Letter to the Editor

Victim critical of judge's sentencing

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

To the editor:

Crime does pay. That's the opposite of what we're all supposed to think, but the reality of that should strike home when a young woman who embezzled $48,000 from her physician employer and called in more than 60 illegal prescriptions for herself was only sentenced to probation by Judge Ben Lewis. Probation is understandable and appropriate if applied to a deserving situation, but not here. This crime spanned the two-year length of her employment with daily deception, elaborate schemes, much premeditation and planning. Each of the 107 forgeries and 60 illegal prescriptions represented separate opportunities for this adult to contemplate right from wrong, and she chose wrong every time.

Collateral damage to the physician's business is still being repaired at his expense. Admission of guilt and repentance, which are usual prerequisites for probation, are missing. The physician-victim only asked the court to consider four months of shock detention.

The process now proceeds to a hearing in March to determine the amount of restitution. That's where the secretary will swear that she's telling the truth and will surely testify that she can't afford to pay back $48,000 over five years. Our judge then determines how much this woman can afford.

Subtract restitution discount and lack of punishment from total money stolen, and that equals pure unadulterated criminal profit. Judges don't like criticism. But judges aren't above it. He deserves it, and it needed to be said. We'll see how professional he is in March.

Dr. PAUL W. CLARKE, Cape Girardeau