3 versions of justice

Mia Sardella was back in court yesterday.

Surrounded by family and friends, the Drexel Hill teen was arraigned on lesser charges stemming from the death of her newborn infant last New Year’s Day.

She pleaded not guilty to third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and abuse of a corpse.

Then she went home. Or at least back to the home of her grandfather, investment banker Albert Piscopo, head of the Glenmede Trust investment firm. She remains on a home- monitoring device, even though the more serious charges of first-degree murder were withdrawn by the district attorney’s office last week.

Meanwhile, Jahmir Ricks remains on monitoring as well. Only the 14-year-old Lansdowne teen is being monitored while sitting in a jail cell in Delaware County Prison. He has been behind bars since being charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his older brother inside their Lansdowne home last July. They apparently argued over a video game.

Ricks also was in court this week. He was held for trial on first-degree murder charges as an adult, despite his statement that he was acting in self-defense. His lawyer is seeking to have the case moved to the juvenile justice system, and also to have bail set for his client. In the meantime, the 14-year-old sits inside Delco’s prison.

Sean O’Neill also is being monitored. The 18-year-old is serving time at he George Junior Republic juvenile detention center. He is due to serve nine to 12 months.

O’Neill originally was charged as an adult in the fatal shooting of a friend and fellow Cardinal O’Hara student after a night of drinking at his parents’ Willistown Township home, on the border with Delaware County.

He also was originally charged as an adult with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting. He was freed on bail a few days after being charged. A Chester County judge later moved the case to juvenile court. Eventually, O’Neill was adjudicated delinquent on charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, illegal possession of a firearm and criminal mischief. The judge sent him to the juvenile facility.

Three cases, all three resulting in death.

But only one suspect remains in an adult prison, charged with first-degree murder. That would be Jahmir Ricks, who just turned 14.
I’m sure there’s a compelling legal argument as to the differences in these three cases and the way they were handled.

There also is an argument to be made that it is a perfect example of the different versions of justice that are handed out just about every day.

Actually, there really are not two different justice systems in our society, as many would argue. There are, however, a wide range of variances within that system.

Anyone who doesn’t believe that probably has not followed the case of Jahmir Ricks.


Anonymous said…
People need to understand that the same laws do not apply to everyone in Deleware County. If you have money than you will probably get away with whatever crime you committed. When is a higher power going to come and investigate our legal system in this county?????