Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hastert or Van Dyke – whose treatment by the system do we detest the most?

It will be interesting to see how the courts ultimately resolve the criminal charges pending against one-time House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.

HASTERT: He's humiliated
He faces charges alleging technical flaws in the way he handled his finances, and could get a few months in a federal correctional center. Although Hastert’s attorneys argued in a court filing this week they think he should get some form of probation.


It’s just that Hastert has already suffered so much in the way of humiliation as a result of the criminal charges filed against him. Hasn’t he suffered enough?

“We respectfully request that he court consider the humiliation and isolation that Mr. Hastert and his family have already suffered when determining his sentence,” they wrote.

Why do I suspect that people across Illinois have their jaws dropping at the nerve of the man to ask for mercy?

THERE ALREADY ARE those people who are upset that Hastert’s criminal charges don’t relate directly to the offense that many suspect him of having committed – the sex allegations against a student (or a few) from back when he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School.

There have been enough complaints that prosecutors are focusing so intently on the financial violations that it is covering up what they want to believe is the serious criminal offense that was committed.

Of course, considering that the alleged offense would have taken place decades ago there are questions about whether it could be prosecuted (statute of limitations, you know).

VAN DYKE: He's broke
The financial violations (which involve making payments in excess of federal limits without reporting them to federal authorities) are much easier for calculator-types to comprehend.

ALTHOUGH IT PUTS Hastert in the same class as Alphonse Capone – the one-time mob boss whose prison time ultimately came from income tax evasion (and there are serious questions about whether the federal laws concerning income tax at the time were so loose that maybe Capone didn’t really do anything wrong).

But we’re being asked to show compassion for Hastert because he’s old and ill and he’s embarrassed his family enough.

I just don’t think many people will buy that.

CAPONE: Could Al have made same argument?
Take the circumstances surrounding Jason Van Dyke – the Chicago cop who faces multiple murder counts for the slaying of a black teenage boy back in 2014.

HOW MANY PEOPLE were outraged to learn that Van Dyke these days actually has a job!?! Admittedly, I’m sure the cop thinks it stinks that he’s been reduced to the level of a janitor.

But he’s working at the offices of the Fraternal Order of Police, the police union that wanted to ensure their member had something of an income while his criminal trial is pending.

I wonder what the outrage would be if Van Dyke were to make the same kind of argument that Hastert’s attorneys claimed in asking for a sense of compassion?

Probably about the same as it will be if, by chance, Van Dyke’s attorneys somehow find a way of getting a jury to acquit their client when he ultimately goes to trial in another two to three years.


No comments: