Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Being tough on crime? Or just overzealous with desire to punish?

BEAVERS: Wants to be free
Former Cook County Commissioner William Beavers will be in court on Wednesday to learn just how long a time he will have to serve in prison as punishment for his income tax evasion offenses, and we’re going to see just how hard-core the prosecution will be in getting its way.

For what it’s worth, Beavers’ attorneys have filed documents in court saying they really believe the one-time cop turned alderman turned county board member ought not to do any prison time.

THEY HAVE SAID he ought to get probation. It also seems, if reports from WLS-TV newscasts are accurate, that Beavers is still persisting with his train of thought that he is being persecuted (as well as prosecuted) by the federal government.

He claims he was only prosecuted on the income tax evasion charges (connected to how he used money from his campaign funds for personal use) because he would not provide federal investigators with information about former county board President Todd Stroger and Commissioner John Daley, D-Chicago.

Perhaps the self-described “hog” thinks he’s about to become a political prisoner along the lines of Martin Luther King, Jr., or Gandhi? A bit self-righteous, we all must admit. I doubt Beavers is capable of writing anything as eloquent as King's letter from the Birmingham jail.

Yet the U.S. Attorney’s office for Chicago has suggested that Beavers serve just under two years (which they will persist in describing as 21 months because it sounds more imposing that way) in a prison facility.

NO MATTER HOW much one thinks that Beavers is full of himself and trying to spin his story to make himself the hero, we must also remember that the federal government is just as capable of doing the same.

They’re going to present the most onerous account possible to ensure the longest prison term possible. Because that will allow for a prosecutor to put another notch on his record (and yes, I have known prosecutors at the federal and state level who think in such terms – like they’re fighter pilots counting down the number of enemy planes shot down).

It is why I’m always willing to give a criminal defendant a bit of a break when hearing the rhetoric being spun against him by prosecutors at any level.

MEDRANO: Headed back, but for how long?
That’s certainly the case involving former Alderman Ambrosio Medrano, who on Tuesday entered a “guilty” plea to a wire fraud charge related to his involvement in negotiations on a contract for bandages used at Stroger Hospital.

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE reported that when Medrano comes up for sentencing in January, prosecutors may ask for something resembling a 20-year prison term for the 59-year-old man.

Medrano’s attorneys, however, told the newspaper that something along the line of two years (about what Beavers could receive on Wednesday) is more appropriate.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman told Medrano he needed to consider the great difference in opinion before deciding whether he should enter a “guilty” plea, saying, “You understand there is a dramatically different view of what the guidelines will be?”

Somehow, I suspect Medrano is going to get slammed in a way worse than anything that befalls Beavers. For Medrano is also the one who holds a unique niche in the world of government corruption – the repeat offender.

HE DID A prison term following his conviction in the “Operation Silver Shovel” federal investigation of City Hall in the 1990s. Now, he’s likely to go back to prison for this and for another conviction earlier this year for allegedly being involved in paying off an official for a mail-order pharmaceutical contract with the Cook County hospital system.

Because even though he couldn’t get himself re-elected to office after his first conviction and prison term, he was still involved in the inner-workings of government at the county level.

If anything, it perhaps is evidence that the people in politics we ought most being paying attention to are those whose names don’t appear on the ballot and rely on their relative anonymity to have people ignore their actions.

Although, still, a 20-year to 2-year difference in opinion isn’t all that different from the notion of Beavers thinking he should still be free, while the feds thinking he’s entitled to an “Oxford education” – as in a prison term served at the federal facility in Oxford, Wis.

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1 comment:

yolie turner said...

As a product of Chicago's Southside I've always believed the "Chicago way" was invented not from mobsters but the State's Attorney's office in general. I strongly agree with your analogy of the Fighter Pilot. Each States Attorney in my lifetime uses its powers to basically go after non-violent offenders (mostly white-collar) and impose sentences that are to the most part inhumane.Especially of those who have served the people of our State and City with gust and most instances have gone out of their way to make an even playing field for people of color. (yeah I said it). Thus after so many notches, they go onto become politicians. While, drug traders, killers, and repeat domestic violence offenders continue to receive sentences that deter evidently no one because all continue to grow. And if I know this, the politicians of color should know they have to stop thinking the "white way" and return to thinking the "right way". We should always be under the impression that has held this city to it's image of you're taking the job an O'Leary, Callahan, McDuffy (you get what I'm saying).And thus, you will always be under the eye-glass and punished twice as hard for less.