District Judge Kristine Cecava for example, whose inscrutable logic has placed her at the top of the list. When a 50-year-old rapist came before her facing 10 years in prison for making sexual contact with a 12-year-old girl, she decided that a 5’1, he was too short for prison.

This is yet another reason why I'm sometimes afraid to read CNN:

LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) -- A petition drive is calling for the resignation of the judge who sentenced a sex offender to probation instead of prison in part because of his short stature.

The campaign is aimed at Cheyenne County District Judge Kristine Cecava, who last week sentenced Richard W. Thompson to 10 years of intensive probation instead of prison on two felony child sexual assault charges.

Cecava said at the sentencing hearing that she did not believe the 5-foot, 1-inch Thompson could survive in prison.

That may be well and true, but unfortunately for Cecava, she is a judge and her job isn't to baby-sit felons. Prison staff, wardens and officers baby-sit and look out and care for felons. A judge's job is to apply the law fairly, and somewhere I believe there's a constitutional requirement to apply it -- you know -- equally.

During the more sane times in our nation's history we would look at something like remorse as a mitigating factor in determining a criminal's prison sentence. We would look at the intentions of the offender. Here I thought we were through with judging someone based on their physical appearance, but I couldn't be anymore incorrect. Now, instead of giving someone a harder sentence because they're black, we can just say it's because they're 6'1 or strong enough to eat the prison's meatloaf four times a week.

But there will be no prison meatloaf for Richard Thompson. Saved by his stature, he will be spared prison and be asked - oops, I mean "ordered" -- to obey the terms of his probation. He will be electronically monitored for the first four months; I guess, because after the fourth month we can just "trust" him to not have inappropriate contact with young girls.

In addition to the monitoring, Thompson is not allowed to be alone with anyone under 18. He's not allowed to date or live with a woman who has children under 18. Whew, talk about a serious burden on the poor guy. Now Thompson will have to find a beach, park, school, mall, store, community pool, gymnasium, stadium, Disney World or some other public venue to ogle underage girls.

But none of this seems plausible to the ignorant judge who actually had the audacity to say:

"I truly hope that my bet on you being OK out in society isn't misplaced…It's very hard to keep you in society when I know the risk is another child getting hurt."

But apparently the risk of another child getting hurt isn't as important as the risk of a less than luxurious prison experience for a guy who had the mindset to sexually abuse a girl 40 years his junior.

But the most dastardly aspect of the judge's decision isn't that she subverted her role as a judge when deciding that Thompson wasn't fit for prison, it's that her decision begs the question: how severe must the crime be before we admit the idiocy of the liberals' rehabilitation argument? Where do we draw the line? Sure, a 5'1 man who had sexual contact with a prepubescent girl may not be fit for prison, but neither is the 5'1 man who had sexual contact with a prepubescent girl...and then killed her afterward.

Posted by Scottie at May 31, 2006 11:59 PM
Comments
Comment #153246

That is crazy. I hadn’t heard about this story, and want to thank you for bringing it to us.

However, I want to say I would have liked to see something about how ironic that it is that a female judge would give merely probation to a man convicted of having sexual contact, molesting, or raping a 12 year old girl.

I don’t know anything but this about the judge, but I am all for kicking her off the bench immediately.

I really hope that women’s rights organizations will work hard on this case, and get her off the bench now.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 1, 2006 12:41 AM
Comment #153251

Get ready to hear “Liberal” very soon…

Posted by: Aldous at June 1, 2006 1:32 AM
Comment #153252

Aldous, what in the world are you talking about? Wanting to punish someone who sexually assaults children is not liberal or conservative, its common sense.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 1, 2006 1:36 AM
Comment #153255

“Wanting to punish someone who sexually assaults children is not liberal or conservative, its common sense.”

But it’s the liberal who seeks alternatives to prison. Their intentions are good; the idea of rehabilitation instead of prison. But some people don’t deserve other options. I hate to say it but it is a liberal issue.

