Sad day for justice

I find DA Sprague’s comments appalling and completely insensitive to this much respected and private family. Judge Meyer obviously agreed with the DA in sentencing David to the maximum 15 years in state prison with 5 years probation following. Dave will be 91 years old by then. The surviving family’s wishes for leniency was first mocked then ignored.

Society at large will not be a better or safer place with David locked up. Public Defender Boutelle stated that senior citizens locked up in prisons share an exorbitant amount of the money spent on prisoners due to their failing health and old age.

David spent an entire 70 years in Crown Point, without any criminal history. He is a friend to many. His severe alcohol addiction (coinciding with Russell’s) led to this family tragedy. Can’t we as a community have compassion on this well respected family? In a compassionate society, that could think out of the box, in extraordinary circumstances, such as these, could surely could come up with a way to serve the public good. I am struck with a vision that David could have been rehabilitated with alcohol treatment and confinement to his own property. Home confinement, coupled with alcohol and movement ankle bracelets, could have been an out-of-the-box punishment rather then what amounts to a life sentence in a state penitentiary, with the most hardened and violent live-long offenders. Taxpayers would not have had the burden of paying for David’s end of life care and needs.

When might thoughtfulness come into play instead of the Draconian incarceration of a first-time senior citizen offender? Why shouldn’t the victim’s family be kept apprised by the DA, of any court appearances and plea deals, even when they are similarly related to the defendant? Why shouldn’t their feelings be considered when rendering comments and sentence upon the defendant?

So in going forward, can we assume that DA Sprague, when faced with a similar case, involving a tragedy within one family, that she will disregard and even mock the surviving kin? In her mission statement it reads: “The DA and her staff realize that all victims deserve to be treated with compassion and respect.” That is not what I witnessed in the courtroom.

Laura Burchell, Flushing

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