“In a crisis, don’t hide behind anything or anybody. They’re going to find you anyway.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant
Back in April of this year LSU running back Jeremy Hill apparently “sucker punched” somebody outside of a Baton Rouge bar. It wasn’t Hill’s first run-in with the law. He was already on probation (as the story puts it) for unlawful carnal knowledge of a 14 year old when he was in high school. (I know, you’re shocked to find out that sort of thing happens in high school.)
So, here is Hill, already on probation and now charged with assault (and there is video evidence). The punishment? Jail time? No, community service.
We don’t have a criminal justice system to punish wrongdoers, to exact vengeance for their wrongs – though it will sometimes appear that this is exactly what is happening. We have a criminal justice system to protect the rights of individuals. Those rights are supposed to be protected equally. But for such equal protection it is necessary (though not sufficient) that all perpetrators understand they face the same threat of equal punishment.
Assault someone while you’re already on probation – and you go to JAIL! (Or is it “geaux” to jail?) That’s what happens for just about everybody, except, apparently, LSU standouts receiving “justice” from LSU alumni (two judges associated with the cases are both LSU graduates). But this isn’t about equal punishment, it is about the equal protection which flows from that threat of punishment. The people of Baton Rouge are less safe because LSU football players know they can commit crimes with impunity.
Naturally, the situation at LSU isn’t the only place in this country where crimes go less-than-punished for the right assailants. We all know of the “white collar crime” scam and places like “club fed“. Just add it to the list. If you come across a member of the “protected class” (whether Bernie Madoff of Jeremy Hill) just know that they may have fewer reservations about assaulting you. Be safe out there.