30 Days In Jail For Rape, And Other Horrific Court Rulings

Indrani Sengupta
From sentences that were too light, given the crime, to those that were much too harsh, seeing these court-ruled punishments side by side demonstrates how time and again, our legal system produces some truly heinous miscarriages of justice.

30 Days For Rape

In 2014, a Montana judge sentenced a teacher, Stacey Rambold, to 30 days in jail for having non-consensual sex with his 14 year old student. The student committed suicide after the incident, but Judge Todd Baugh felt that the young girl was “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher.”

Stacey Rambold

Thankfully, the sentence was overruled and Rambold was given 10 years in prison, which is still pretty light, considering….

4 Years For Medical Marijuana

In 1997, US Army veteran Will Foster had started growing medical marijuana to help ease his crippling rheumatoid arthritis. He was sentenced to 93 years in prison, serving 4 of them. 7 years later, he was arrested again. He spent a year in jail before he was released.

Compare the law’s treatment of Foster to….

10 Years For Child Rape

In 2015, Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto was sentenced to a decade in prison for sodomizing a 3-year old girl. Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Marc Kelly ruled that California’s mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life for such crimes would constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.” Because sexually molesting a toddler isn’t “cruel” or “unusual” enough.

Judge Kelly concluded that Rojano-Nieto wasn’t a “true pedophile,” whatever that means.

"There was no violence or callous disregard for (the victim's) well-being."

Judge Kelly has a far different definition of “disregard” than we do.

Compare this to….

25 Years For Selling Pain Pills To An Informant

John Horner sold his pain pills (prescribed for an accident in which he lost an eye) to an undercover informant who befriended him and appealed to his compassion, claiming that he could not afford his prescription medication. Horner had no history of drug-dealing, and is now serving 25 years in prison for falling for an informant’s shameless trick.

Compare this to...

14 Years For Massive Fraud Felony

The former CEO of Enron, Jeff Skilling, was convicted in 2006 for arguably the largest accounting fraud in history, which cost employees billions of dollars. His victims received over $41 million in restitution. But because white collar crime isn’t explicitly violent--- though it is cruel and violent in its eventual impact--- Skilling received a rather light sentence for compromising so many lives, of people who trusted him.

jeff Skilling

That being said, Skilling was unable to attend the funerals of both his father and his son due to his imprisonment, which is a worse punishment than any law can dole out. He has our sympathies for that.

Nonetheless, it's important to compare the length of his official sentence to….

20 Years For Failure To Protect Child

This may seem completely reasonable at first glance, until you look at the details. 12 year old Collin Grant’s mother, Alishia Mackey, was sentenced to 20 years for failing to protect him from his rapist stepfather.

Alishia Mackey

His stepfather pled guilty to rape, forcible sodomy, and a number of other sex crimes…and was given 15 years.

The crime itself was sentenced less harshly than the failure to prevent the crime.

Collin, meanwhile, has had to grow up without his mom.

“Honestly, I would rather have gone through the abuse for the rest of my life.”  

Compare this to….

10 Years Probation For Fatal DUI

16 year old Ethan Crouch killed four people in a drunk driving incident. And this was not his first offense. But his defendants argued that he was suffering from “affluenza,” which you’ll recognize as a disease of the made-up variety. Basically, they claimed that Crouch was not responsible for his actions, because his affluent, privileged lifestyle had such an adverse impact on him.

As if rich people didn’t have enough going for them.

Compare this to...

3 Years At An Abusive Prison, For Nothing

Kalief Browder was also 16 when he was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack. He was never given a trial, and was eventually released 3 years later. But the damage had been done—years of abuse at the hands of guards and fellow prisoners, 2 years in solitary confinement for no good reason. Browder committed suicide this year.

Read more: Man Jailed For 3 Years Without Trial Commits Suicide