An appeals court in Illinois upheld a decision to sentence a drug-addicted homeless man to a whopping 10 years behind bars for stealing underwear worth less than $50.
An Illinois Appellate Court decided that it was not proper to change the terms of the sentence for the man, who illegally nabbed $33 worth of underwear from a Family Dollar Store in 2015, Injustice Watch reported Tuesday.
Appellate Judge Terrence Lavin wrote that it was not the role of the appeals court to substitute its decision for one that had already been made. The judge presiding over the original trial, Circuit Judge Mary Margaret Brosnahan, gave David Lundy the 10 year sentence. Lundy had 10 previous convictions over 22 years at the time of his trial, none of them involving violence.
Writing in dissension was Appellate Judge Michael Hyman, who said the punishment was disproportionate with the crime committed.
The "sentence punished Lundy more for the numerous difficulties brought about by his economic status (impoverished), illness (drug addiction) and condition (homelessness) than for the offence for which he was convicted," Hyman wrote.
His dissent quoted late South African President Nelson Mandela, who said, "A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones."
According to Injustice Watch, Lundy entered the dollar store and started stuffing underwear into a small bag and his jacket. Store employee Patricia Parker confronted Lundy, who responded by pulling out a knife and warning her to stay away. As he exited the store, Lundy told employees, "I'm going to kill you," noting further, "with this knife." Upon leaving the store, police officers found Lundy and put him in handcuffs. The officers discovered Lundy had a total of three packets of T-shirts and one package of underwear that he had stolen.
According to the dissenting judge, "The majority [opinion] portrays Lundy as dangerous — a betrayal of the facts. Rather, the testimony of two store employees describes a minor incident. Again, one employee said that Lundy's behavior was ‘not upsetting for a small woman like me,' and the other expressed no fear or concern for her safety."
Meanwhile, one high-profile figure recently received a remarkably lenient sentence for alleged pedophilia. Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was accused of running an underage prostitution ring in 2008. One of the prosecutors on the case, current US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, reached a plea deal with Epstein's lawyers that saw the financier serve just 13 months behind bars, Sputnik reported. More than 80 victims have been identified by the Miami Herald. During Epstein's sentence, he was allowed to leave six days a week for work, and the year of house arrest that followed enabled him to fly out to New York and the Virgin Islands.