Sometimes the American justice system works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Too many times with court sentences, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. The justice system will give long jail sentences to people charged with non-violent crimes and let murderers off for time served.
Here are five examples of incidents where justice was miscalculated, resulting in ridiculous court sentences.
Latasha Harlins was a 15-year-old girl who was shot by a Korean grocery store clerk in an argument about milk. The owner was sentenced to community service, probation, and a fine.
The incident happened around the same time as the Rodney King beatings, and is credited as being one of the contributing factors to the L.A. riots.
4. James V. Taylor
Police found such a small amount of crack cocaine in James V. Taylor’s car that investigators described it as unweighable. But somehow, It was enough for a 15-year prison sentence in Missouri, where the courts make an enormous distinction between crack and powder cocaine.
3. Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton was caught with .8 grams of cocaine in Las Vegas. Despite an arrest record for drunk driving, she was sentenced to only community service.
2. Genarlow Wilson
Genarlow Wilson was a 17-year-old high school football player who was videotaped receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl. Despite the fact that the sex was consensual, Wilson was sentenced to 10 years on statutory rape charges.
1. Oscar Grant
BART Officer Johannes Mehserle was caught on a cell-phone camera shooting and killing 22-year-old Oscar Grant in a Bay Area subway station. The shooting occurred while Grant was on the floor in handcuffs.
After a highly publicized trial, Mehserle would be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to a few months after time served. He was released earlier this year.