I was listening to a conversation about justice in America. It was mentioned that Roger Stone, given his wealth and connections, walked into his arraignment and walked out a free man awaiting trial. His bail of $250,000 was set, he reached in his pocket, paid it, and walked out the door.
Riker’s Island is a jail that sits on an island in NY’s East River. It is not a prison, it is a facility where those charged, like Stone, are sent if they are unable to meet their bail. It can hold 15,000 inmates and is the 2nd largest jail/prison in America. Most of those in Riker’s have not been tried but are awaiting trial. They could be locked up for months and in the meantime, unlike Stone, end up with their jobs gone, their cars repossessed, their family’s destitute, children put in foster care, etc. They will probably suffer complete financial collapse even before their guilt or innocence is determined.
Most likely you’ve never heard of Jakiw Palij and there’s no reason you should have. Palij has lived in America since 1949 and today is the last known Nazi war criminal living in this country. He was once granted US citizenship but in 2004 a federal judge stripped him of that and ordered he be deported. He is still here and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has no plans to boot him out because no nation wants him.
Another name you’ve probably not heard is Miguel Perez Jr. , Perez was in America on a permanent green card, joined the US Army and did two tours in Afghanistan. When he returned he was diagnosed with PTSD and possible brain damage. He was charged with cocaine possession, had his green card stripped, and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. After serving half his sentence he was turned over to ICE and has since been deported to Mexico leaving behind his parents and children who are all US citizens.
On last night’s news there was a story about a convicted felon, a black woman, who mistakenly thought she was permitted to vote in last year’s election. She found out later that Texas felons lose their right to vote and she had unwittingly broken a law. This past week a Texas court sentenced her to five years in prison. As a follow-up NBC cited several examples in which the felon was a man and got off with probation and/or a small fine.
This story reminded me of something that took place around Greenfield back in the 1960s. I was living in California at the time so I only knew what was in the local papers my parents sent me on occasion. It’s also been so long ago I don’t remember all the details.
That said, the story basically involved an area farmer who got involved in a check kiting scheme and before it was over the total dollar amount exceeded a million dollars and several area bank officials got more than a knuckle cracking.
When it was finally settled my parents sent me the local paper and the lead story stated that the farmer ended up walking out the door a free man. The irony was, immediately following this story was a short story about a local woman who was found guilty of writing a bad check and she sentenced to jail.
These are just a couple more examples of American justice not being totally blind. Too often justice turns its blind eye away from women and minorities.