In the United States, it doesn’t matter who you are; if you’re rich, you receive special treatment in our “justice” system.
SC Johnson, the “family” company’s billionaire heir, Samuel Curtis Johnson III, who confessed to repeatedly sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter has received an outrageous prison sentence of only four months because the judge, Circuit Justice Eugene Gasiorkiewicz, feels that Johnson’s importance to the community is valued much higher than the dignity of his abused step-daughter.
You read that right. Affluenza, as it has been dubbed, has struck again. This billionaire has officially plead guilty to mere misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree sexual assault and disorderly conduct instead of receiving the maximum which is felony sexual assault on a minor child. These charges originally stem from 2011. Think Progress reported Johnson’s stepdaughter “initially told police Johnson was ‘a sex addict‘ and touched her inappropriately 15 to 20 times starting when she was 12 years old. She told her mother about the abuse in order to protect her younger sister, and Johnson confessed when the mother confronted him.” Because Johnson’s victim was unwilling to testify in the case, the prosecutors had to make a plea deal with Johnson and his legal team.
Johnson’s attorney, Michael F. Hart argued to Judge Gasiorkiewicz that the maximum prison term for his client was not fair and that is should be reserved for “maximum defendants,” people unlike his client (aka not billionaires with a prestigious name), who has no prior record and who leads a “productive life.” Again, the billionaire status and famous name apply to that “productive life.” He’s an heir, so remember folks, he’s inheriting this empire and inheriting this money. Very productive.
Add insult to injury, the judge made his decision based on other cases in which he has rarely gives first time offenders the maximum sentence. So instead the judge gave Johnson, a billionaire, a fine of $6,000. The judge ruled that he must serve at least 60 days of the sentence before he will be eligible for release.
Billionaire rapes an underage child, gets a sentence that a teenager gets for shoplifting. That’s what some people like to call the “invisible hand” in economics.
Affluenza is spreading, and it is spreading fast. Just last year, a Washington state judge failed to sentence Shaun Goodman, arrested for his 7th DUI (who, while going over 100 mph, crash into both a parked car and house), to any jail time. The reason? He was a local businessman, a rich businessman, and giving him jail time even after his 7th DUI “wouldn’t be fair for him,” as per the words of Judge James Dixon. Dixon brazenly violated the sentencing guidelines for DUI offenders, but that doesn’t matter when the person facing the crime is of an upper class and owns a business.
Now who could forget the smug little punk Ethan Couch, the Texas teen who killed four people in a drunk driving accident who got only 10 years’ probation? Because of his rich, elite status, his attorney argued that because he was raised in such affluent circumstances, he failed to grasp the concept of his negative actions and thus couldn’t be held responsible for his actions. Never mind that he plowed his car into four people and savagely murdered them. Never mind that after he realized what had happened he ran and left the scene. All that doesn’t matter. In the eyes of Texas District Judge Jean Boyd, this teen never faced jail time. Instead, he was given the luxury to attend a very expensive, very prestigious rehab center. Guess who is picking up the bulk of that rehab cost? Not his rich parents. Thanks to the taxpayers of the great state of Texas, Couch’s rehab bill has been dropped from $438,000 annually to only $13,870. Congrats, Taxpayers, you picked up 68% of the cost for a rich teen who got out of manslaughter charges simply because he was rich. America!
And, how about one to really make your blood boil. A trust fund baby, Robert H. Richards IV, who owns, among other things, a $1.8 million dollar mansion near the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, had his sentence of 8 years in prison for raping his daughter repeatedly between the ages of 3 and 5 as well as molesting his son starting at the age of 19 months, reduced. The reason? Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden didn’t think the rapist would not “fare in a level 5 prison.” Well that’s the point. It will let them learn from their mistakes while they sit and think about what it is they have done.