As disgraced former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick prepares to head off to prison, the question remains whether his sentence of 18 months to five years is too harsh, too lenient or appropriate.
At press time Kilpatrick was being transported to Jackson Prison where he will begin serving time.
Political consultant Adolph Mongo called the sentencing racism.
“This is Jim Crow all over again,” said Mongo, who added that the sentencing might as well have taken place in Sunflower County, Mississippi in 1955. He also implied that Circuit Court Judge David Groner had acted inappropriately.
“This is the same judge that let out the alleged gunman that shot the police officer twice, maybe three times,” Mongo said. “He had fought with a cop. He had been picked up and was carrying a weapon. And he let him out.”
Jason Gibson, accused shooter of officer Brian Huff earlier this month, had been on probation to Groner for a 2007 case. According to reports, he pleaded guilty to drug possession and attempting to disarm a police officer.
Mongo also said a jail term of 30 to 90 days would have been more appropriate, and that it was never about the money Kilpatrick owes to the city.
“We have murder and mayhem (in this city) and they’re worried about Kwame Kilpatrick,” he said. “Unbelievable.”
During the sentencing proceedings, Groner told Kilpatrick, who had been convicted of probation violations last month, that his testimony had amounted to perjury.
Groner had previously told Kilpatrick that probation was no longer an option and that the 120 days he had served in 2008 had done nothing to rehabilitate him. He also chastised Kilpatrick for not substantially paying down the balance of his restitution, despite having the ability to do so.
To date, Kilpatrick has paid some $140,000 of his $1 million restitution.
“I think the sentence that Judge Groner issued was basically a ‘how dare you?’ sentence,” said entrepreneur and former charter commission candidate Jonathan Kinloch. “I think it was a little overreaching for these crimes. You would hope that those who issue justice are able to subdue their passion when administering justice.”
Kinloch added that a sentence of six months to one year would’ve been more fitting, even taking into account that Judge Groner had legitimate reason to feel offended by Kilpatrick’s interactions with the court.
To Kinloch, the fact that Kilpatrick received an upper limit of five years shows too much emotion on Groner’s part. He finds that disturbing.
“A five year sentence?” Kinloch asked. “Who did he murder?”
Kilpatrick, who was fired from his job with the Compuware subsidiary Covisant in Dallas, will get credit for the 120 days already served.
Attorney Ray Paige said the sentence was abusive and outside sentencing guidelines.
“To send the former mayor to prison serves no good will to the public or the private sector,” said Paige. “He’s lost his job. The kids have lost a father for a year to a year and a half. Carlita Kilpatrick has lost her husband and has no source of income to provide for her family at this time.”
Paige added that there are no winners in this. He also believes sending Kilpatrick to prison has a punitive “I got you” philosophy attached to it.
He also said all the recent public and judicial scrutiny got Kilpatrick’s attention and that he has learned his lesson about following the court’s instructions and making his restitution payments. He thinks Kilpatrick deserved another chance and doesn’t believe Kilpatrick should have gotten any jail time.
He said an audit of restitution payments by citizens in Wayne County would likely show that Kilpatrick has performed at the top 1 percent in making payments.
Because of Kwame Kilpatrick’s status as a former mayor, and as such a member of law enforcement, Paige said he should serve his sentence outside Michigan.
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!
- Detroit Begins A New Chapter as Detroit Bankruptcy is Allowed to Proceed (1)
- Joyce Hayes Giles retires after 35 years with DTE (2)
- Sarah Palin accuses Obama of Libya ‘shuck and jive’ (1)
- Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, pension cuts (2)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network among lowest priced health plans on Michigan’s ACA health insurance marketplace (1)