Paul Manafort's prison sentence increased to seven-and-a-half years Wednesday — three years longer than the 47-month sentence he was given last week. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is among many who questioned how race, wealth and privilege play a role in the U.S. justice system after the former Trump campaign manager's initial sentence fell short of the 19-to-24-year guideline.
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I am really perplexed by the ruling in the Paul Manafort tax evasion case. He was only sentenced to 47 months for a scheme that involved evading millions in taxes and lying to the government. Sentences for lesser crimes, say for example theft, are sometimes harsher. Some people get a 10-year sentence for possession of marijuana. It seems like the justice system is tilted toward rich criminals.
What does Manafort's 47-month sentence say to people who are not wealthy in America, when wealthy people who commit crimes are held to a more lenient standard? If we are to have faith in our justice system, don't we really need to have a more just system when it comes to sentencing? Or is this just an example of the privilege of wealth? How else are we supposed to see this extreme disparity in our justice system?
John R. Munn; Englewood, Fla.
No doubt, there will be many who are disappointed in Paul Manafort’s 47-month prison sentence. But Manafort killed no one. His crime is financial. And worse crimes have been committed, where the prison sentence was less than the guideline. Forty-seven months is a long time to be separated from family, the comforts of home and freedom. Most importantly, the man will be punished for his crimes.
JoAnn Lee Frank; Clearwater, Fla.
After Judge T.S. Ellis went rogue by breaking so drastically from sentencing guidelines, why aren't the Republicans crying about an activist judge writing his own law? Maybe the jury should do the sentencing. Or perhaps at least two judges should have to agree on the sentence. Ellis' apparent bias is another argument for judicial term limits.
Manafort defrauded American banks and taxpayers out of millions of dollars. If a desperate, unemployed minority with no record stole hundreds of dollars worth of groceries, he would likely get a longer sentence than Manafort.
Curt Freeberg; Byron, Ill.
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Hard to feel sorry for him. Lots of people get long sentences for lesser offenses. Name, color and money make a difference in too many cases. There should be some recourse when judges are as corrupt as the people they are sentencing.
— Betty Ann Manock
I think this has less to do with race and more to do with wealth and class. O.J. Simpson was black and got away scot-free because he had the best defense team money could buy.
— Nick Schooler
Of course they were at play. "A blameless life"! When did he think Manafort committed those crimes, a week before being arrested? No, he committed those crimes over a 30 year span, that is not a "blameless life", he never got caught because he led a deceptive life.— Richard Kapuaala (@rkapuaala) March 11, 2019
Manafort is rich and therefore considered intelligent and ambitious. He is seen as a pillar of society and too well-connected to be rubbing shoulders with average, everyday prisoners. White collar criminals are considered a cut above the rest.
— Linda Rose
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Manafort sentence exemplifies privilege in the justice system: Readers sound off