Need more proof the justice system is more than a little off kilter? A woman who knew her friend was forcing her kids to sleep locked in a dog kennel got off on probation this week. And if that's not shocking enough: Samantha Eyten, who left her own kids in the house and knew about the kennel, was the fourth adult involved in the Nebraska abuse case to get nothing more than probation.
Eyten was picked up by cops in North Platte last year and charged with felony child abuse after authorities learned Ashley A. Clark was making her 3- and 5-year-old sons sleep in her dog kennel. Eyten's own kids were just 8 and 8 months, and they were living in Clark's home along with mountains of trash, dirty clothes, and animal feces. And yet, she got probation.
Apparently justice is blind. And it can't smell very well either.
Clark herself only got two years probation in the case. Eyten's husband Bryson got one year, as did an adult named Lacy Beyer.
Does this add up to you folks?
These little boys were locked up. But the adult who did it, and the adults who let it happen, won't be.
I guess we can add these to the long list of sentences handed out by judges that leave me floored. In 14 years in community journalism, I've seen a lot of these. The guy who murders someone is eligible for parole quicker than the guy who was caught with some pot. One guy who was caught putting cameras in a ladies' room gets prison, the other one gets a slap on the wrist.
Sadly, I can't think of a way to reset the system and make it "work." Every crime is different, every sentence must be different too.
And yet, if we live in a world where kids can be locked in a dog kennel, and the four adults responsible all get off with almost no punishment, I'm not sure we can really call the system "just."
What kind of punishment do you think better fits this crime?
Image via Lincoln County Court