At its best, the justice system metes out a punishment that fits the crime. But lawmakers, judges, and parole boards are human. And sometimes human beings make mistakes. What follows are 10 such cases: 5 times the system may have gone overboard — and 5 where the sentence might not have been harsh enough…
After Drew Peterson was convicted in September of killing his third ex-wife Kathleen Savio, his legal team argued for a new trial, claiming that Peterson’s previous attorney had botched the case. Today, a judge in Joliet, Ill., denied the new trial. Now, Peterson’s case will move to the sentencing phase.
Am Oklahoma woman who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling a small amount of cannabis has been released on parole. In 2010, Patricia Spottedcrow was sentenced to 12 years in prison after selling $31 of marijuana to an undercover officer.
Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and wounded 13 others, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has been sentenced to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years. On January 7, 2011, Loughner opened fire outside a Safeway grocery store where Giffords was giving a speech.
Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky arrived in court today wearing a bright red jumpsuit. That prison uniform will likely be his for the rest of his life as the 68-year-old was sentenced to a minimum of 30, but not more that 60, years in prison for molesting young boys.
On July 12, Elizabeth Escalona, 23, pleaded guilty to first-degree injury to a child after admitting to beating her 2-year-old daughter Jocelyn and gluing her hands to a wall in September of last year. The Dallas mom’s three other children witnessed the abuse, which resulted in bleeding of the brain, a fractured rib and severe bruising. In a sentencing hearing scheduled for today, she faces a possible life sentence.
Tow-truck driver Donald Montanez, who was convicted of 3rd degree murder for the shooting of Glen “Chuck” Rich in March, had a sentencing hearing on Friday. The case was complicated by the fact that authorities have uncovered a web of lies showing that Donald Montanez does not legally exist.