So, from a possible 10 years in prison to three years of probation? Really, Feds? For those lost, former FAMU Department of Public Safety officer Byron Whitaker was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and making false statements to a federal agent.
He plead guilty earlier this year and at his Monday sentencing, he faced up to 10 years in federal prison.
He got three years. Not of jail time, not of house arrest, not even 26, 280 hours (three years) of
community service. He got…probation.
I’ll take a moment to let that sink in. Don’t get us wrong; we feel that drug-related crimes are punished too severely. Our problem lies not just with the lack of severity of his sentence. The problem is when minor drug dealers– the kind working underneath a nigh untouchable kingpin– receive
obnoxiously lengthy prison sentences for an infinitessimal amount of marijuana.
Some of you may be pointing to his law enforcement status as the reason for his slap on the
wrist punishment. That’s more reason for him to be harshly punished. How could he take a sworn oath to protect and serve, and then use his position to sell drugs? He’s no better than the people he’s sworn to apprehend. This man was in a position to serve as a role model for the community, yet chose to squander this for some side money. To give him a mere three years of probation is insulting.
Part of his plea agreement included turning in his law enforcement credentials to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, further recusing himself from any form of responsibility. We’re not saying we applaud drug dealers; they should be punished as well.
However, for them it should be more a form of rehabilitation; many career drug dealers turn to the lifestyle because of limited options. Teaching them how to apply themselves in society is far more productive than simply locking them up. But that’s another staff editorial altogether.
The bottom line is this: Whitaker’s punishment is barely that. His attorney released a statement that Whitaker, involved in a sizable drug ring, is now seeking other employment avenues. Meanwhile, the small time hustler caught with less than 5 ounces is left behind bars for nearly one-third of the time he’s been alive.
Blind justice, indeed.