Posted by: Scottie at June 1, 2006 1:55 AM
Comment #153256

There’s a bit more to it:

It was more than just size. KSID has obtained the transcripts from the sentencing hearing of convicted sex offender Richard Thompson, which has caused national uproar over his probation sentence on two felony child sexual assault charges. According to courtroom transcripts at sentencing, a psychological evaluation was performed on Thompson by a medical expert who concluded that Thompson was not a sexual predator, and not a pedophile. The expert said Thompson is a person who has poor impulse control and lacks judgement at times. Transcripts show Judge Cecava took the medical expert’s evaluation and Thompson’s mental state into consideration at sentencing as well as his size, saying quote, “So, I’m sitting here thinking this guy has earned his way to prison but then I look at you and I look at your physical size. I look at your basic ability to cope with people and, quite frankly, I shake to think of what might happen to you in prison.” As she explained her thought process to Thompson, Cecava said, “A sentence for you may be very different than a sentence to prison for some other person and, so, is there any way that I can hold you accountable for the severity and the dangerous acts that you have done…” Cecava sentenced Thompson to 10-years of Intensive Supervision Probation, which includes successfully completing programs for mental health treatment and counseling for sexual behavior.

http://www.ksidradio.com/news.asp

Posted by: Lisa Renee at June 1, 2006 2:01 AM
Comment #153257
poor impulse control and lacks judgement at times

What a crock!! Of course he has poor impulse control and lacks judgement. So do all predators.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 1, 2006 2:06 AM
Comment #153259

To the quote by Lisa Renee, I am a progressive but I also understand common sense. Sexual assault and rape are one of the major issues facing us today. There mere existence is one of the largest reasons women are seen as inferior.

This guy deserves a very severe sentence, and this is not a issue of conservative versus liberal (or progressive. Rape and sexual assault(combined with any other sexual crimes) are a menace on our society. The impact of these crimes on the women’s movement are significant. If we as what you call liberals and I call progressives want to allow sexual offenders these candy cane sentences than we are STUPID.

I want this judge off the bench, and I am a proud progressive saying this is not a conservative statement this is common sense.

(Despite the above the only way I could maybe be swayed to change my opinion, and I stress the word maybe, is when involving someone with down syndrome.)

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 1, 2006 2:17 AM
Comment #153263

I am reminded of a famous novel that depicted a man in a similar circumstance, except he was slow, big and strong. It was called Of Mice and Men. If all sentences are to be by a book, there is no need for judges. If all sentences are to by a book, there can be no justice, when extenuating circumstances exist.

The Judge may well see sentencing this man to prison as a death sentence. Is it just and fair and equal treatment that he should die in prison at the hands of other prisoners who do indeed mutilate and sometimes kill child predators and pedophiles? When murderers survive to be parolled?

We need judges to make these tough calls in the name of justice. 5 years in prison can be very different between two convicted criminals. Judges are aware of this and should take such differences into account.

I don’t know this case, and I don’t know if the probation the judge calls for would prevent his committing another crime or not nor how much if any real freedom he would have. If the probation leaves any room for him to commit another crime, it is an inappropriate sentence as far as his next victim is concerned and society are concerned. On the other hand, if the conditions of probation woudl prevent another crime and his freedom severely curtailed, justice may be better served with the probation.

My daughter’s predator will either plea bargain or be set for trial this summer. I hate the SOB for what he tried to do with her. But, I would not want to see him executed by fellow prisoners. That would not be just. He has never served prison time, and he may change and repent his action. Like all of us who have done things we knew we shouldn’t and matured past such temptations, every person deserves a chance to repent and grow past their errors and weaknesses, unless their danger to society is so great and their act so heinous as to preclude ever allowing them to threaten society again.

Pedophilia should be regarded as both a crime and a mental, maturational and emotional illness. It is, in a great many cases, both. Our society should treat these people as well as punish them for their crime. Those who respond to treatment to the point of posing no further threat, should do their time and be released. Those who cannot be treated should never be released to prey upon children ever again. Same for rapists, both in prison rapists as well societal rapists.

If the judge is elected, the people should vote against this judges incumbency if they don’t believe the judge’s rulings are competent. If the judge is appointed, the voters should pressure the elected office capable of unappointing them. But, the people should be careful they do not react as if sentences should be equal for all committing the same crime. Circumstances can differ dramatically even under the same conviction, and it is a judge’s responsibility to seek justice for those differences.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2006 3:55 AM
Comment #153266

I consider myself a hyper feminisit on some subjects, although as a future post of mine will show abortion is not one of those subjects.

However rape and sexual assault are.

David said: “We need judges to make these tough calls in the name of justice. 5 years in prison can be very different between two convicted criminals. Judges are aware of this and should take such differences into account.”

