Barrington’s punishment fits the crime

It was tough to sit in a courtroom on March 27 and listen to a jury decide the fate of former Florida A&M University student, Marcus Barrington. No, a kinship did not exist between us; we only had a few encounters. But that day, life was an object. A 12-member jury juggled this thing to see if his was worth keeping or putting away. The latter was their decision. In a unanimous decision, the jury found Barrington guilty on five counts of conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. It’s easy to express remorse when a crime isn’t considered. No one wants to see a fellow Rattler fall hard. But did Barrington, and the other two sentenced to 22 months, Lawrence Secrease and Christopher Jacquette, want to see FAMU crumble? Were they thinking about FAMU when they schemed to change nearly 650 grades? Did they know changing residencies for students would result in nearly $137,000 worth of damages of for the university? And let’s not stop there. Those despicable student leaders and common students, who were involved in this scandal, were just as guilty. Were these students thinking that about the out-of-state students who struggle each day, work two to three jobs as a full-time student and pay bills? Did some of these leaders think just because they had positions, they could not be caught? Their fate is coming. When asked what will happen to the students who had their grades and residencies changed the day Barrington was found guilty, Prosecutor Eric Mountin said the case is still “open.” It’s amazing how so many people engage in acts selfishly and unethically, then expect the wrongdoing to go unnoticed. The architects of this deceitful plot have been rightfully sentenced. Barrington may have received a lighter sentence if he admitted to his wrongdoings by pleading guilty. Mountin predicted Barrington would get a harsher sentence than his cohorts. “Not because he took the stand, but because he chose not to accept responsibility at any point,” Mountin said. Of course, Barrington, like any other defendant, has the right to appeal. But when everyone is pointing the finger at the same person and significant evidence is presented, while the person continues to commit perjury, the jury and judge can see past this. Some may say that there are other criminals like rapists, murderers and drug dealers that the justice system should be more worried about. This is true, but comparing a crime to another should not play a factor in determining the number of years granted to one and not another. Felonies were committed and there is a minimum and maximum number of years for different criminal offenses. Yes, Monday was an unfortunate day for our colleague and for some, friend. But we have to look at the bigger picture. It’s easy to be remorseful for a life that has been taken away, but no one is concerned for FAMU. Nor, the damages the university incurred, the number of students that wished they had in-state tuition and the embarrassment for the university. So, in essence the time fits the crime. Erica Butler for the Editorial Board.