Sun Sentinel Columnist Mike Mayo weighed in the day after Jenne’s sentence with a column full of invective tripe criticizing Judge D for his lenient treatment of a rich and powerful politician.
Mayo’s column pandering to the ignorant and baseless of Broward is HERE
Here is part of what Mayo wrote:
It was stunning and sad, seeing Broward County's former top cop led away Friday.But it was also a little enraging to see the way justice plays out for the powerful and connected. Sitting through the show that was Jenne's sentencing hearing, with its parade of power brokers testifying on his behalf, I had the distinct impression that if this were you or I, we might not have gotten the same courtesies.
Not only is Mr. Mayo dead wrong, but it is that kind of ‘the justice system is fixed for the powerful” crap that causes the problems we now have today in criminal law.
First as to Ken Jenne: Judge D did just what we want a Judge to do in a sentencing hearing: he weighed the defendant’s entire life against his admitted crimes. Judge D saw beyond the public’s cry for blood lust and vengeance and he fashioned a sentence that punished Mr. Jenne but was proportionate to his crime. Mr. Jenne served the public for over 30 years, and for the most part he served the public well. He left a lucrative law practice for public service, and along the way he made mistakes and lapses of judgment that became crimes. Jenne damn well should have known better, and for that reason the former Sheriff of Broward County sits in jail cell as you are reading this. That along with the public humiliation, probable disbarment, possible loss of pension, and financial burdens now thrust upon Mr. Jenne’s 60 year old wife are sufficient punishment for this man.
But Mr. Mayo cannot (or more likely ,chooses not) to see that the justice system does not exist merely for the judge to be a human calculator in which he or she totals the high possible sentence and then imposes that sentence. We have had (and currently have) our share of those Judges in Miami State court, and none of those Judges are especially admired for their acumen, insight and legal decisions.
In Mayo’s world, every time a judge does not arrive at the maximum sentence, especially for a public figure, it means the justice system is broken and served by a bunch of liberal “turn em loose” Judges who with a wink and a nod let their politician pals loose. That type of column catches the eye of the public, not to mention Hollywood, but it does a disservice to the readers of the Sun Sentinel and the citizens of Broward.
Mr. Mayo wonders about whether the average citizen gets a sentencing hearing like Mr. Jenne has had before Judge D. The answer is an emphatic yes! Just how many sentencing hearings conducted by Judge D has Mr. Mayo sat through, before he decided to cry out in public that another rich and powerful politician had gotten off again? We’d venture to guess that the answer is none. The truth is that the practice in the Southern District is that the counsel for the defendant informs the chambers of the Judge how long the sentencing hearing will take, and in every instance we have been involved in, the Judge’s staff accommodates the defense and schedules sufficient time on the calendar for the Judge to carefully listen to what the defendant and his supporters have to say.
Apparently Mayo's ideal Judge would have said "I've read the newspaper coverage of Mr. Jenne's activities and that's all I need to hear. There will be no witnesses at this sentencing hearing, and I will be imposing the very highest sentence allowable by law." Maybe Mr. Mayo and Dick Cheney want a justice system that does that, but speaking for the rest of the civilized world, we'll take the current system where a Federal Judge is immune from politics and pressure in arriving at a fair and just sentence.
If the powerful get off, Mr. Jenne would be home right now carving a Turkey and toasting his defense attorney. What bothers us is that what Mayo has done is pander to the public’s ignorance of the justice system and their appetite to hear that another powerful figure “got off”.
The BBC has an articleHERE that reports about a study that has determined that an 8 fold increase in the US prison population since 1970 has done little to end recidivism and crime in the US, while taxpayers spend more than 27 billion dollars a year warehousing people with little positive effect.
Here’s a headline for Mayo’s paper: “The Prison System in US is a Failure.” But that doesn’t inspire the populist outrage that Mayo is looking for. Easier to write tripe about lenient Judges and powerful politicians , then a thoughtful examination of the real issues at hand.
On Thanksgiving Mr. Mayo will enjoy his Turkey with his loved ones while Ken Jenne sits in a federal jail cell pondering his wrecked life. And that's the way it should be. Ken Jenne needed to be punished for his crimes. But nobody should get away with calling Mr. Jenne's sentence a gift. It wasn't. It was proper punishment meted out by a good Judge to a good man who made some tragically poor decisions while otherwise serving the public.