By PAUL THARP, Staff Writer
I’m no expert, but the ol’ law degree, etc., is supposed to confer a better understanding of the law and legal procedure than what our profession calls the laity, a wholly inappropriate name, I believe, for Jane and John Doe.
When it comes to trying to explain what justice is, why, I’m just as clueless as Jane and John, and rightfully.
Like Jane and John, I watched with interest as two high-profile cases that grabbed headlines for months reached their sentencing phases in the Queen City in December – one at the federal courthouse and the other down the hill in superior court.
In federal court, U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced the Rev. Anthony Jinwright to eight years and nine months in prison. Jinwright’s wife, Harriet, got six years and eight months. The Jinwrights also have to pay the Internal Revenue Service more than $1 million and the state $213,666, according to the Charlotte Observer.
The Jinwrights had been found guilty of tax evasion. Jane and John, that means they didn’t pay their taxes. U.S. Attorney David Brown called them “tax cheats.”
In superior court, former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Marcus Jackson was sentenced to a maximum of three years after pleading guilty to six felonies and nine misdemeanors, including eight counts of sexual assault.
With credit for time served, Jackson will be out next year.
One of Jackson’s victims, a 38-year-old woman, told the Observer she was still scared of him. He pulled her over twice. The first time he fondled her breasts. The second time her boyfriend called 911, so Jackson arrested him.
During another traffic stop, Jackson told a 17-year-old girl if she performed oral sex on him, he wouldn’t write her a ticket.
The assistant district attorney who prosecuted Jackson’s case told Judge Yvonne Mims Evans that Jackson’s DNA was found on the teen’s jacket hood and sleeves, according to the Observer.
Jackson was accused of fondling five other women.
He is 26. The Jinwrights are 54 and 51, respectively.
The sentences were handed down in separate courtrooms by different judges applying different bodies of law in different circumstances.
That’s all I can tell Jane and John, because if I use common sense, well, it doesn’t make any sense. Pay your taxes, by God.
To get a sentence like the Jinwrights got in superior court, you have to be Randy Moorehead. According to WBT, he had already been arrested six times and found guilty of attempted larceny of a motor vehicle, robbery and possession of cocaine.
He was on probation for possession of cocaine with intent to sell when his girlfriend asked him to watch her 22-month-old daughter. When the daughter wouldn’t stop crying, he shook her so violently that she died two days later of so-called “shaken baby syndrome.”
Prosecutors dropped murder charges against him. The week before the Jinwrights and Jackson were sentenced, Moorehead got 10 years for child abuse.
Justice is as justice does.
Police arrested Antoine D. Young after he allegedly broke into Christopher Radok’s east Charlotte residence a week ago today, according to WSOC. Radok made the mistake of coming home, police said. Young stabbed him to death.
Young’s no stranger to law enforcement. According to the Department of Corrections’ site, he’s racked up close to a baker’s dozen felonies.
Jane and John wonder if Young’s record will warrant a baker’s dozen years in the pen, like a tax cheat.
Editor’s note: Tharp is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law and UNC-Wilmington, where he majored in English and minored in philosophy. Prior to joining Lawyers Weekly, he practiced law for six years.