Late last week I heard a news story on the radio that caused a sensation of unjust sentencing anger in me. In short, the story went as follows: Chicago, IL A defendant, female, name unknown, needed to appear in front of a judge. Said defendant needed a ride to court, so she called her friend for a ride. The friend, female, Jennifer LaPenta, age 19, left the gym where she'd been, took a quick shower, and picked up the defendant. Arriving at the courthouse, LaPenta took a seat in the galley, and awaited her friends turn to face the judge (offense unknown). While sitting there, the judge, Helen R., noticed the t-shirt LaPenta was wearing (which read "I have the pussy, I make the rules", written comically with the 4th and 8th words taking up most of the material. You may have seen this shirt before, in a catalog or otherwise, and called her to stand in front of the bench. At this point, without asking her to: borrow a jacket, remove herself from the courtroom, or turn the shirt inside-out, the judge immediately sentenced her with contempt of the court punishable by 48 hours in jail. Are you kidding me???
Okay, I've spent more than a fair share of time in courtrooms in my days. Usually as the defendant, sometimes as the person sitting in the galley, awaiting for a friends ruling. In all of that time, I've seen all kinds of things happen, and odd sentences take place, but that one seems a little uncalled for. I've often been taken aback by what people show up to court in, or what state of intoxication they stumble into the room in. I've seen people show up on the wrong day, and one time two guys show up an entire month early. I've witnessed ridiculous lawsuits, slaps on the wrist when jail time was called for, contraband collected while the defendant approached the bench, endless attempts to sway the judge with tears (which plainly didn't work on the cop in the first place), people yell at the judge, and judges unload on the defendant. I've even seen judges ask people to leave the courtroom, and come back when they have changed. But I've never seen a judge pick out a random "witness" for their attire, and throw them in jail without any previous request to have them change/leave.
Just today I found out that the judge did apologize, and that the so-called offense has been expunged from LaPenta's record, but somehow her mugshot made it onto the internet. I have not searched for it, nor do I plan to, but if that is readily available for anybody to find, then that 19 year old's one little lack of common sense will be haunting her for years and years to come. Any future job application, for one, now that nearly every employer does a full background search for potential hires, employing the use of google. I ,for one, hope that this does not end up haunting her for years to come, but one never knows. For the internet has funny ways of twisting the already twisted, and it never goes away.
That is all for now. Peace out y'all!