At the outset I stipulate that:
I am not a lawyer;
People who do hurt animals are despicable creatures; and
The American justice system confounds me
The other day I came across a story from Baltimore, MD about an 81-year-old great-grandmother who was arrested and spent nearly two nights in jail. What was her crime you might ask?
Apparently months ago, two of Mary Magdalene Root's dogs got away from her home several times and she was fined $7,000 after a neighbor took photos and reported her to animal control. Did the neighbor think to help the elderly woman at all? Talk to her first? No. Methinks there is a long-standing issue here. But I digress...
Ms. Root could not pay the hefty fine. Upon doctor’s orders, the elderly woman could not go to court and the judge ordered the 81-year-old widow arrested and hauled into jail.
Even if …even if the dogs had been getting out, shouldn’t authorities, family or neighbors have intervened before it got to the arrest stage? Doesn’t $7,000 seem excessive to you?
Thankfully a kind soul did intervene and paid the $250 bail but not before the woman spent time in a jail cell.
People who really do abuse animals rarely get the sentence they deserve. Hundreds pay no fine nor see any jail time…and that makes me angry!
This story gets my ire up on its own merits. But taken against some other recent national cases makes me want to scream WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY?!
In February 2014 we heard about the affluent brat named Ethan Couch who drove drunk, killed four people and would spend no time in jail. His brazen lawyer was able to convince that judge, through a defense witness, that 'little Ethan' was too coddled to know right from wrong. And thus an ‘affluenza’ defense was born. (Perhaps it has been used in the past but it has not received such national attention)
Recently, Army Brig. General Jeffrey Sinclair avoided jail time even though he pleaded guilty to lesser sexual assault charges. He will forfeit a portion of four months of salary but keeps his pension and his rank. There are reports his defense team was surprised at the lenient sentence.
And let us not forget all the celebrities out there who misbehave and are a menace to society that rarely see the inside of a jail cell even after being arrested– I’m talking about you Mr. Bieber.
And don’t even get me started on the problems with three-strikes laws…
Something has got to give!