Friday, August 21, 2009

Don't Do the Crime If You Can't Do the Time

A lot of people are upset that New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress got two years for carrying an unlicensed handgun into a New York nightclub and accidentally shooting himself in the leg. More than one site has claimed Burress is being made an example because of his celebrity.

What we don’t know is the average sentence handed out in New York for the same offense. The charge carries a mandatory three-and-a-half years if it goes to a jury that returns a guilty verdict. Burress had no argument to make in his defense—hard to deny anything when the smoking gun is in your pants and your leg’s bleeding—so the prosecution could drive a hard bargain.

Was Burress’s sentence excessive? Let’s say yes, just for the sake of argument. Has he not enjoyed untold benefits from that same celebrity? He’s received perks and privileges beyond what any “normal” person can expect; more than some of them can imagine. He and his apologists have never complained about those excesses. Let’s not put up with too much of it now.

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