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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Monday, January 13, 2003

Cross Burning Cases

Well, we are verging on "All Pickering, all the time" here. The question before the house is, what does a normal sentence look like in a cross burning case? Obviously, the goal is to ascertain whether Pickering was too harsh, too lenient, or what. So, here we go, "google" at the ready.

Louisiana: Facing up to ten years, sentenced to... I don't know!

Ohio: facing up to 10 years, finally sentenced to two years, on what looks like a plea deal.

Robeline, LA: facing up to ten years, sentenced to to four months. This looks very much like a plea deal.

Texas: plea deals of thirteen to fifteen months. But scroll down, and apparently the hammer came down on one other defendants - The lead defendant, Matthew Marshall, received 10 years for using fire in the commission of a felony.

Well, now. Swan was apparently offered 1 1/12 years on a plea deal (WSJ), which is in the range what seem to be three plea deals here. But the lead conspirator in one case got ten years, with the arson charge added. Hey, but Swan wasn't the ringleader!

All right, there must be a hate crimes group that tracks these stats. Where?

And one of these links goes on to a database of DoJ press releases. But only for Western LA. Still...

OK, PDF files and the Adobe Acrobat that reads them are crashing my computer. But here is a group that tracks hate crimes, and they don't show any cross burnings since 1999. Can that be right?

And Yahoo offers some promising links.

OK, stream of consciousness blogging ends for the day. The Texas case seems to lean Pickering's way, but I am roughly as puzzled as before.

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