The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

July 6, 2014

Readers' Forum 7-6 | Sentencing guidelines lack common sense

JOHNSTOWN — The recent finding by a judicial body in favor of Jerry Sandusky was just and proper.

Sandusky had been stripped of his state pension due to his conviction. This left his wife impoverished and left Sandusky’s attorneys being owed a great sum of money for the legal services they provided during the long judicial process, which continues.

There is every indication that Mrs. Sandusky was an innocent victim of her husband’s atrocious crimes. It was certainly unfair for her to be punished for the misdeeds of her husband, and unfair for her to be made to suffer in abject poverty and indebtedness for the crimes of her husband.

Unfortunately, much of our system of punishment for criminals is based on retribution and vengeance. The greatest example of this, of course, is the death penalty.

However, Pennsylvania’s law mandating mandatory life in prison, without the possibility of parole, for any first-degree murder conviction, regardless of any extenuating circumstances, is also based on the desire for retribution and vengeance.

By comparison, Ohio, which uses the death penalty quite frequently, gives the sentencing judge wide discretion. He can sentence someone found guilty of first-degree murder to a sentence of as little as 25 years to life.

This convict could receive parole in 12 years.

It is time to impose common sense, if not a sense of compassion, in our sentencing guidelines and policies in Pennsylvania.

Richard J. Holsinger

Johnstown

How can illegals travel unimpeded?

Thinking of the recent reports of the children from Central America crossing our borders illegally, how is it they travel the whole length of Mexico without being stopped?  

Have I missed something?

Leonard Krivac

Johnstown

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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