Too short for prison?

Several readers have sent me links to this bizarre story about a judge in Lincoln, Nebraska who sentenced a 5’1 man who was convicted of sexually assaulting a child to probation, rather than serving hard time in prison – because he was “too short” to “survive” a “state prison”:

LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) — A judge’s decision to sentence a 5-foot-1 man to probation instead of prison for sexually assaulting a child has angered crime victim advocates who say the punishment sends the wrong message.

But supporters of short people say it’s about time someone recognizes the unique challenges they face.

Cheyenne County District Judge Kristine Cecava issued the sentence Tuesday. She told Richard W. Thompson that his crimes deserved a long prison sentence but that he was too small to survive in a state prison.

Though he could have been sentenced to 10 years behind bars, he ended up with 10 years of probation instead. On Thursday, the state’s attorney general, Jon Bruning, promised to appeal within two weeks, calling the sentence far too lenient.

Nebraska state Senator Ernie Chambers gets to the heart of the matter:

State Sen. Ernie Chambers, a longtime critic of judges, said he was baffled by the sentence.

“If shortness is an excuse and protection from going to prison, short people ought to rob banks and do everything else they would wind up going to prison for,” Chambers said. “We’re talking here about a crime committed against a child, and shortness is not a defense.”

Exactly. The child Thompson sexually assaulted wasn’t afforded any special protections when he assaulted her, so why should her assaulter be protected?

Let’s hope that any of the over 1,000 sex offenders recently nabbed by the FBI who are considered “short” don’t get Judge Cecava presiding over their cases.

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