MANSFIELD: The Law and Morality

When Jeffery Epstein was arrested and prosecuted in Florida back in 2008, he had a team of high-powered lawyers secure him a sweetheart deal that allowed him to continue as a child predator until last week when he was arrested as he stepped off his private jet upon its arrival from Paris. My question is, how many more young girls were abused during the intervening 11-plus years?

More to the point, while I understand that our legal system allows for a defendant to have the best lawyer they can afford, do those lawyers have any responsibility to try to assist the courts in fashioning a sentence that protects future potential victims — in Epstein’s case, underage girls — or are they simply like Nazi concentration camp guards, claiming “I was just doing my job”?

This question might play out again here in Cuyahoga County as a result of the sting entitled “Operation Triple Play” whereby a host of law enforcement agencies set up fake social media pages pretending to be 14- and 15-year-old girls and inviting adult men over to a house in Newburgh Heights for sexual trysts. In all, 28 men (mostly locals, with one from Youngstown) responded and were promptly arrested and charged with felonies.

Since the vehicles they arrived in were considered criminal tools (it is sort of amazing how the cops can make anything into a criminal tool, but that’s another story for another day), they were impounded. One of them was a brand-new Mercedes, but it didn’t stay at the impound lot long. The next day the owner had his car back.

None of the other 28 alleged miscreants was so lucky, at least not to my knowledge.

Does this mean that the owner of the Benz will also get preferential treatment in court as the cases are adjudicated? All of the men were arrested for the exact same crime, but will wealth once again place its ugly thumb on the Scales of Justice to ensure that one of the men gets essentially a pass for his conduct due to his ability to hire a top-flight lawyer?

If this wealthy individual isn’t sentenced to in-patient treatment and probation similar to how Michael Cosgrove, a former City of Cleveland official, was sentenced, something is clearly wrong with our system of justice. It failed to protect future victims in the Jeffery Epstein case and we should make damn sure there is not a similar outcome here in Cleveland. Young girls’ safety could depend on our vigilance.

What if that individual, due to escaping virtually any punishment, is then successful in meeting with and raping an underage girl? How would the lawyer that enabled him to escape corrective punishment be able to sleep at night? Or would he sleep very well, with his bank book tucked snugly under his pillow?

Trust this: I will be watching the outcomes of these cases like a hawk and will be duly reporting on any legal shenanigans or favoritism based on financial — or any other — status.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.

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