I have a friend currently in his thirteenth month of a twenty two month prison sentence in Florida. In April of 2007, his mortgage business collapsed. He broke up with his fiance and developed an uncontrollable drinking habit. One night following one of his binges, he got the bright idea of breaking into his neighbor's house in order to steal money because his neighbor owed him money. That's what he did and the only reason that he knows how much it is, $131, is because that's what the receipt at his bank said it was. He had stolen his neighbor's change collection.
He was caught soon after and, at the end of January 2009, the judge sentenced him to a 22 month jail sentence. This happened because 1)the amount was over $100 which made it grand larceny and 2) he broke in and thus he had multiple offenses piled on top of each other. I am not defending his actions. They are inexcusable and the fact that they only happened because he was inebriated doesn't make it better.
He is, however, paying his debt back to society. He has no other criminal record. He came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was three. He's now 41. He's lived here legally throughout however he never became a citizen. He always worked legally and his status was always in proper order throughout. Because he was convicted of a felony and that felony carried a prison sentence of more than a year, the Department of Homeland Security is preparing to deport him following his sentence. In fact, short of political intervention, he will be deported.
He no longer has any family in Mexico. In fact, it's been years since he even visited. He did something wrong. He's paying his price. It's a high price. Many much worse crimes have been given much smaller sentences. Donte Stallworth received a month after his drunk driving accident killed a man. Certainly had this occurred in Chicago, he likely wouldn't have received any prison sentence at all. His boss told me that the County he committed his crime in is very tough on law and order and they treated his crime much more seriously than most.
Still, isn't this a country where we believe in second chances? Isn't this also a country with a wide open border where millions cross illegally everyday? Isn't this the country that allows millions of illegal criminal aliens to roam free? Yet, with my friend, the full force of the law will apply.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"