It’s easy these days to become depressed about the state of our criminal justice system when you see no action taken against a former president who incited an insurrection or acquittal of a vigilante teen who gunned down protesters he disagreed with. But we’ve seen a lot of justice meted out in recent months and it’s worth a look to restore some perspective.
Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter, both officers who killed unarmed men, were convicted. Chauvin received a stiff sentence and Potter may, too, although her case is much less serious. The three men who killed Ahmaud Arbery were just sentenced to life in prison. The victims were all men of color, the killers all white.
The FBI has made over 700 arrests of rioters in the Capitol insurrection of Jan. 6. Convictions and sentencings are coming down almost every day now, although most have been fairly light sentences so far.
In the white collar arena, Elizabeth Holmes was just convicted of wire fraud in connection with Theranos. Over forty defendants have pled guilty in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal and several more have agreed to do so. Some very wealthy individuals like Felicity Huffman have already served prison sentences. Dozens more await trial.
Jeffrey Epstein took care of his own death sentence and Ghislaine Maxwell just got convicted in connection with their child sex trafficking activities. Harvey Weinstein was convicted and sentenced to 23 years. Andrew Cuomo is not being prosecuted, but he is out as governor of New York.
While this is not a perfect record, it is heartening to see that even the rich and powerful and the police are being held accountable in larger numbers than ever before.