Thursday, March 31, 2011

Justice & Judge Liberace

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m getting soft. Or maybe I'm just getting older and can sympathize with the man.

But for the life of me, I don’t see what the point is of putting a 69-year-old former magisterial district judge behind bars.

That’s what happened this week when former longtime Haverford D.J. Gerald Liberace was whisked out of a Media Courthouse courtroom in handcuffs. Today the judge is getting a view from the other side of the bars, as a “guest” of the Delaware County Prison.

I don’t for a minute challenge that what Liberace did was wrong. He was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child and corruption of a minor for fondling a 12-year-old girl. He was acquitted of the more serious charge of indecent assault.

I don’t mean to diminish what happened to that young girl, or the anguish she has gone through since. I certainly don’t condone what Liberace did.

But what exactly is the purpose of putting him in jail? Is he a danger to the public? I don’t think so.

Instead, what I think Liberace is, is a symbol.

In fact, visiting Judge John L. Braxton of Philadelphia, who was brought in to hear the case because of Liberace’s long ties to the Delco bench, pretty much said the same thing.

“I don’t take lightly sending judges or former judges to jail,” Braxton said as he sentenced Liberace to six to 12 months in prison. The former judge had been free on bail. “A slap on the wrist would send the wrong message.”

I guess so. But I’m not sure putting Liberace in jail sends the right one, either.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kevin said...

What kind of message do you think it says when they put a pervert behind bars?

March 31, 2011 at 7:51 AM 
Blogger David E. McGee said...

With all due respect, sir, I disagree with your assessment. Upon what are you basing your belief that the man is not a danger to the public?

He has been convicted of a crime. He was sentenced to six to 12 months for fondling a 12-year old girl. You state that maybe you're getting softer as you get older. I find myself becoming less tolerant of certain things as I age, especially things which concern fairness and right versus wrong as viewed by the majority.

Mr. Heron, this man is a danger. He is a danger to our children. Would you rather we take the law into our own hands and dispense "justice" as we see fit, or are you still not so soft as to agree that we best protect our children with law and law enforcement?

It distresses me when I see some argue that a punishment is too tough or unfair. The saying is, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime," not, "If you do the crime, play a pity-the-old-man card to do less (or no) time."

C'mon...

March 31, 2011 at 8:15 AM 
Blogger Ridley said...

Your kidding right? I swear I think your Bipolar Phil. I can't figure you out. I guess if it's not a dead Priest getting accused it's just not that serious. He only fondled a 12 year old girl right.

March 31, 2011 at 9:22 AM 
Blogger Ridley said...

Your kidding right? I can't figure you out Phil I think your Bipolar. I guess if it's not a dead Priest getting accused it's just not that serious. After all he just fondled a 12 year old girl right?

March 31, 2011 at 9:24 AM 

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