In Which I Defend the 82-Year Sentence Handed Down Against A Woman Who Helped Kidnap Two Police Officers
By Ken K. Gourdin
Salt Lake City, Utah’s Deseret News recently had an item about a woman who received an 82-year sentence for her role in kidnapping two police officers. See here, last accessed June 18, 2016: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865656177/Woman-who-helped-take-officers-hostage-will-spend-82-years-in-prison.html. Another commenter opined that this sentence was excessive in light of the former Stanford University swimmer who received an eight-month sentence for rape: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/06/us/sexual-assault-brock-turner-stanford/.
I won’t defend the former Stanford student’s sentence, and I agree it was too light. That said, you’re talking about two different offenses committed in two different jurisdictions. It’s up to the people of a particular jurisdiction to determine how a particular crime should be punished. Each offense and each offender should be considered in light of its own facts and in light of his or her own history, respectively. Personally, as the son of a career law enforcement officer, I’m gratified by sentences such as this one. As a matter of public policy, society generally has concluded that [such offenses as kidnapping a law enforcement officer while he is on duty, as well as killing such an officer in the line of duty] not only is a heinous offense against the officer who meets that tragic fate, it’s an affront to the very justice and order upon which society depends to function effectively. That’s why, generally, it’s punished more severely than [similar crimes against] John Q. Public, as tragic as [the killing or kidnapping of Mr. Public might be].