Judging vs. sentencing

While I have been fortunate enough to not encounter sexual assault, many other people have been less fortunate. Recently, there has been a media frenzy surrounding the trial of Larry Nassar, the man who has been convicted of sexually assaulting more than 150 women. Nassar was a medical doctor for the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Team and Michigan State University. According to “Time Magazine,” at least 100 more women came forward, putting the total number of people accusing him to more than 250, after his trial was completed.

Because of the intensity of the issue and the coverage this trial has received, I decided to become more educated on the subject. Something I found interesting during my research is the case was judged by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. There has been some speculation from the media saying Aquilina let her feelings cloud her duties as a judge.

With all of this being said, I do not feel comfortable writing about something I do not know, and sexual assault is something I cannot begin to fully understand. I do feel comfortable, however, connecting this case to an issue that is ingrained in American history. The issue being the people’s right to speak out against wrongdoings in our world.

The news media has highlighted Aquilina and conveyed her in a negative light for taking a platform and speaking for something she believes strongly in. Aquilina took time to address each individual person who made a statement against Nassar at his trial. Compassion and empathy is not where people seem to have an issue.

At the end of the trial, Aquilina told Nassar she signed his death warrant. There is speculation she let her passion take over her judicial duties and this is where people seem to find fault with her.

According to the “Washington Post,” news writers around the world questioned whether Aquilina went too far with Nassar’s case.

Emily Bazelon, a staff writer for “The New York Times Magazine” tweeted “Blood thirsty retribution undermines image of judicial impartiality. This line is just too much.”

Aquilina spoke on the subject and told the “Washington Post” she speaks out because she wants change and doesn’t believe in hiding the truth.

Where do we draw the line? Was Aquilina’s sentencing too harsh?

The issue with the coverage going on at this moment is not whether Aquilina sentenced Nassar unfairly. This debate goes back to the problem of political correctness.

The sentencing for these offences would have been the same regardless of the judge. The laws for sexual assault stay the same no matter the person, judge or case. Aquilina did not pull the rules out of thin air.

Let’s remember, she did not judge him, she sentenced him. There is a difference. She fulfilled her duties as a judge and also let her voice be heard.