Yes, this is true in the fact that prison is different for each person held. However that is not a reason to give a light sentence to someone who perpetrates the worst possible crime (and yes by saying this I am stating that I DO BELIEVE RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT ARE WORSE THAN MURDER).

David I don’t mean this comment to be taken personally.

It is my opinion however that those persons who are found guilty of a sexual crime (but at the same time I do understand that many persons are found guilty and are yet innocent infact and thus I feel for these persons) should NEVER EVER EVER be given probation, with the possible exception of down syndrome, and should instead be given some sort of strict prison sentence.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 1, 2006 4:21 AM
Comment #153267

Lisa Renee has a point. We weren’t there. All we know are the transcript and what talk radio tells us. For all we know, the guy may have the IQ level of a 8 year old. Competency is a factor in a crime, afterall.

Posted by: Aldous at June 1, 2006 4:31 AM
Comment #153277

Richard, our penal system is broken all to hell. We are turning out murderers, and brutal assault perpetrators to make room for pot dealers and bad check writers busted for the 3rd time.

If you are going to take such a hard line on mandatory sentencing then you logically have to be restructuring our mental health, legal, and penal system to accomplish the following:

1) Remove psychiatric patients from prisons and restore psychiatric hospitals where they may be kept in perpetuity if health cannot be restored.

2) Get rid of recreational drug crimes and free up space in our prisons for those convicted of harming others. Convicting people for debatably harming themselves is absurd, especially at what it costs us to process and imprison them.

3) Install a massive effort to reduce recidivism. The costs of recidivism are not just the cost of imprisonment but the lost productivity costs of their returning to society in a productive capacity.

4) Completely overhaul our prisons such that they are safe for the innocent (since we are sending so many innocents to prison these days) and end the violence and intimidation and gangs in prisons. This cannot be done on a shoestring or by profit oriented private prisons.

5) Eliminate non-barriered visitation so we can end the drug use in prisons and the power that drugs buy among gangs within those walls. How can anyone hope to leave prison and succeed after spending years in a drug based economy within prison?

6) Establish a civilian work corps made up of prisoners of lesser crimes who are barracked and serve their sentence on public works projects and government services and mitigate the costs to society spent on criminals.

7) Make successful education or vocational training mandatory for anyone seeking early release, such that real jobs paying a living wage actually exist for them. This will reduce recidivism.

If our legal and penal systems are just about punishment, the crime problem in America is just going to continue to grow. Because all our prison systems do now is breed the desire by criminals for a little of their own revenge when they get out. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2006 6:31 AM
Comment #153288

Attached is a story about the ACLU’s involvement in a lawsuit on behalf of sexual offenders. It’s intended to invite comment about the case, and not particularly about the ACLU’s involvement. As in the case of Richard Thompson, some will say that we are bending over backwards to protect the rights of the guilty. Others will say it is about basic fairness.

What say you?

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (AP) — Six sex offenders sued the city Wednesday to block a new ordinance that bars them from venturing within 1,000 feet of parks, pools and playgrounds when children are present.
The plaintiffs went to federal court to argue that the law is unconstitutionally vague, violates their rights to vote and attend church, and prevents them from freely traveling on roads that may pass within 1,000 feet of the affected sites.
The ordinance was approved May 15 and took effect immediately. It carries fines of up to $2,500.
The law includes an exception that permits sex offenders to visit those sites as long as they are with another adult who is not a convicted sexual offender.
The six, who include convicted child molesters and rapists, are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.
Tenley Drescher, an attorney for the city, said officials planned to defend the ordinance. “The important part is protecting kids,” she said.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/05/31/sex.offender.suit.ap/index.html

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 1, 2006 8:24 AM
Comment #153295

“Remove psychiatric patients from prisons and restore psychiatric hospitals where they may be kept in perpetuity if health cannot be restored.”


Surely you jest. Do we allow mental illness now as a defense for crime? Alcoholism? Depression? Drug addiction? The trial lawyers of America would love your position. EVERY criminal would find his illness that justifies his behavior.

Prison is and should continue to be punitive. Do the crime, do the time.

Frankly, I would prefer this moron suffer prison rape and abuse. Maybe he needs to see first hand what he put his victim through.

