by Jay Greenberg, NeonNettle
Judge Jan Jurden decided that the Elite pedophile needed treatment rather than prison time saying that he had “unique circumstances” despite further accusations that he’d also sexually abused his toddler son.
Her puzzling rationale was based on her own observation that prison life would adversely affect Richards.
Several criminal justice authorities in Delaware said that her view that treatment was a better idea than prison is a justification typically used when sentencing drug addicts, not child rapists.
Delaware Online reports: Richards’ 2009 rape case became public this month after attorneys for his ex-wife Tracy filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the abuse of his daughter. The fact that Jurden expressed concern that prison wasn’t right for Richards came as a surprise to defense lawyers and prosecutors who consider her a tough sentencing judge.
Several noted that prison officials can put inmates in protective custody if they are worried about their safety, noting that child abusers are sometimes targeted by other inmates.”It’s an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well,” said Delaware Public Defender Brendan J. O’Neill, whose office represents defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. “Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn’t proven to be true in most circumstances.”
O’Neill said he and his deputies have often argued that a defendant was too ill or frail for prison, but he has never seen a judge cite it as a “reason not to send someone to jail.”
Richards was no frail defendant, court records show, listing him at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and between 250 and 276 pounds. Nor do court records cite any physical illnesses.
O’Neill said the way the Richards case was handled might cause the public to be skeptical about “how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system.”
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