Sunday, June 08, 2014

Justice For Oligarchs?

Oligarchs trump everything, so forget about it!

Having spent ten years as an adult probation officer in New York and Arizona, and another twenty plus years as a child protection caseworker in Denver, before retiring, Weird Wally (WW), tries hard not to think  about anything connected with criminal justice or adults raping children. But in the interest of full disclosure, it should also be noted that WW is an incest survivor himself, but that’s a whole other story.

While working child protection, a large part of WW’s job was appearing in family court, where most clients either had court appointed attorneys, or public defenders.  Rarely could a client afford their own layers, but whenever it happened, staff from other family court rooms, would come watch the show.  But whenever a very rich family came through, everybody in the building wanted to get close to them.  Even judges, assistant district and city attorneys always seemed, to WW at least, to treat the very rich in very special ways.  The few times WW was involved in those cases, he is said to have told close friends that, “People were getting in line to kiss the rich family’s ass.  Made me want to puke.”   And in criminal and civil courts, WW felt that the same laws seemed to apply.   A very rich and should be, convicted felon, for instance, was CEO of a company which admitted to fourteen felonies and paid a $600 million fine, went on to become Governor of Florida.

Inside his head, WW could not believe such a thing was possible, but outside his head, he knew it was.  And it made no sense.  Yet over the months, WW had noticed more and more, how money trumped everything, as far as the courts are concerned.

The first oddity got his attention in early February of this year (2014).  A Texas teen was sentenced to ten years’ probation and ordered into treatment, after his drunk driving caused four deaths and two serious injuries.  Although, according the judge, “affuenza” had nothing to do with her decision, WW and millions of others were truly amazed at how bizarre American justice can often be.

Not long after the teen travesty, in very late March, WW and millions were stunned to learn that a respected billionaire, Robert H. Richards, who repeatedly raped his three year old daughter, got probation with no jail time.  The sentencing judge said “he would not fare well,” if locked up. But wait, there’s more!  In 2010, he was also investigated for having sexually abused his toddler son.  Upon hearing all of the details for the first time, WW is rumored to have said, “This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to shit!”

But it wasn’t until yesterday that WW learned of a Wisconsin billionaire who got only four months jail time after repeatedly raping his twelve year old stepdaughter, over a period of three years.  Worse yet, his legal moves involved victimizing the victim even more.  This went along with a potential public shaming by demanding that both the child and her therapist testify about what happened in open court.  And this is the very sad story behind it all. 

These are the kind horrible situations that leave many feeling overwhelmed, beaten and powerless.  For Weird Wally, at least, it’s like the more he knows, the less powerful he feels.

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