Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Society's Investment in Felons


It seems that Diane McCloud couldn't stop stealing if her life depended on it. As reported here, here and here, Judge Francis Ricigliano had seen fit to show the 47-year-old Ms. McCloud some humane compassion by springing her from jail so that she would be eligible for the waiting list for a heart transplant. But Judge Ricigliano's humane compassion does have its limits, and Ms. McCloud pushed them too far with her 27th felony arrest last month. She now has to complete the sentence Judge Ricigliano cut short, plus serve the one on the latest charges for which she has pled guilty -- stealing cosmetics and diet pills from a CVS Pharmacy. Her incarceration puts her off of the waiting list for the heart transplant.

[I am, of course, rather skeptical regarding medical death prognoses for ill prisoners. Susan Atkins was supposed to have only 3 months left when she petitioned the California Parole Board for compassionate release, and she lived another year-and-a-half. Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the "Lockerbie Bomber," was released on "compassionate" grounds because he was given 3 months to live, and, nearly 2 years later, is still alive and revered as a hero in Libya.]

If indeed the purpose of the criminal justice system is to rehabilitate those who can be rehabilitated, then society must be willing to invest in people who have been convicted of crimes. Judge Ricigliano was willing to invest in McCloud, but, like any prudent investor, decided to cut society's losses when the investment went sour.

Some people have been successfully rehabilitated by the system, and are worthy of society's investment. Judge Denny Chin believes (and I agree) that Vernon Lawson is one of them. Lawson, who served 13 years in prison for killing his wife, has, in Judge Chin's opinion, completely turned his life around, and should be granted his citizenship so that he can remain in America. Anent to the case of Lawson v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, the following observations are now proffered:

1. Judge Chin is himself a naturalized American citizen.

2. Judge Chin is not reticent to incarcerate those who truly deserve incarceration. Remember that it was Judge Chin who sentenced Bernie Madoff to 150 years.

3. The USCIS's misplaced zeal in denying Vernon Lawson's application for citizenship stands in contradistinction to USCIS's willingness to hold America's door open for Muslim terrorists, Mexican drug dealers, and other assorted thugs and thieves.

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