This judge is also a moron and her days on the bench are clearly numbered. Bravo the brave citizens who are pursuing her removal from the bench. A message sent to these liberal judges to get over their “hate the crime, love the criminal” mentality is needed.

Posted by: Tom Jones at June 1, 2006 8:50 AM
Comment #153297

JBOD, the law’s intent is right on! The wording is vague and fails to spell circumstances clearly enough to prevent inadvertently breaking the law. The City needs to spell it out better, but, the City is justified in its intent.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2006 8:54 AM
Comment #153323

It would seem when a judge would not imprison a convicted felon on only the basis of height,that judge would be depriving the felon of their rights not to be discriminated against.

Posted by: jblym at June 1, 2006 10:32 AM
Comment #153334

Do you think this guy deserves a death sentence? That’s what a prison term would probably be.

Posted by: Dave at June 1, 2006 11:01 AM
Comment #153347

Dave:

Prison is not a nice place. In fact, it’s downright horrifying, especially for those who commit sexually based offenses against children.

But I fail to see a real distinction between this guy’s case and many other cases. Would he be more liable to withstand the rigors and abuses if he were, say, 5’5”? What about someone who is tall but slender—and therefore unable to defend himself against potential attackers?

Richard Thompson is tall enough to commit a sex crime. That makes him tall enough, in my opinion, to go to prison. If his mental capacity is in question, that is entirely a different subject that should be addressed.

I agree with David Remer that prison should be reformed. It’s obvious from the recidivism rates that prison is not working well as a deterrent to crime, and this recidivism costs society immensely. Reform is needed, but it should not come in the form of allowing someone to avoid a jail sentence based on his physical stature.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 1, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #153352

jbod,

So your answer is “yes, too bad for him”. Clear enough.

BTW: Her decision wasn’t based on his stature but by the effect of incarceration (i.e. likely death or serious injury) and the determination that “Thompson was not a sexual predator, and not a pedophile. The expert said Thompson is a person who has poor impulse control and lacks judgement at times”

Posted by: Dave at June 1, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #153366

Dave:

Don’t mischaracterize my words. My statement is that we should treat Thompson as we treat others. Unfortunately its not only the 5’1” man who gets raped in prison—there are far too many examples of average sized men being raped and abused as well. To extend your logic, we’d need to keep them out of prison as well. I doubt that’s what you are advocating, but I’ll ask for verification: Are you advocating releasing anyone in prison who is in danger of abuse as a result of being in prison?

My concern with considering that Thompson has “poor impulse control and lacks judgement at times” is that he will still have this in the future. Many people have this—I’m more focused with preventing him from using his poor judgement on some poor kid in the future.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 1, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #153370

Put that stupid judge in prison. Right along with that scumbag she likes so much. And I mean in the same prison. She deserves the same treatment that bastard would get.
But then she’s right he don’t belong in prison. He belongs dead.
And while we’re at throw that idiot shrink in there too. Not a pedophile or sexual predator my ass. If he ain’t then why is he messing around with 12 year-olds?

David

Pedophilia should be regarded as both a crime and a mental, maturational and emotional illness. It is, in a great many cases, both. Our society should treat these people as well as punish them for their crime.

I have to disagree with you. The only thing these pieces of human garbage deserve is death.


Richard, our penal system is broken all to hell. We are turning out murderers, and brutal assault perpetrators to make room for pot dealers and bad check writers busted for the 3rd time.

It’s sure as hell broke all right. And judges like the one in Nebraska are helping keep it that way.
Oer prisons are badly in need of reform. When a criminal can go to prison and live better than the folks paying their hard earned money to support them there’s a real problem.
How many of y’all can afford steak 2 to 3 times a week?
How many of y’all can afford to buy only brand name medicine?
How many of y’all can afford elective surgery?
And all the while they don’t have to work a lick.
Prison should be the most horrible experience anyone can have. If it was harsh enough the criminals wouldn’t want to go back.

Posted by: Ron Brown at June 1, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #153378

jbod,

I don’t think we need a semantic argument. You think he should go to jail no matter how bad jail is. I think sentencing should have the flexibility based on circumstances. I think “stupidity” and “no common sense” are acceptable mitigating factors. At a personal level I would want to castrate the bastard but that woudn’t be any more right than sending him to his death.

Ron,

Weren’t you the guy taking about “Pop Tarts”?

