Apparently, Federal prosecutors in the case against the former CEO of Agriprocessors think so. Citing Mr. Rubashkin’s “blatant lawlessness, utter lack of remorse, his egregious and repeated attempts to obstruct justice,” they have asked Judge Linda R. Reade to impose a life sentence. While all of that may be true, can anyone honestly believe that such a sentence would be just?
Animated by precisely that question, a letter written to Judge Reade on Monday, by six former attorneys general, one former solicitor general and more than a dozen former United States attorneys criticized “the government’s extreme sentencing position” and the “potentially severe injustice” that could result.
There is nothing to defend as far as Mr. Rubashkin’s actions are concerned. He has lied, cheated, and remained arrogant about it all – minimizing the significance of his misdeeds in light of the “greater good” served by his commitment to Jewish educational and charitable causes. Frankly it’s shameful. But worthy of a death sentence? Please.
We send people to prison because of their offenses, not because of their offensive thinking –even when that thinking is really offensive.
Is this, as some have suggested, about anti-Semitism on the part of prosecutors? I don’t know, and don’t imagine that it is. But something is badly amiss here and it needs to be addressed. Let’s hope that it is.