Tag Archives: guilty pleas
Luke Heimlich is a rising college baseball star pitcher at Oregon State, and may well have a future in Major League Baseball. There is a problem though: Heimlich, 22, pleaded guilty to sexually molesting his 6-year-old niece when he was 15 years old. The further complication: he denies that he committed the crime, which was not just one incident but a pattern over two years. He told The New York Times that he only pleaded guilty to ” for the sake of family relations.” “Nothing ever happened,” he told the paper. The girl’s mother, however, says there is no question that he was guilty.
I’m tempted to say that it’s no wonder he pleaded guilty when he was 16. One of the charges was dropped and he was placed on two years’ probation, took court-ordered classes and had to register for five years as a Level 1 sex offender, which in the state of Washington means a low risk to the community. He had to write a letter apologizing to his niece. After five years, the records were expunged and he no longer has to register as a sex offender. What a deal!
Last year story was broken by the newsmedia, and now there is a controversy over whether Heinlich should be allowed to play college baseball. Brenda Tracy, a victims’ rights activists, asked the Times,
“What kind of message does that send our kids?” she asked. “We have now normalized this behavior. The feeling at Oregon State right now is that our team is winning, so they’ve moved on. What does that say to the little girl in this case? What does it say to all survivors?”
Then there is my concern: what does it say about this man’s character that he pleaded guilty to get a lenient deal, and now blandly says that he was lying? I’d view him as more trustworthy if he admitted the crime, was remorseful and repentant, and accepted responsibility. If he did molest the girl, and still denies it, one can hardly say that he has been rehabilitated.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:
Should Luke Heimlich be allowed to play college baseball?
I’d like to see the polling on this…
Michael Slager is the white North Charleston police officer who stopped African American Walter Scott for a taillight violation on April 4, 2015, and in the ensuing events, ended up fatally shooting Scott as he fled the scene, in the back, as recorded on a cell phone video. Of all the many police-involved shootings, this is the least equivocal. Slager is guilty of murder of one kind or another: in South Carolina, there is only one kind, and mitigating circumstances are reflected in the sentence. He could receive life in prison, or much less time.
But every criminal defendant has the right to be tried by a jury of his peers before the law finds him guilty, and Slager is taking full advantage of the right. In doing so, he is forgoing his last clear chance at redemption. The former officer—he has already been fired for the episode and not just put on paid leave, as is usually the case—is understandably trying to avoid a conviction and jail time, even though, should he be acquitted by some miracle or act of mass hypnosis, it would be certain to provoke even more anger and distrust in the black community, and, I would hope, among non-African Americans as well. A justice system that finds, no matter how it reaches such a conclusion, that an officer who shoots a fleeing man dead like Slager did is not guilty needs to be blown up and seeded with salt. When Slager’s first lawyer saw the video, he quit.
Do you think an acquittal is impossible? Don’t. All that is needed is a jury full of people who “think,” and I use the word generously, like the signers of this petition. I’m pretty sure that there are more than twelve of them available. Continue reading
Ethics Alarms recently coined the useful term fick to describe the especially shameless individual who violates society’s ethical norms openly, publicly and flagrantly, without remorse or apology. It takes a certain kind of anti-social arrogance to be a true fick, with the gold standard established by Michigan lottery winner Leroy Fick, a millionaire who happily continues to collect food stamps because of a statutory loophole despite howls of indignation from his neighbors in one of the most fiscally-challenged states in the nation. Other ficks who have come to light include Hugh Heffner despicable ex-fiance Crystal Harris, who plotted to humiliate him at the altar to launch a reality show. Of course, there is longstanding Octo-fick Nadya Suleman, and celebrity fick Charlie Sheen.
Now lucky Prince George’s County in Maryland has a bona fide fick of its own. Continue reading