Judge Jeanine Howard, Asshole of the Day for May 2, 2014
by GirlGetALife (Follow @GirlGetALife)
A judge sentencing a rapist to community service instead of real jail time? Shameful.
A judge sentencing a rapist to community service at a rape crisis center? Unbelievable.
And yet that’s exactly what happened with Dallas County Judge Jeanine Howard.
Howard recently sentenced Sir Young, a 20-year-old confessed rapist (he admitted to raping a 14-year old when he was 18), to 45 days - yes, days - in jail, and gave him a five-year deferred probation. Young does not have to stay away from children, as most sex offenders are required to do, must attend sex offender treatment, and has to spend October 4, the anniversary of the rape, in jail for the five years he is on probation.
While the short jail sentence and the absence of an order to stay away from children are disturbing, Howard manages to up the ‘what the hell is she thinking?’ factor: Young has also been ordered to do 250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center.
Victims advocates were floored by Howard’s community service order. And for good reason. Sending a sexual predator into a space that is dedicated to healing victims of sexual assault is a slap in the face to victims everywhere, and a knock on the work of those who try to uplift them.
Howard, of course, attempted to defend her ‘creative’ sentencing, saying she never intended for Young “to work with rape victims”. Her decision to order his community service hours at a rape crisis center was “spur of the moment” and she thought he could “mop floors, mow the lawn or cook”.
Perhaps Howard should have put more thought into her sentence and come up with something that didn’t further victimize people who have already been through so much. It won’t be easy for the victims and staff of a counseling center to look a confessed rapist in the face, knowing that he received no real punishment for his crime.
But, wait…Howard’s asshole-ish behavior doesn’t end with the sentence. Her justification of why she handled Young’s sentencing the way she did is by far the most disturbing piece in all of this: she blamed the victim.
Howard says her sentence was based on the fact the victim had previous sexual experience, had given birth to a child (the victim’s mother says this is a lie) and had texted Young asking him to spend time with her. During the trial, Howard also spent a lot of time asking the victim if she cried during the attack. Because, as we all know, it’s not real rape unless the victim cries and fights back.
“She wasn’t the victim she claimed to be,” Howard said. “He is not your typical sex offender.” Howard also said she thought she was “doing a good thing” with her sentence.
As if victim blaming could ever be a good thing.
Howard is apparently one of those people who believe that to be raped you have to be as pure as the driven snow, and that you can’t have had any previous contact with your rapist prior to the attack. Scary, considering 2/3 of all rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.
Not surprisingly, the young rape survivor is not happy with the sentence Howard handed down, saying everything she went through “was for nothing” and that it would have been better had she not said anything about the rape.
With one bang of her gavel, Judge Jeanine Howard has re-victimized countless women (and men) and made a mockery of the justice system. She’s also further convinced victims of sexual assault that reporting their attacks to the police are more trouble than its worth. For this, she’s Asshole of the Day.
It is Judge Jeanine Howard’s first time as Asshole of the Day, but one of many judges to be named Asshole of the Day:
Full story: Dallas Observer