CNNMoney: ESPN announced commentator Stephen A. Smith will be suspended for one week in the wake of his remarks about domestic abuse.
On “First Take” last Friday, Smith was discussing the assault charge against Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and the leniency shown by the National Football League, which suspended Rice for only two games. Smithsaid that while men “have no business putting your hands on a woman,” he had tried to tell women in his family, “Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions.”
Smith apologized for his widely-criticized remarks on Monday.
Photo: Stephen A. Smith has been suspended after widely-criticized remarks on domestic violence. (Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images Entertainment)
23 Petty Crimes That Have Landed People in Prison for Life Without Parole | Mother Jones
As of last year, according to a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 3,200 people were serving life in prison without parole for nonviolent crimes. A close examination of these cases by the ACLU reveals just how petty some of these offenses are. People got life for, among other things…
Possessing a crack pipe
Possessing a bottle cap containing a trace amount of heroin (too minute to be weighed)
Having traces of cocaine in clothes pockets that were invisible to the naked eye but detected in lab tests
Having a single crack rock at home
Possessing 32 grams of marijuana (worth about $380 in California) with intent to distribute
Passing out several grams of LSD at a Grateful Dead show
Acting as a go-between in the sale of $10 worth of marijuana to an undercover cop
Selling a single crack rock
Verbally negotiating another man’s sale of two small pieces of fake crack to an undercover cop
Possessing stolen scrap metal (the offender was a junk dealer)—10 valves and one elbow pipe
Possessing stolen wrenches
Siphoning gasoline from a truck
Stealing tools from a shed and a welding machine from a front yard
Shoplifting three belts from a department store
Shoplifting several digital cameras
Shoplifting two jerseys from an athletic store
Taking a television, circular saw, and power converter from a vacant house
Breaking into a closed liquor store in the middle of the night
Making a drunken threat to a police officer while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car
Being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm
Taking an abusive stepfather’s gun from their shared home
These are not typically first offenses, but nor are they isolated cases. The vast majority (83 percent) of life sentences examined by the ACLU were mandatory, meaning that the presiding judge had no choice but to sentence the defendant to a life behind bars. Mandatory sentences often result from repeat offender laws and draconian sentencing rules such as these federal standards for drug convictions:
The data examined by the ACLU comes from the federal prison system and nine state penal systems that responded to open-records requests. This means the true number of nonviolent offenders serving life without parole is higher.
What’s clear, based on the ACLU’s data, is that many nonviolent criminals have been caught up in a dramatic spike in life-without-parole sentences.