Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lexington Justice?

The welcome-mat is out in Lexington, Ky., for white-collar criminals – or at least the ones with money and/or pull – since outright, legally defined felonies involving the theft of thousands of dollars do not involve the penalty of incarceration. The judge has spoken…in this case, Judge Pamela Goodwine.

The characters caught up in the pilfering of tens of thousands of dollars worth of goods and services from the coffers of the local airport have made their plea-bargains and got off without even a slap on their collective wrist. The judge has spoken! If these guys had gone to trial, they would have been sent off by any jury to the Big House but they managed to get off without serving a day, even though they admitted guilt to FELONIES, punishable by up to five years.

This same judge has probably incarcerated teenagers for shoplifting, maybe even 18-year-olds for car-theft involving much less in stolen goods than these smooth operators making six-figure salaries and putting on their company credit-cards charges for such things as “doing marketing business” at strip clubs. Oh…yeah…these creeps were sentenced all right – two for one year and one for 2.5 years – but “conditional discharges” entered the picture so that the guilty ones, besides not serving a day, don’t even have to report to probation officers and can even have their slates wiped clean in a few years, assuming they don’t get a DUI, though even then they just “might” have to serve time. Having obvious and admitted felonies plea-bargained to misdemeanors is all in a day’s work for a judge. Even at that, the misdemeanors carried a sentence of a year, but not for these scot free instead.

Actually, the local newspaper blew the whistle on these shysters and the state auditor buried them under the facts – $500,000 worth of questioned or undocumented card charges – in just three years by seven people but three of them got off or at least made things right. These three (with another yet to be sentenced) were the biggies. It’s worth noting that the guilt was admitted for just the three years ginned up by the paper and the auditor, so there’s no telling how much these goons had stolen before that period.

This is what makes citizens lose faith in government…this recognition that those with money and pull can avoid what the little guy has to pay for in terms of incarceration. More trust is lost when wondering why a judge would do these favors. Could it be that money has passed? This same judge recused herself from two other cases involving the airport because she had served on some kind of airport advisory board…just passed them on to another judge. But, in these cases another judge might have thrown the book at these thieves. That would have just been too bad.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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