Thursday, February 10, 2011
The Punishment That Fits.
The punishment should fit the crime. It's a basic tenet of our jurisprudence. A checks and balance to keep judges from allowing personal vendettas or prejudices from influencing sentencing. Nobody wants to get a ticket for going 70 in a 55 and end up doing life in maximum security. But what about the other side of that coin, what about the victims of crimes? Is justice served when rapists and violent oppressors walk with only a slap on the wrist? The following stories are from recent weeks here in the USA. Not some thimble-sized third world country with a deranged Despot and a corrupt fourth-rate legal system. These are the headlines from the Land of the Free and the Brave. The punishment should fit the crime.
Dmarcus Antwain Ward, 26, of Louisiana, was sentenced Monday on sex trafficking charges after investigators said he took juveniles to Alabama and back to Georgia, advertising them on the Internet for commercial sex acts. Investigators said Ward transported a 17-year-old girl for prostitution from Atlanta to Birmingham and back again. Ward, who had posted photos of the teen on the Internet, took all the money she earned within that 10-day period, according to the U. S. Attorney's Office.
Ward also forced a 14-year-old runaway into prostitution after meeting her on a toll-free “chat line” and coercing her to go to Alabama with him. Ward posted advertisements of the teen on the Internet and rented hotel and motel rooms in Tucker and Marietta for prostitution. He watched the teen closely, and only left the room when the customers arrived. The 14-year-old gave all her money to Ward, who also had sex with her.
Ward plead guilty to the charges in September. A judge sentenced him to seven years and nine months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. The judge also ordered Mr. Ward to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $2,600.
Dear States of Louisiana and Georgia, the punishment should fit the crime.
Twin brothers, Tyrelle and Myrelle Lockett, 18, from outside Chicago pled guilty Tuesday to felony charges of human trafficking for forced labor or services after an undercover sting operation found that they forced young women, including one underage victim, to perform sex acts with men for money. The brothers' would make motel reservations and take photos of the girls for Internet ads they created and posted. Once the meetings with clients were set, the victims would enter motel rooms to have sex with the men while the defendants waited nearby to collect payment. The 17- and 18-year-old victims, who were not charged, told police that the brothers beat them and threatened them if they didn't perform the sex acts.
The brothers were sentenced to four years in prison for forcing the young women into prostitution. The sentencing was handed down by Judge Frank Zelezinski.
Dear Mr. Zelezinki, the punishment should fit the crime!
QUEENS, NEW YORK (from: BNO NEWS) A New York man Woodley Gaston, 25, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and other charges for prostituting three young women in January. Gaston was first charged in 2007 with advancing and profiting from the prostitution of a 16-year-old girl and in 2008, Gaston was charged again with forcing a second girl of the same age into prostitution. Two years later, the defendant was accused of prostituting an 18-year-old girl to repay a debt; his third offense.
In the first case, Gaston forced the then 17-year-old victim into a vehicle by threatening to beat her up and then forced her into prostitution. He posted sexually explicit photographs of the girl on Craigslist to attract customers and forced her to perform various sexual acts for money. The girl was also directed to perform sex acts with his landlord as a means of rent payment of his Queens home. His second victim was a 16-year-old girl who he befriended buying her clothes and paying for her to get her nails and hair done. After that, Gaston forced her to work for him as a prostitute, again advertising her on Craigslist.
In his guilty plea, Gaston admitted two counts of sex trafficking, two counts of second-degree promoting prostitution, two counts of third-degree promoting prostitution and two counts of third-degree rape. “This defendant preyed on troubled and needy teenage girls, using them for his sexual gratification and then as a commodity to be sold to others for cash which he then pocketed for himself,” said Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown.
On Monday Gaston was sentenced by Queens Supreme Court Judge Barry Kron to 3 years in prison on sex trafficking charges. Dear District Attorney Brown and Judge Kron, THE PUNISHMENT SHOULD FIT THE CRIME!!!
The miscarriages of justice that are represented above are only a microcosm of a much bigger tragedy involving the lack of justice for the victims of Human Trafficking. While criminals have no fear of the Law, or if meager sentences make the rewards worth their risk, we will never see an end to the evil of trafficking within our borders.
Dear America, the punishment must fit the crime.
There is good news, International Justice Mission continues to stem the tide of injustice internationally by working tirelessly to see the law enforced. Around the world, IJM lawyers are making a simple message clear: If you abuse defenseless girls and women, you will go to jail. In the past week alone, five more violent criminals have been convicted as a result of IJM casework:
La Paz, Bolivia - Feb 8: A man is sentenced to 20 years in jail for sexual abuse of his daughter.
Cebu, the Philippines - Feb 7: Two pimps are sentenced to 20 years in prison for sex trafficking.
Nairobi, Kenya - Feb 7: A man is sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping a young girl in his church.
Guatemala City, Guatemala - Feb 3: A rapist who assaulted a 13-year-old girl is sentenced to eight years in prison.
This week’s major convictions are a result of years of effort and the brave testimony of the girls and women IJM serves. But these convictions must also inspire us to fight for tougher sentences here in the US. As Gary Haugen, IJM's President and founder often reminds us, criminals are cowards, that is why they pray on the defenseless and the weak.
Criminals will back down, they will go away, they will stop trafficking young girls...If the punishment fits.