Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Incarceration Not Warranted

On November 28th, Councilman Daryl Jones will appear in Judge Ellen L. Hollander's court room for sentencing on his failure to file 35 tax returns over a four year period. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I met Daryl Jones in the summer of 2006. I immediately liked the guy and endorsed his candidacy in both the primary and general elections. Today, I still consider him a friend. Thus, I respect the fact some will naturally point out my bias. Regardless, I don't think he belongs in federal prison.

Since I am not a lawyer, I had to rely on others to gauge his chances of receiving a term of incarceration. On average, most people have told me the guidelines call for at least a thirteen month sentence. I am sorry, but the punishment doesn't fit the crime. After all, he's lived on this earth 47 years and only has this brush with the law. A graduate of University of Baltimore Law School in 1992, Daryl Jones has a solid reputation in the legal community. Likewise, he has served the First Council District well since his election in 2006.

Make no mistake, I am not glossing over this clear violation of the law. Obviously, he owes the federal government $108,369. Of course, how can he start to repay this debt if he has to give up a year or so of his life living beside career criminals? To me, secure confinement defies logic in this case.

At times, the federal judicial system likes to make examples of high profile figures. Thus, I fear the recently appointed Judge Hollander will overlook common sense in favor of making a name for herself. Keep in mind, this plea already puts Jones' law license in jeopardy. Now, if we couple that with a year behind bars, that will decrease the chances of Jones' ability to make good on this substantial sum of money.

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