Saturday, April 4, 2009

Where is justice?

Now we know what a human life is worth in Seattle.

Three teen-age Seattle boys have pleaded guilty to the unprovoked beating of 53-year-old Edward McMichael last October 25th. McMichael died nine days later of injuries sustained in the beating.

He was something of a local celebrity, a shy fellow known as The Tuba Man, who regularly provided impromptu tuba performances at local sporting events. And he is dead for no other reason that he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and caught someone's attention.

The boys were each fifteen years old the night of the attack. They pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter, but because they are juveniles, the most any of the three can receive as punishment for the senseless crime is 72 weeks in the King County Juvenile Detention Center.

County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg called such sentences "inadequate", when he announced Friday that the county had agreed to accept the guilty pleas, adding that Washington State law does not allow stiffer sentences for juveniles defendants in such cases.

Their confessions allowed them to escape the possibility that they could be arrested on more serious charges at some later time. According to Satterberg, the trio of teens could not be charged now, without the confessions, because none of the witnesses to the beating would come forward and identify the attackers.

Seventy-two weeks. Maximum. That is not even ten days for each of McMichael's 53 years on earth. And his three attackers will still be juveniles when they walk away from their cells sometime next year.

Tell me; where is the justice in that?