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Posted at 7:20 PM ET, 06/ 7/2010

In Fairfax, two prison sentences escape logic

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Joyce Morton
Potomac

Consider the sentences in two recent criminal cases reported in the June 5 Post Metro section. In one, a man pleaded guilty to charges of breaking into a Tysons Corner home and raping a woman [Local Digest]. A Fairfax County judge imposed a sentence of 32 years. In another case, a 23-year-old man did not have the cash to pay his $130 cab fare and fatally shot the cabdriver in the back of the head [“Cabdriver’s killer is sentenced in Fairfax”]. For that crime, a Fairfax County jury imposed a sentence of 15 years.

Both crimes were egregious and violent and have ruined the lives of innocent victims, and the perpetrators pose a threat from which society needs protection. But compare the sentences. Arguably, greater justice could be achieved by blindly reversing them. Perhaps the inequity is because one sentence was imposed by a judge and the other was imposed by a jury.

This is not solely a Fairfax problem. It is widespread. Attorneys and legislators need to work toward greater fairness in our criminal justice system. Only then can victims be granted a small measure of relief, society protected against violence from repeat perpetrators and the public reasonably confident that the criminal justice system is truly just.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | June 7, 2010; 7:20 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax County, HotTopic, crime  
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Comments

Well said; however, the "sentencing guidelines" passed by the feds some dozen years ago have turned out to be as problematic - or perhaps more so - as being whipsawed between lenient and strict judges.

Posted by: thatviennaguy | June 8, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The two sentences escape logic, for you. I don't understand what is the point of this article. That violent criminals should be both sentenced similarly for different crimes? That the details of each case, which you convienently omit, shouldn't figure into the judge or a juries sentencing?

This article is a waste of space designed to inflame the emotions of law and order types.

Posted by: JoeMck | June 9, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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