Friday, March 17, 2006


Super Sentencing in Ohio

Two sentencing stories caught my eye today.

In Fairborn, Ohio a teenage boy was sentenced for shoplifting. At the time of the crime he was wearing a Superman costume.
A Fairborn Municipal Court judge found him guilty of one count of criminal theft. Binegar was credited for the 52 days he's already served in jail.

The rest of his 180-day sentence was suspended and he was fined 200 dollars. Older sister Michelle says her Superman brother has to be America's dumbest criminal.
Fifty-two days in the slammer seems pretty stiff for shoplifting but not necessarily unreasonable.

Now it gets even weirder. Andrew Selva, in Columbus, Ohio, was sentenced to probation and a treatment house in Cincinnati, Ohio for repeatedly sexually molesting two boys over a three year period.
Andrew Selva, 46, was charged with 20 counts of rape, but as part of a plea deal, he was only convicted on two counts of sexual battery. Franklin County Judge John Connor labeled Selva a sexual predator and sentenced him to treatment, house arrest and probation -- a move that has infuriated prosecutors and legislators around the state.
People are outraged and want the judge to step down or be removed.
Some protestors are calling for Judge John Conner to step down.

"My children are no longer able to do the little things that they were allowed to do walk the dog ride their bike around the block," said one protestor.

"It was very upsetting it's upsetting that he let the people down the children the victims, especially."

Now, Attorney General Jim Petro says Judge Conner should step down.

"A helpless child being subjected to that type of abuse is overwhelmingly outrageous," said Petro.
Judge Connor doesn't seem to understand.
Connor placed him on probation saying: ‘‘He’s got a disease like I’ve got a disease. I don’t know that prison would have helped, except for revenge, and revenge is not in the sentencing guidelines.’’
Ah, the old "revenge" ploy. A judge who doesn't understand the difference between revenge and punishment needs to resign. This column goes into further detail.
What the sentencing guidelines did call for was a 10-year stretch in a state prison. But Connor believes he knows better, so it is probation for a child rapist. By the way, the ‘‘disease’’ Connor referenced in his own case is apparently alcohol-related, the judge has at least two DUI convictions on his sheet.
It appears the judge my have just a little too much "compassion" for a fellow alcoholic.

Mike Harden at the Columbus Dispatch makes some interesting observations regarding sentencing of sex offenders. Three recent cases, 9 years, 16 years, probation.

I must point out that the case in which the offender was sentenced to 16 years the victim was a girl. In the other two cases the victims were boys. I wonder if judges somehow feel less inclined to punish those who molest boys as opposed to those who molest girls. I wish I had the wherewithal to research the sentencing of sexual offenders based on the gender of the victim.

How crazy is it that a stupid kid who shoplifts while wearing a Superman costume serves more time than a man who sexually molested two boys over a three year period?

Judges and society feel VERY different about male and female victims of sex crimes. You can place the victim / offender category and the punishment into a decending order with ease:

Starting at the longest sentence:

male offender / female child victim
male offender / female adult victim

BIG gap in time served

male offender / male child victim
male offender / male adult victim
female offender / female child victim

BIG gap in time served

female offender / female adult victim
female offender / male child victim
female offender / male adult victim

This list applies to all of the first world. Rather sad isn't it?
Not really surprising to me, and it is sad. As in many areas, the message is that males are less important and less valuable than females.
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