Thursday, March 28, 2019

Justice Denied! - A Tale of Two Criminals

Kendall Felix - sentenced to 2 and 1/3 to 7 years for murder (VIN)
I cannot understand what has happened to the criminal justice system. If this isn’t a case of revolving door justice, I don’t know what is. From VIN:
Kendall Felix was sentenced to two and a third to seven years in the 2014 killing of Menachem Stark.  According to the Brooklyn Eagle ( 
I can’t help but contrast the crime committed by Mr. Felix and his friends with the crime committed by Shalom Rubashkin and the sentences handed down in each case. Rubshkin was convicted of a $26 million bank fraud. He was sentenced to 27 years in a federal prison. Felix got 2 and a third to 7 years for a murder. Needless to say, the comparison of the 2 crimes and the attendant sentences is an outrage.

This is not to say that Rubshikin is a Tzadik.  As noted in his Wikipedia bio: 
He was cited for issues involving animal treatment, food safety, environmental safety, child labor, and hiring of illegal immigrants. (He was not convicted of any of those charges).
Rubashkin was convicted in November 2009 on 86 charges of financial fraud, including bank fraud, mail and wire fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors had claimed the company intentionally defrauded St. Louis based First Bank on a revolving $35 million loan by faking invoices from meat dealers, inflating the value of the company. 
Shalom Rubashkin - sentenced to 27 years for bank fraud
He relied on his business to generate enough money to pay back the loan in a timely fashion. When his business failed he could not pay back it back.  The money was lost. That the failure of his business was not his fault was irrelevant. The crime was committed.

Be that as it may, the punishment he received for a first time non violent financial crime was excessive. No one was killed. No one was hurt. 27 years in prison for that was almost universally deemed unjust. Nevertheless it was upheld by the justice system all the way up to but not including the Supreme Court – who denied a petition to hear the case.  His sentences was eventually commuted by the President to ‘time served’ to almost universal approval. But he still spent 7 long years in prison for a non-violent first time offence.

Contrast that with what Kendall Felix did and the sentence he got. Felix and his associates kidnapped and murdered Menachem Stark, a Chasidic Jew - and then he tried to destroy the evidence by setting the body on fire and then throwing it into a dumpster. 

2 and 1/3 years for that?! A young man kidnaps and murders another human being and gets what amount to a slap on the wrist? Really?! This is justice?! If anything the 2 sentences should be reversed!

There are those who say that the victim was no Tzadik and angered a lot of people, via some of his business practices. I have no way of knowing that one way or the other. But that is entirely irrelevant.  He did not deserve to be murdered.

I know that congress just passed prison reform legislation where first time white collar criminals will not be given such draconian sentences. That might be good on the white collar crime side of the ledger. But what about the other side? What about revolving door justice for murderers? How in any real sense can Felix’s 2 and a 1/3 year sentence be seen as anything other than getting away with murder (in relative terms)? How can anyone see that as justice?

Well, I guess someone can: 
Judge Danny Chun said that he awarded the relatively light sentence to Felix because of his age at the time of the crime, his college degree and the fact that he was not the mastermind of the plot to kidnap the 39 year old father of seven. 
A college degree? That deserves a reduced sentence for a kidnapping and brutal murder?! What is the matter with this guy?! Would Rubashkin have gotten a lighter sentence if he had a college degree? No need to answer that question. I think we all know the answer.