Posted by: Dave at June 1, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #153437

Dave:

I must not have made my point clearly. I’m saying that jail is horrendous for most who go there. If we use the “jail is a bad place” as a mitigating factor, then we’d have to let a large percentage of criminals avoid jail. That’s the logical conclusion of your point. There’s nothing semantical about it. You have yet to answer whether you are okay with that.

I don’t have a problem with a degree of flexibility in sentencing. But in many crimes, poor judgement is a part of the crime. Its poor judgement to molest a young girl. Its poor judgement to stab someone. Its poor judgement to drive drunk. Its poor judgement to embezzle money. Put it this way: Ken Lay showed very poor judgement in creating or allowing the culture of theft at Enron, when he was already undeniably rich. A person of his age and background is very unprepared for prison, and he will likely not fare well. Should we let him go too, on the same basis that you use for Thompson?

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 1, 2006 3:03 PM
Comment #153463

jbod,

Yes. The fact that you can get killed in jail is, to me, a mitigating factor when sentencing. Do I think it justifies releasing many people? For first time pot possesors, “yes”. For murderers, pedophiles and sexual predators, “no”. But then, Thompson wasn’t one of those. And, BTW, (1) Lay and Schilling would not be going to the same type of jail. Being rich does have its advantages. (2) Their fraud was not bad judgement except in that they thought they could get away with it.

Posted by: Dave at June 1, 2006 4:00 PM
Comment #153472

It is extremely interesting to know that at my present height of 5’0”…..I may just have a get-out-of-jail-free card……….hmmmm…what crime shall I choose…

Yeah laugh all you want…the next one will be using their height as a defense….

Posted by: Traci at June 1, 2006 4:31 PM
Comment #153476

dave:

I don’t claim to know the clinical definition of ‘sexual predator’, but I do know that it is undeniably wrong for a 50 year old man to engage in sex with a 12 year old girl. It is wrong if it happens once, and more wrong if it happens again.

Richard Thompson was convicted of felony sexual assualt involving a 12 year old girl. You mentioned that we don’t need semantics in this discussion, yet you resort to semantics to make Thompson’s actions seem not as bad. Bottom line: Predator or not, he did a kid!!

If we determine sentences for criminals based on their physical features or stature, then a 5”10 150 pound somewhat effeminate man gets a freebie to commit crimes with no danger of going to jail. This type of person would face the same danger, if not more, than Thompson would face in jail.

The answer is not to let the Thompson’s of the world avoid jail. The answer is to change the jails so that the rampant violence and gang lifestyle is reduced.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 1, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #153536

Let me see if I’m getting this right here. You guys are all for convicting rapist and sexual “predators”, locking them up and throwing away the key.

But you are against stopping rape in prisons?

Is rape better or more just for a prisoner than a woman or child?

Is this some sort of eye for an eye humor?

Either you are for justice or you are for anarchy. Either you are pro justice, or you are pro the free-for-all world of the “predators”

“Get a Rope” is great politics and makes us feel better, but is a sad commentary on man’s character.

David, thank you for your thoughtful post here, as always. I hope you and your daughter find justice and healing.

Posted by: gergle at June 1, 2006 7:14 PM
Comment #153539

David Remer: I agree with all your points on your 6:31 am comment.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 1, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #153581

Ron Brown said: “I have to disagree with you. The only thing these pieces of human garbage deserve is death.”

Ron, in my sense of justice, one man who has consensual sex with a minor and is convicted of statutory rape is deserving of punishment. But, the Ken Lays who destroy 10’s of thousands of people’s lives, savings, and purchasing power, a crime against 10’s of thousands of people, is deserving of even greater punishment. So, if we kill the statutory rapist, and I insist that White Collar crime is worse, and Joe over there insists that drug dealers ruin millions of lives and, etc. etc. etc. we quickly become a nation which kills people at a rate comparable to Saddam Hussein.

Justice is not about each person deciding what crime is their worst and insisting society exact the harshest punishment. That quickly descends into a government of brutal dicatorship, with the power to intimidate every citizen within its borders. Gotta think big picture here and what serves present and future generations best and longest.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #153592

jbod,

What semantics. You asked a question, I answered it 100% directly, maybe you just can’t ahndle the disagreement. Where did I say Thomson was a “good guy”? Where did I rephrase his offence? All I said was that his crime does not deserve a probable death sentence. I.e. what David and gergle said.

Posted by: Dave at June 1, 2006 11:03 PM
Comment #153604

Ron,

Weren’t you the guy taking about “Pop Tarts”?

Posted by: Dave at June 1, 2006 01:10 PM

Huh?


David
Comparing Ken Lay to someone that rapes a child is like comparing someone that robs a bank to a murder. While Kay deserves to spend a very long time in jail (50 or 60 years) he hasn’t done physical harm to anyone (rape, murder, etc).
I don’t know how your daughter was effected by the attempt to molest her. And I don’t know how she’s coping with it. I do know what my daughter went through when she was raped. And I know how she’s coping now.
I also don’t know the effect your daughter’s experience had on your wife or the rest of your family. But I know how my daughter’s experience it tore my wife’s heart out. It was like she was the one raped. And I know the effect it had on the rest of the kids.
Just the thought of one of these subhuman piles of shit getting out and doing that to another little girl and her family gives me nightmares.

Posted by: Ron Brown at June 2, 2006 12:07 AM
Comment #153613

Has a six foot child predator ever been raped or killed in prison? If so, shouldn’t we raise the height threshold? How about a six foot four, 250 pound total wuss? Sending ANYONE to prison is a potential death sentence, but so is sending your kid across the street for an ice cream. Once we set the height precedent, what comes next? Weight, comeliness, race, religion, hair color, eye color, bad teeth, bad breath(or good), missing digits, Roman nose, smelly feet, a nose picking habit, chewing with mouth open, not saying “excuse me” after belching, eating peas one at a time, biting fingernails, bad credit, no credit, or an unpronouncable last name could all(and many more) be potential risks to one’s health in prison according to lawyers for the ACLU, so why should we ever lock ANYONE up? The risks associated with a prison sentence should help deter people with “poor impulse control” to repair their “lack of judgement”.

Posted by: Duano at June 2, 2006 12:58 AM
Comment #153642

dave:

There you go again…… I never ever said that you called Thompson a “good guy”. That’s a figment of your active imagination. What I said was that you resorted “to semantics to make Thompson’s actions seem not as bad.”

Where did I rephrase his offence?

Well, you did it right there in your posts. You said that “For murderers, pedophiles and sexual predators, “no”. But then, Thompson wasn’t one of those.” You cited earlier “the determination that “Thompson was not a sexual predator, and not a pedophile. The expert said Thompson is a person who has poor impulse control and lacks judgement at times”.

And my response (I hate having to repeat the obvious, but you keep misstating what I’ve written above so I’m forced to): “Predator or not, he did a kid!!”

You keep on missing the obvious conclusion of your own statement. If someone faces the risk of being assaulted or raped in prison, then there is now precedence for them to not be incarcerated. And that will go not just for the 5’1” criminal, but must be also reserved for the 6’0” 150 lb slightly built criminal. Perhaps also the accountant who murders his wife, but certainly doesn’t know how to handle the rigors of the federal penitentiary. Maybe even someone like serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy.

The solution is not to let those type of people avoid prison. The solution is to change prison so that those people can be incarcerated.

You are guilty of focusing on the smallest (forgive the pun) part of the issue, while neglecting the overriding huge issue.

Talk about worrying more about victim’s rights. Thompson, at 5’1” was more than big enough to sexually assault a child. What about her rights to see the man who assaulted her put out of society for a time? If he was big enough to “do her”, then he’s big enough to do jail time.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 2, 2006 7:54 AM
Comment #153669

Let’s read the article before going crazy, shall we? The judge made ONE mention of his physical size. She never said, “You’re only 5’1”, so I won’t send you to jail.” There were several other factors involved in the decision.

And Thompson didn’t avoid sentencing. He wasn’t declared not-guilty-due-to-height. He didn’t receive the maximum allowable sentence, but he was sentenced within the allowable legal range for the crime he committed. The judge considered the facts of the case, and the condition of Mr. Thompson, and passed down a sentence that she felt would adequately atone for his crimes. I would guess that, if 10 years in prison was the maximum allowable sentence, that 10 years probation was not the minimum. She probably could have given him an even lighter sentence than she did.

Personally, I disagree with her decision. Knowing what I know of the case (which is little), I would have given him jail time. But to make comments like Ron Brown’s “Put that stupid judge in prison” is absurd. What law did this judge break? At most, she’s guilty of poor judgement.

