My Musings

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Forty-three-Year Fugitive from Justice

I heard an interesting debate on the radio yesterday morning during my commute to work. It was about an elderly man who was arrested recently.

About fifty years ago, Willie Parker committed armed robbery. He was apprehended, tried, and summarily sentenced to 40 years in prison. Willie served just ten of those years when he decided to walk off of a work detail and escape. For years he evaded the law and was not found until this past week.

Authorities apprehended the 81-year-old Willie Parker, on charges of armed robbery that he committed fifty years ago. This man now has severe medical problems including diabetes, a heart problem, hepatitis, and a recent stroke. He has not to anyone's knowledge been a threat to society in any way since his escape and some even argue that he never actually shot anyone during his armed robbery.

His case has been sent before a judge to decide whether or not he should be sentenced to serve the rest of his time in prison. There are a lot of people crying out for his release. After all, why should tax-payer money go to fund the incarceration of someone who is very much not a threat to society in any way? His past forty-years and his health both attest to that fact. Wouldn't it be a waste of money for us to lock him back up? It would make a lot of sense to just let him go free.

Of course, if you don't send him back to prison, you will be sending a message to the rest of the criminals in America that it is alright to escape from prison as long as you can evade the police for a while. It would also mean that justice is dependent on the health of the criminal and the financial ramifications rather than being determined by the nature of the crime.

Should Willie Parker be locked up or sent home? You tell me.

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