Friday, September 13, 2019

Opening The Jail Cells

Joe Biden is hopping mad, and should be expected to direct his ire toward federal judge Indira Talwani.

On Friday, Judge Talwani sentenced Felicity Huffman to 14 days in jail/prison (plus supervised release, community service, and to pay a fine). This no doubt does not sit well with the ex-vice president and ex-senator, who at the Democratic debate Thursday night stated

Nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime. As — when we were in the White House, we released 36,000 people from the federal prison system. Nobody should be in jail for a drug problem. They should be going directly to a rehabilitation. We build more rehabilitation centers, not prisons.

Biden emphasizes that individuals with a drug problem may be in prison, whether he/she merely uses the illegal substances or additionally distributes them as part of an organized crime operation. However, he maintained also "nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime (and) we released 36,000 people from the federal prison system."

It would have been an ideal time for one of the nine other candidates to interject something similar to "I, too, believe too many Americans are in prison. However, there is one person I'd like to see there- Donald J. Trump." Alas, no one thought of it, or this set of candidates is loathe to see anyone behind bars.

It would have been neither a cheap shot at a corrupt president nor merely a way to get what would have been the most raucous ovation of the night.

Biden's statement was uncommonly stupid. Donald Trump appears to be guilty of numerous white collar crimes, as income tax returns and loan documents he is still hoarding would very likely indicate. However, he is not unique among Americans in committing white collar crimes, although the scope of his offenses may be.  One tweeter rhetorically asks
Some non-violent crimes not of the white collar variety often warrant incarceration. Among them are being part of a drug distribution ring; motor vehicle theft; and burglary, particular of a home and especially if one or more individuals is present (below, an instance from 4/18 in which no one was home).

Given that Biden is not vying to be elected as a  judge or prosecuting attorney, this was among the least harmful of the foolish statements he made at Texas Southern University. Nor was he the only candidate (looking at you, Cory Booker) making an absurd remark about criminal justice. However, he's making a habit of this sort of thing while being sold as the experienced hand and most likely to defeat Donald Trump. That candidate has yet to make an appearance.

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