Now let’s look at the judge’s record. In a retention election in 2002, she was supported by 74% of the voters. In 2004, a survey of attorneys gave her above-average marks in every category except promptness in completing her work.

So, in summary, a judge with an excellent record passes a sentence in ONE case of less than the maximum allowed, and you people freak out over it.

Say it with me class — “PERSPECTIVE”.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at June 2, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #153674

jbod,

(a) You claim I am “focusing on the smallest … part of the issue” That’s your opinion, I don’t agree with it. There is always more to things like this than some blurb or spin in the press. And, as Rob pointed out, the sentence was within guidelines.

(b) You so eloquently claim that the most important thing is (my emphasis) “Predator or not, he did a kid!!” Please link to an official site that describes what he “did” He’s accused of sexual assault, which is distinct from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include completed or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between the victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and include such things as grabbing or fondling. Sexual assault also includes verbal threats.
So, again, do you think this deserves a death sentence? Yes or No?

Posted by: Dave at June 2, 2006 10:53 AM
Comment #153688

dave:

I’m truly amazed at how you consistently miss the point. I’ve never said anything about a death sentence. I’ve said that guy should not be excluded from jail time due to his height. Nor should he be excluded from jail time because he has poor impulse control. Nor should he be excluded from jail time because he lacks judgement. There is no factual evidence that Thompson will be killed in jail. Its a possibility, to be sure, but its the same possibility that many sex offenders face.

You’ve continually missed the point. The point is that IFFF you agree that this guy should be excluded from jail for any of those reasons, then you logically must agree that others who have similar problems must be excluded as well.

Lets take the case of a poor young man who had terrible control over his impulses and used extremely poor judgement. He was slightly effeminate and considerably unprepared for life in prison. His name was Jeffrey Dahmer. By your logic he should have been spared the horrors of prison, despite the fact that he killed and ate young men.

I don’t condone the killing of Dahmer in prison. That’s why I’ve specifically stated over and over that the answer is prison reform. Your solution is to let the criminals avoid prison altogether.

If you extend your viewpoint to Thompson, then on the very same logic, you must extend your viewpoint to Dahmer. And once you do that, you set precedent to extend your viewpoint to any and every criminal in danger of being assaulted in prison. The question that you continue to avoid answering: Are you willing to do that?

Posted by: jeobagodonuts at June 2, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #153693

JBOD,

You and Dave both seem to be missing each other’s points. Would one of you just hurry up and answer the other person’s question so you can move on…

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at June 2, 2006 11:40 AM
Comment #153699

jbod,

Actually, you completely miss the point. I understand your argument but I think there are additional priorities. So, “yes”. If this case spurs prison reform, great. Sometimes shit happens for the good.
The judge thinks the death concern is greater than the prison time he deserves. You keep insisting that you know more than the judge. You don’t. I don’t. No one on this blog does. Are you playing god from your mountaintop of infinite perspective?
Why not just answer my question “yes or no”, if it’s not too hard.

Posted by: Dave at June 2, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #153702

dave:

in the midst of your rambling, I have no idea of what question you want answered yes or no. Once you can make that clear, I’ll be happy to answer it, as long as its not the ole “have you stopped hitting your mom” type of trick.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 2, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #153712

JBOD/Dave,

Ok, boys, back to your corners…

I believe Dave’s open question is:
“So, again, do you think this deserves a death sentence? Yes or No?”

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at June 2, 2006 12:11 PM
Comment #153724

Rob:

If that be the question, then the answer is “No.” There was never any question of a death penalty, nor is there now, except in imaginative minds.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 2, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #153731

jbod,

How about repeated sexual and physical assault on Thompson?

Posted by: Dave at June 2, 2006 1:00 PM
Comment #153733

dave:

First, its a supposition that Thompson would face repeated sexual and physical assault in prison, but its certainly a possibility. He should have thought of that before assaulting the 12 year old girl.

Second, and I’ve said this many times before, if you use that as your rationale for not giving someone jail time, then you have to offer it to everyone who might face repeated sexual and physical assault in jail. You have yet to answer if you would accept that. I gave the specific case of one Jeffrey Dahmer—should he have been offered parole as Thompson was? Your turn to answer the question.

