In Fairfax, two prison sentences escape logic
By Joyce Morton
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.
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