Felicity Huffman was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in jail, a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service, and one year supervised release for her role in the college admission scandal that rocked Hollywood. If her sentence seems light to you, consider that the rowing coach who agreed to recruit some of the kids as athletes in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars only got one day in jail.
Public defender and senior staff attorney and director of policy at Brooklyn Defender Services, Scott Hechinger, put together a very informative tweet thread about our justice system and the unequal and separate systems we have for the rich and the poor.
A man I represent has been jailed for 1.5 months longer than Felicity Huffman will ultimately serve solely for *failing to notify parole of a change in address.* Was ordered released this past Monday. He's still incarcerated because it takes 5-7 days just to process his release. https://t.co/qNwMs0m04R
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) September 13, 2019
The examples he gives should make all justice-minded Americans angry. Hechinger thinks everyone should get lighter sentences and, for the most part, I agree. But until reform is made, the Felicity Huffmans of the world should be sentenced like they come from the south side of Chicago and can only afford a court-appointed attorney. Maybe then things would change. The time for two-court systems in America, where the rich, like pedophile Jeffery Epstein, are judged lightly but the book is thrown at the poor who lack resources to hire good attorneys, should be abolished.
After a sentence like that, her apology (heartfelt or not) rings hollow.
“I can only say I am so sorry, Sophia,” Huffman said in an emotional plea to her daughter. “I was frightened. I was stupid, and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done. I have inflicted more damage than I could ever imagine. I now see all the things that led me down this road, but ultimately none of the reasons matter because at the end of the day I had a choice. I could have said no.”
The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen, who argued for more jail time, explained his reasoning ,according to CBS News. “But with all due respect to the defendant, welcome to parenthood,” Rosen said. “Parenthood is terrifying, exhausting and stressful, but that’s what every parent goes through. … What parenthood does not do, it does not make you a felon, it does not make you cheat, in fact it makes you want to serve as a positive role model for your children.”
Huffman is one of 51 defendants charged in the nationwide bribery debacle that saw the elite and wealthy, including Lori Loughlin, cheat to get their children into top colleges and universities like USC, UCLA, Stanford, and Yale. More sentencing is coming soon for the parents involved, fifteen of whom have pleaded guilty, and 19 of whom are fighting the charges.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter