The Rise and Fall of Kwame Kilpatrick

The sentencing of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick made quite a stir today. Judge David Groner threw the proverbial book at Mr. Kilpatrick sentencing him with up to five years in prison. (Although, I think the announcement of Steve Yzerman heading to Tampa Bay as the GM of the Lightening is a bigger story. I’m probably in the minority.)

I’m wrestling with how I feel about the sentencing. On one hand, I agree with the Judge Groner’s reasoning for the sentence. Based on my observations, Mr. Kilpatrick has shown nothing but contempt for the City of Detroit and the American legal system working diligently to avoid paying his ordered restitution. In light of all that’s gone on, I agree that Mr. Kilpatrick should spend time in jail. None of the other penalties put in place by the court seem to have affected Mr. Kilpatrick’s behavior.

Yet, there’s another issue. What about the restitution? Judge Groner did not remove the requirement for restitution to be paid. Which I think is appropriate and important. The actions of Mr. Kilpatrick while he was mayor of Detroit cost the city over eight million dollars (of which the restitution covers only a small portion). But, how will he pay that restitution while incarcerated? The City of Detroit must now wait for at least 14 months before Mr. Kilpatrick will be able to begin to pay the rest of the money he owes to the city. In the mean time, the tax dollars of the citizens of Wayne County will be used to pay the costs associated with Mr. Kilpatrick’s incarceration.

That sticks in my craw. Our state is hurting financially and this situation seems to be exacerbating the situation. Yet, what else can the court do? The court ordered the restitution to be paid and Mr. Kilpatrick worked diligently to circumvent our legal system and avoid paying that restitution. I guess I wish the court had other options.

I’m curious, what do you think regarding the sentence handed out today by Judge Groner?

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