October 10, 2010

Expensive cigarettes

  There are so many news reports about criminals getting off with light sentences, while oftentimes there’s little relief for the victims.
  A criminal case reported last year down in Waco, Texas, tells the story of a 55-year-old bad boy named Lenny Willis who stole a carton of cigarettes.
  This isn’t the first time Lenny has been in trouble with the law. According to the cops, the man’s criminal records reveal a history of eight felony convictions plus 12 misdemeanors.
  What got my attention to this case was the sentence Lenny got for stealing 10 packs of cigarettes — 99 years in The Big House!
  Seems like 99 years is a might stiff penalty for the theft of some smokes — but wait, there’s more. After snatching the cigarettes from a tobacco shop, Lenny tries to run. That’s when a nearby public-spirited citizen attempts to capture the fleeing criminal. Lenny simply knocks the guy down and gets away, but only for a little while. Too many people saw Lenny’s misdeed and his mug shots are in every cop shop in the Lone Star state.
   The good citizen who gets knocked down is injured in his fall — that makes it an assault. The assault raises the seriousness of Lenny’s crime from simple larceny to robbery.
  So when the McLennan County jury considers Lenny’s case they factor in several things: The defendant has a history of 20 criminal convictions, which makes him an habitual criminal; and he caused physical injury to an innocent bystander who attempted to stop a crime in progress.
  Given these facts, Lenny will be 154 years old before he gets out of a Texas prison, unless he is able to make parole before July of 2109.

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