April 1, 2008
You make the call: what is a just and effective sentence for Sister Barbara Markey?
Since most judges likely have no experience sentencing nuns, I hope readers will use the comments to help out the Nebraska judge who will soon have to sentence Sister Barbara Markey. Here is the AP story providing the background:
A Roman Catholic nun accused of stealing from the Omaha Archdiocese and gambling much of the money away has pleaded guilty to theft. An attorney says Sister Barbara Markey pleaded Monday to theft of more than $1,500. Defense attorney J. William Gallup says she also agreed to pay $125,000 in restitution.
Markey faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced in July.
Markey is an internationally known speaker. She was fired in 2006 as director of the archdiocese's family life office after an audit found irregularities. The audit found that Markey spent $307,545 for her own use or without documentation. Prosecutors say Markey used the money to cover gambling forays, gifts and trips.
Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that I do not think a long prison term makes much sense for Sister Barbara Markey. But I am still thinking about what would make sense. Suggestions, dear readers?
April 1, 2008 at 09:02 AM | Permalink
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I almost hate to say it, but throw the book at her and give her the ridiculous max.
Prisons are full of people serving 20+ years for financial crimes. Put her in there with the hardcore murderers and rapists serving 20+ years, just like everybody else.
Posted by: babalu | Apr 1, 2008 1:26:37 PM
How would you punish your own kid? A short "time out"; pay back the money; say you're sorry; and do community service. My sentence -- 120 days county jail; five years probation (can be shortened if appropriate); meet with the congregation/archdiocese and apologize; full restitution; and meaningful community service. What do you think?
Posted by: | Apr 1, 2008 1:26:45 PM
As a secretary to a Public Defender, I see young men and women who often are given harsh sentences for selling drugs in order to maintain their drug habits. Perhaps she is addicted to gambling but, stealing for gifts and trips is tacky to say the least.
Had she been a young poor person (or a NY politician), folks would be screaming to throw the book at her. Judges, even in Nebraska, are certainly familiar with sentencing folks who knowingly break the law despite the consequences. Had she been stealing to support her crack cocaine or meth habit, would people be as sympathetic?
Perhaps her case will be an example for other nuns with sticky fingers.
Posted by: damonkey | Apr 1, 2008 3:02:32 PM
Is "full restitution" realistic?
Posted by: William Jockusch | Apr 1, 2008 6:17:39 PM
Sentencing and really our whole concept of sentencing gets a real examination in a case like this.
It is easier for us to be angry at the drug addict and the politician who is a hypocrit. On the other hand, there are so many things to consider here. The effect is nuanced. For example, you will have a number of good works done not for profit or for gain but out of goodness and faith,
You have the fact that being religious she should know better, but then again, there is the issue of how isolated the Religious (meaning those who have taken vows).
Additionally, by the fact that she is religious, how much punishment will she give to herself?
There is the issue also of how much of the public fisc do we want to spend incarcerating an old nun. Of course there is a breach of trust to deal with...
If we are a punishing society then we have no choice but to incarcerate her.
That however seems to be both a waste of time and money.
If we seek to deter the behavior, then punishment and rehab seem to be the answer, but this appears to be a crime of compulsion and compulsions rarely seem to be deterable without proper mental health referrals so incarceration will really not deter anything.
Finally if we are truly into Correction, then we need to fashion a truly corrective type of penalty.
I would (if I were her lawyer) contact her Order, and see if they have prision ministry. I would offer her to work in a prision ministry for the same amount of time that she would do in prision, and require other community service. I would further require restitution (as much as that is possible) and her participation in psychotherapy.
Sorry to take up so much space Doug.
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Posted by: LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS | Jun 25, 2009 12:02:45 AM