On Being Treated Unfairly

Some potential and current clients I talk to feel the police and the state’s attorney’s office are treating them unfairly.  This is frequently not the case.  If a guilty person wrongly feels the State is treating him unfairly, in my experience, the case usually fits in one of the following categories:

  1. The Routine. Sometimes the questioning defendant is simply being treated exactly the same as thousands of defendants before him.  He may not understand this because the sentence seems harsh now that it is being applied to him, he may have heard stories (either false or involving different circumstances) of the State treating others better,  or he simply does not realize that this is how things work in cases like his.  Regardless of the reason,  the defendant is not being treated particularly worse than anyone else.
  2. On the Radar.  Trouble begets trouble.  Sometimes a particular person gets on the radar of police or prosecutors.  As a general rule, the more criminal history the person has, the harsher the sentence he will receive.   The key here is to simply quit violating the law; a judge or prosecutor will not be sympathetic to the suggestion that a person’s misdeeds should be ignored since the State is watching the person closely.
  3. But, You Did That. Not all crimes are equal.  A person possessing a Class C misdemeanor amount of marijuana will get a slap on the wrist (in the grand spectrum of things); a person trafficking pounds of pot will not be treated so lightly.  Child molesters are universally reviled.  It is always a terrible idea to stick a gun in a person’s face.   Serious consequences follow the commission of serious crimes and being a first offender probably won’t count for too much.

Now, of course, there are some cases where the State does, in fact, treat the defendants unfairly.  It does happen.  The most obvious example of this is where an innocent person is charged with a crime.  But, often times a defendant’s feelings about being treated unfairly are just wrong.

Jeremy Richey

Jeremy J. Richey, Attorney at Law
© Jeremy J. Richey and The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, 2008-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.