Friday, November 13, 2009

New, Punitive Sentencing Makes You Wonder

Now, I know someone who got four months in prison for the same conduct. So why a ten-year sentence here? New mandatory 'guidelines'? Or is it because the feds are involved? If so, why? Aren't local jurisdictions good enough? Were state lines about to be crossed? But they weren't, were they? Was the fellow entrapped, or not?

It makes you wonder about our court systems and the ways that popular hysteria wash through them and rejigger all the laws from time to time. Dramatically different sentencing at different times in different courts for similar crimes undermines overall confidence in the system of justice:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A 50-year-old electrical engineer remains behind bars after being sentenced for trying to meet what he thought was a young girl on the Internet.

Prosecutors say Jerald D'Souza was sentenced in a Sacramento federal court Thursday to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in August to using the Internet to attempt to commit criminal sex acts with a minor female.

The 50-year-old D'Souza has been in custody since March 6, 2009 when he was arrested near Truckee. Prosecutors say after communicating with what he believed was a 13-year-old girl, he drove from his home in the San Francisco Bay suburb of Dublin with a plan to bring the girl to a motel.

It turned out the person was not a young girl, but an FBI informant.

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