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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Leniency, what is it good for? (absolutely nothing)

It hasn't quite been 2 years since 8-year old Sandra Cantu was murdered by a Sunday School teacher in Tracy, California, her body found stuffed into a suitcase and dropped in an irrigation pond.  Today, the body of 4-year old Juliani Cardenas was found in a canal near Santa Nella, CA.  He was abducted 2 weeks ago in broad daylight from his grandmother's home in Patterson, CA, by his mother's ex-boyfriend Jose Esteban Rodriguez.  The Amber Alert for Juliani spread quickly on the news after the abduction, and digital highway signs were lit up with the license plate and description of the car that Rodriguez was driving, which turned up days ago, in the same canal that the boy's body surfaced in today.  Rodriguez has an extensive criminal history, including a 1999 involuntary manslaughter conviction.  He also has been arrested on suspicion of assault and battery and unlawful sexual intercourse.  We can thank the leniency of our judicial system, for allowing him to be set free, for Juliani's death.

The Sandra Cantu case came almost exactly 8 years after the bodies of Laci and Conner Peterson were discovered in a marina, a case which received national coverage.  Scott Peterson, Laci's husband, was sentenced to death by lethal injection, but remains on death row while his case is on appeal; he maintains his innocence.  The convicted murderer and rapist of Sandra Cantu, Melissa Huckaby, entered a guilty plea to spare her life, and now sits in prison for a life sentence, fed by taxpayer dollars just like Scott.  I'm guessing the same will happen if Rodriguez is caught and convicted for the murder of young Juliani and pleas guilty.  However, reports indicate that the body of Rodriguez is expected to also be found in the canal, which would not only make him a murderer but a coward for taking his own life and not giving justice to the family, as if today's laws ever bring real justice in these cases anyhow.

When news of Sandra's abduction spread, before her body was discovered and her killer was identified, I posted my idea of a new kind of justice system for handling these kinds of crimes, along with many others.  It wasn't quite "eye for an eye", but much further into the "zero tolerance" mentality than our current system.  

Example: under my policy, anyone convicted of murder is either executed or incarcerated in solitary confinement for life, and that choice is made by the family of the victim.  Furthermore, all assets of the convicted are liquidated and put into an account which covers the costs of incarceration until those funds are exhausted, at which time our government either continues funding or orders execution.

I've sent that proposal to a number of offices of authority, and got no response, unsurprisingly.  It seems that our justice system appears adequate for those in power, the only ones who are capable of changing the laws so real justice can be brought down upon those who decide to take a life.  In the end, it's all about rights and there is no logical reason that anyone should be allowed rights once they are convicted of the crime they are accused of.  There should be no plea process, no opportunity for those convicted to be heard.  There is no such thing as justice for these families while the convicted killers of their loved ones are allowed the choice to live, because incarceration is no real consolation.  It's unfathomable that someone can take a life and still have any input for how their sentence is carried out by entering a plea to spare them from the death penalty, such as Melissa Huckaby was; the killer is extended the right to live, while their innocent victim didn't get that choice.

Regardless of being considered naive or unrealistic, I am going to continue to send my proposal to all forms and offices of government until some kind of reaction and consideration is achieved.  I'm appalled and disgusted by the leniency that is extended to murderers, rapists, child abductors and repeat offenders as they fill our prisons and are fed 3 square meals a day and watch television and have access to the Internet.  There are innocent people walking the street, homeless and hungry, and they may be looked down upon for having no ambition to better themselves but they didn't murder anyone.  Imagine how easily we could end hunger if our tax money went into food banks and soup kitchens, rather than paying the tab for the luxuries that prisoners are allowed.

In summary, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the family of Juliani Cardenas, and my hope that his killer is captured and that it may bring some sense of peace to your family.  Also, I hope that time has brought some healing to the Rocha and Cantu families.  
I know that not every story makes the news, so my thoughts are with all who have suffered the loss of a child or loved one at the hands of a senseless homicide, as these families have.  Perhaps one day our laws will change to put some fear back into those who have cruel intentions; one can only hope.

1 comment:

A Voice of Sanity said...

The Sandra Cantu case came almost exactly 8 years after the bodies of Laci and Conner Peterson were discovered in a marina, a case which received national coverage. Scott Peterson, Laci's husband, was sentenced to death by lethal injection, but remains on death row while his case is on appeal; he maintains his innocence.

He maintains his innocence for good reason: the actual trial evidence proved he was innocent. Not only that, the prosecution admitted at the end of the trial they had no evidence against him except for four sexual encounters with Amber Frey and the very slightest of coincidences - if it was even that.

He has yet to have even one appeal heard.