Update March 2012--Judge Jack Billings wrote me a scathing letter telling me that he was bound to sentence based on the crime limitations. If we follow crime and sentencing in the US, we know that judges, especially Federal judges, have had much of their sentencing discretion removed. So I would suggest you write to Ms. Miller and the State Attorney General if you're still interested and leave Judge Billings alone. I am unable at this point in time to sort out the fact from the opinion.
I was in Eugene, Oregon, last week when I came across this news article in the local paper, the Register-Guard. A Eugene former restaurant owner, Prasath Boudavong, received an incredible 240 days in jail after he repeatedly solicited underage prostitutes for sex. Apparently, the Register isn't guarding anyone, because they blithely reported on this travesty quoting a Eugene police sergeant who said that vice detectives showed that this man was a "prolific customer," not a pimp. Does that make his behavior worth only 240 days in jail?
Who speaks for these children? Apparently no one, certainly not the local prosecutor JoAnn Miller, who agreed to dismiss all the promoting prostitution charges, which carried minimum sentences of five years and eight months. Recall that these kids were as young as 14, too young to drive, so the helpful Boudavong drove them to a house where he, according to the guilty plea, sodomized and raped them, the Register reports.
And where is the judge in this travesty? Judge Jack Billings apparently feels that probation and 240 days in jail is a sufficient sentence for rape and sodomy of children, no less.
What puzzles me is the lack of outrage in the Eugene community for this travesty. If you would like to voice your concern regarding this sentence, here are the addresses for the paper, the prosecutor and the judge. These girls deserve better.
Unless we stand up to this type of whitewash, the travesty of rape and abandonment of these underage prostitutes will continue. Please join me by writing:
Register-Guard, for their cavalier reporting: firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge Jack Billings
Lane County Courthouse
125 E. 8th St.
Eugene, OR 97401
125 E. 8th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
State Attorney General John Kroger
Oregon Department of Justice
1162 Court Street NE
Salem, OR 97301-4096
Because, if we stand for nothing, we'll fall for anything.
2012: Judge Billings responded to my letter to inform me that the way this was prosecuted, he had no choice but hand out the sentence according to sentencing guidelines. I have absolutely no idea what to think.