Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Did Rod Blagojevich Receive Justice? Wednesday Journal #3

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced today to 14 years in prison for his recent conviction on multiple federal corruption charges.

Among his offenses were conspiracy to solicit bribes  for State contracts, mail and wire fraud, and most notoriously, his scheme to sell the newly-elected President's vacated Ilinois Senate Seat.

Just as shameful, after his convictions, Blagojevich seemed to take a cavalier attitude toward his convictions, proclaiming his innocence, and, seeming unaware of the gravity of his situation, appearing on late-night talk shows, humorous television advertisements, and "Celebrity Apprentice".

There is little to say in his favor. Sadly, he is in large company, having the dubious distinction of being the 4th Illinois Governor to be convicted since 1973.I believe Rod Blagojevich should serve justice for his convictions and for continuing a shameful tradition of corruption in Illinois politics.

But 14 years?

Who's afraid of Rod Blagojevich? 

I'm glad to finally be rid of Blagojevich (see "Good Riddance," June 28, 2011), but frankly his walking the streets does not make me fear for my personal safety. 

Prison is a punitive measure to be sure, and the Judge in the sentencing sought to make an example of the former Governor, as a deterrent to future corruption by state officials. 

But does anyone believe that is really going to work?  I would rather see those who destroyed the financial futures of millions of Americans take their rightful place in Federal Prisons.  The same goes for legislators who pass irresponsible laws, resulting in the deaths of everyone from soldiers and poor senior citizens, to desperate young mothers and innocent victims of petroleum name a few.

Illinois' last Governor, George Ryan, was convicted in a Driver's License scandal that resulted in the deaths of a family of six.  This occurred before his tenure as Governor, while he was still serving as the Illinois Secretary of State.

Ryan got six years.

14 years for Blagojevich?  I think a more thoughtful judge could have come up with a more creative form of justice, one that would combine a shorter prison sentence with a more useful (and humbling) way to allow Blagojevich to pay his debt to the state. 

Now, we are merely paying his room and board for the next 14 years.

No comments:

Post a Comment