I assume the appalling behavior of the convicted defendant, his father, and the judge is self-evident to the audience here. I do have a couple of points:
- I can imagine a different political context in which the sentence was not entirely unreasonable, although if I ran the etc. the minimum sentence for sexual assault would be more than 6 month minimum — it’s a serious violent offense. But in the context of the American penal system, the outrage is justified. A less privileged person would have almost certainly gotten more time for a similar offense, and many less privileged people are serving much longer sentences for less serious offenses in California.
- I have no problem with saying that in terms of sentencing we should, in the long run, be leveling down rather than leveling up. But not only do arbitrarily and excessively lenient sentences (whether imposed by judges or agreed to by prosecutors) to privileged individuals do nothing to address mass incarceration, they help to sustain it. The de facto exemption that upper-class people have from draconian drug laws, for example, is critical to keeping them on the books to be arbitrarily applied to some less privileged people.
- I am uncomfortable with the idea of recalling a judge over a particular sentence. I can see an argument that it’s justified in this case because of the judge’s rationale as opposed to the sentence per se. But it still sets a pretty bad precedent.
- Declaring that it’s “politically correct” to think that people should refrain from sexually assaulting others is pretty much perfect for the age of Trump.