Does America have a justice system or an injustice system? In many cases, including these seven examples, there appears to be a significant shortage of fairness in our justice system.
** Willie Smith Ward, 43, a habitual offender, attempted to steal a $35 rack of pork ribs from a grocery store in Waco, Texas. SENTENCE: 50 years in prison. He must serve at least a quarter of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
**John Horner, 46, a Florida fast food restaurant worker and father of three, sold $1800 worth (four bottles) of painkillers prescribed for him after he lost an eye in an accident. He is a non-violent first-time drug offender. SENTENCE: A mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison.
**Patrick Matthews, a Louisiana father of two, was 22 when convicted of helping a friend steal tools, a generator and a welding machine. He had a prior record of two unarmed burglaries while high on meth at age 17. SENTENCE: Under Louisiana's Habitual Offender law, he was sentenced to life in prison.
**Sharanda Jones, 32, a Texas mother of a 9-year-old daughter, arrested for a nonviolent crime of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. She had no prior arrests. SENTENCE: A mandatory minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
**Ricky Minor, a Florida father of three and a meth addict, was caught with 1.2 grams of meth in his home, along with decongestants that could be used to make meth. He was 38 when convicted, with a record of several prior nonviolent offenses. SENTENCE: Federal law required he serve life in prison without parole.
**Wall Street bank executives, sometimes referred to as "too big to jail," were instrumental in causing the 2008 Financial Crisis and Great Recession that crashed the American and global economy. SENTENCE: No prison time or criminal prosecution.
**The George W. Bush Administration illegally invaded Iraq based on the false claim that it possessed weapons of mass destruction, leading to the death and injuries of thousands of people and the devastation of the country. In addition, the Administration ordered torture techniques that were used on numerous Iraqi and Afghanistani detainees. SENTENCE: No high-ranking officials have been imprisoned or prosecuted.
Arlen is a writer/blogger living in Monterey, CA. His political blog is thebigpicturereport.com. He also writes a weekly quotation quiz "What's Your QQ?" at quotationquotient.com.