Thursday, January 1, 2009

Created Equal but not Treated Equally

A newsday article concerning the early release from prison of Freddie Warren, January 1, 2009 brings a glaring issue to the front once again namely punishments in America do not fit their crime and are not handed out fairly.

Mr. Warren received a sentence of 20 years to life as a persistent felon after being convicted of selling a controlled substance. His crime was most likely fueled by his own addiction to that controlled substance and he spent the better part of 18 years in a stark 10' x 10' cell as a result.

Bernie Madoff also committed a crime by distributing lies to feed his own addiction, greed. He is currently serving time as a prisoner in his own luxurious $7 million Park Avenue apartment which is most likely a bit larger than 10' x 10'.

Mr. Madoff will undoubtedly receive leniency if he cooperates and aids the return of some of the cash he stole. But he will not return the life of French financier Thierry de la Villehuchet who committed suicide over the losses he suffered. And he will not return the conifidence he stole from average investors who lost their relative fortunes in the market and are afraid to return.

These inequities of punishment in our society are what should be addressed. It seems to be a constant that if you have money you have a leg up on forgiveness, right OJ? Of course Simpson is in prison now but don't forget that he did run out of cash first.

I used the following phrase in an earlier piece but it fits so wonderfully here that I had to repeat it; Mr Madoff subscribes to the adage, "If you owe the bank $100 they own you but if you owe them $1 billion you own them." And his favorite movie just might be Jimmy Cagney's 1959 film, "Never Steal Anything Small."

Mr. Madoff is a criminal and he must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
This glove does fit and therefore we must not acquit.

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