Both of us agree that prison is a horrendous place and reforms need to be made. But you have yet to be willing to follow your solution to its logical conclusion, which is to set a precedent by which many many many prisoners could avoid going to jail. I’m simply not willing ot accept that.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 2, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #153772

Dave:
“Does he deserve a death sentence?”
The answer to that may well be yes, when you consider the lifetime of damage that may have been done to this girl. Perhaps life in prison might be more appropriate - a lifetime of surffering for a lifetime of suffering. But probation is certainly judicial leniency gone amuck.

As far as the question of whether Judges should be given latitutde rather than having mandatory sentencing, it is absurd sentencing like this that will eventually take all discretionary sentencing away from the Judges.

Posted by: Joe Gregory at June 2, 2006 3:31 PM
Comment #153900

jbod,

It is an assumption that future convicts will succesfully use the too-short argument.

Posted by: Dave at June 2, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #153948

Dave:

Forgive my harshness. I think we agree in some areas. Neither of us wants Thompson put in a situation where he faces undue risk of physical or sexual assault. On the other hand, neither of us wants to create precedence for criminals to avoid just punishment. I think we can agree on those two points, can we not?

If we allow Thompson’s height, as well as his poor judgement and impulse control, to be reasons to avoid jail, then we know it will be used by others. And we would need to apply it even handedly to other criminals as well, in order to be equitable in their situations. Jeffrey Dahmer was killed in prison—his circumstance is precisely what you want to avoid for Thompson. Yet I doubt advocating for parole for Dahmer would have been the right thing. Likewise, Charlie Manson was only 5’4”—I doubt we’d want him out on parole either.

Perhaps the best alternative would be to put Thompson into jail, but either not with the general population, or perhaps not in a max security prison. There are places where the danger would be lessened.

I think its horrible that we have people who make poor choices, such as drunk driving, that result in vehicular homicide. We then put these people in positions that will punish them, but will also scar them and negatively affect their impact on society. They should be punished of course, but I know of one young man convicted rightly of vehicular homicide who was then raped in jail repeatedly. His lifestyle had not prepared him for the “jungle” mentality of jail, and his life was ever changed for the worse by his experience.
He should have been incarcerated, but not abused. In that way, our system needs to change.

Forgive my harsh tone. You have my apologies.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 3, 2006 5:52 AM
Comment #153958

Something I wory about in media, is it’s focus. I don’t worry that much about right wing or left wing slants. I worry about sensationalism.

During Hurricane theats, Houston’s TV and Newspaper are 100%, 24/7 about Hurricanes. They do standups on the coast reporting on the slightest breezes, track the satellites and radar images, and stick the mike in the face of every county official they can corner.

In the never ending 24 hour newscycle they follow the missing springbreakers, murderous creeps, run away brides and child molesters.

The perception of the public becomes hypervigilant seeing child predators at every corner. Disasters like the murder of two sex offenders in Maine recently. One of the “sex offenders ” was a 19 year old who had sex with a girlfriend 2 weeks before her 16th birthday, which is the age of consent in Maine. Was this “crime” a death penalty case? Yet the state of Maine participated in this hysteria by publishing the address of this “predator”. The McMartin case in California ruined the lives of several daycare operators, based on hysterical testimony of vindictive parents, coached children and a manipulative therapist.

I’m not condoning child abuse, just a ratcheting down of the rhetoric.

Posted by: gergle at June 3, 2006 7:56 AM
Comment #154120

jbod,

No appologies required. This is an emotional topic concerning defense of children. I actually thought we did well.

Posted by: Dave at June 3, 2006 7:51 PM
Comment #155882

Wow, a whole lot of posts here and I believe that only one addresses the question “What did he do?”

I attended a BBQ the other day and it came up as a discussion. Everyone had an opinion, but again, no one had a clue of what he did. Most were surprised to learn that it was 3rd Degree Sexual Assault. The media wrote page after page on the subject, but never once said what he did. Oh yeah, one report buried the line “non-penetrating sexual assault”.

STRING HIM UP!

Things haven’t changed much since the Salem Witch Trial have they.

Posted by: Colonel at June 9, 2006 12:14 AM
Comment #200468

The Masses are usually wrong, and this case is no different.

Of course physical stature should matter when being imprisoned.

You need to think on levels far deeper than you are thinking.

Posted by: Dd at December 27, 2006 12:06 AM
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