For Cheating on College Admission

Prosecutors want a whole month in jail for Felicity Huffman, who’s pled out for trying to buy her daughter’s way into college.  That seems light to me, for what amounts to a bribery beef.

On the other hand, her attorneys

pleaded with a Boston federal judge Friday to spare her jail time after she pleaded guilty in connection with the college admissions bribery scandal and instead give her probation, community service and a fine.

This is an even lighter sentence than the prosecutors are requesting.  Apparently, what amounts to a crime of bribery is no big deal.  Furthermore, the “fine” of $20,000 is an insult.  That’s pocket money for someone of Huffman’s means and income.

On the other hand, I don’t entirely disagree that a year’s probation and community service for a first-time offender make a good framework for suitable punishment.

Let’s have her serve the terms of her punishment, though, like she means it.  Take Huffman out of the environment in which she was led astray, put her under probation in Baltimore, not Los Angeles.

Instead of the 250 hours of community service with at-risk youth that the defense “offered”—a bare six weeks of 8-hour days, although no calendar interval was suggested for those hours—have Huffman do some serious community service with those youth: spend the entire year’s probation working with Baltimore’s at-risk youth, 2080 hours (because she hasn’t earned two weeks for vacation). No dilletantism to fill a court-ordered square; do 52 weeks of full-time work.

And to be sure she understands and faces the environment of that youth population as well as the youths themselves, have her live in an apartment in one of those at-risk neighborhoods, to be verified aperiodically and on a no-notice basis by her parole officer.

Those 20 stacks for the fine? Double it to take some of the sting out of the insult, and have her pay the money to a couple of the NGOs in Baltimore that work with at-risk youth.

Regarding her daughter’s learning disability situation, her husband, who’s not charged with anything, can deal with that.

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