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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Deaths bring widely differing sentences

Thursday, October 10, 2002

The Associated Press reported on the same day this week two murders in two different parts of the country that clearly illustrates the wide difference in sentencing in this nation. Perhaps geography and circumstances make all the difference. But that doesn't make it right.

Here's the two examples. In Miami, Juvon Pickett and his girlfriend Pecynthia Bradley were convicted of murder for the beating death of Pecynthia's 2-year-old daughter and sentenced to life in prison. Juvon beat the girl to death when she ate some breakfast sausages that Juvon had wanted. Testimony showed that he slammed the 2-year-old against a wall and refrigerator and then pressed his fist against her stomach to try to get her to throw up the sausages. The child was rushed to the hospital but died after being removed from a life support system.

Meanwhile in Kansas City, James Calloway was convicted for the murder of his 2-year-old son when the youngster wet his pants. The boy, TyQuan Allen Reed died last year after being taken to an emergency room with head injuries and bruises. But for this murder, Calloway received only a 23 year prison term.

I'm sure there are details missing from the news report that may have added different circumstances to these two murders. But on the surface at least, two young children were brutally beaten and killed. Yet one man will die in prison while the other will probably be eligible for parole in a dozen years or so.

I accept the argument that we cannot mandate equal sentences because each case is different. But to me at least, the important issue is that two children are dead at the hands of their adult caretakers. It seems to me that the sentences in these two examples are so different that it makes a mockery of the judicial system.

And the differences in punishment is neither right nor just.

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