Today we learned Devin Sloane, second parent sentenced in U.S. college admission scandal got 4 months in jail, followed by 2 years probation, $95,000 fine and 500 hours community service. Sloane paid $250,000 to get his son into University of Southern California as a water polo recruit. In closing arguments Sloane’s lawyer pleaded for leniency, arguing Sloane was a good man lured into crime by admissions scam mastermind Rick Singer. Judge Indira Talwani asked – “Why does it matter, in terms of my sentencing, why someone else invited him to do this crime?” Talwani said the defense was putting people into two categories – good people who make mistakes, bad people who get caught. “I don’t sentence good people or bad people, I sentence people” Talwani said.
Prosecutors were seeking a year in jail. Prior to sentencing Assistant U.S. District Attorney Eric Rosen said Sloane’s crime was “far more egregious” than that of actress Felicity Huffman who paid $15,000 to rig her daughter’s entrance exam scores. Huffman was sentenced to two weeks prison time, a fine and 200 hours community service. Rosen argued Huffman took immediate responsibility, whereas Sloane made a show of blaming others. In contrast to Huffman’s two week incarceration slap on the wrist, I suppose four months for Sloane is justice served. Right?
Not so fast, seems we’ve forgotten U.S. justice sentences people by colour. In 2011 Tanya McDowell, a homeless woman from Bridgeport, Connecticut was sentenced to five years in prison for enrolling her then five year old son in a school district they didn’t reside in. Living out of her van and in homeless shelters, McDowell used her babysitter’s address to enroll her son in elementary school. She was arrested, charged with first degree larceny for “stolen” education and sentenced to five years.
Thump your patriotic heart America, but know you’ll never be great. Are you pleased with yourself? Content with black and white justice? Bothered by the fact a 2016 Washington Post investigation revealed white school districts received $23 billion more federal education funding than black school districts?
Who am I kidding? Homeless black women have no right to seek better education for their children – lock them up, throw away the key. American justice knows what’s best, understands rich white citizens grease the wheels. “I don’t sentence good people or bad people, I sentence people” – is that how you sleep at night America? What a nightmare.