So a guy rapes his 3-year-old daughter, is tried and convicted several years later, and…
Robert Richards IV was in 2009 convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter, seven years after she, then five, told relatives that she didn’t want “my daddy touching me anymore.” In an alarming twist, the judge who sentenced the heir to the du Pont fortune let him off with no jail time, arguing that six-foot-four Richards “will not fare well” in prison.
Instead of sentencing him to prison for raping a toddler, Judge Jan Jurden ruled that Richards would benefit from treatment. Critics have since noted that such treatment is usually only offered to drug addicts or those in possession of child pornography, not convicted rapists. The details of the case became public this month when Richards’s ex-wife sued him for damages related to the abuse of their daughter.
Well it’s like this. If you’ve always been very rich, then your skin gets so delicate that you can’t tolerate life in prison. Other people can, of course, people who have not always been very rich, but that’s their problem. You, having always been very rich, cannot. The judge simply took this into account.
A number of sources, including the chief prosecutor in the Delaware county where the case was tried, said they found the judge’s justification for waiving jail time—that Richards wouldn’t do well in prison—highly unusual. One defense lawyer gave the following assessment to The News Journal: “Who thrives in jail?”
“It’s an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well,” Delaware public defender Brendan O’Neill told The News Journal. He surmised that the Richards case would make Americans wonder “how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system.”.
Prison may well be a terrible idea overall. That however is not a reason for keeping very rich people out of it while not keeping everyone else out of it.