Discrepancies in sentencing

It seems to me that there are some unjust differences in sentencing.

Compare some cases:

David Messerschmitt Murderer Pleads Guilty
Jamyra Gallmon, who was arrested in April,
pleaded guilty to second-degree murder while armed.
Prosecutors agreed to reduce the charge from first-degree murder
and will seek a sentence between 18 and 25 years in prison.

D.C. lawyer’s killer sentenced to 24 years in prison
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post, 2015-08-21

Convicted Polk Teacher Garners a Following
Tbe Ledger, 2015-07-15

LAKELAND | Jennifer Fichter has become a cause célèbre, especially in Russia, Belgium and Switzerland.

Petitions and Facebook pages say the 30-year-old teacher was treated too harshly for the crimes she committed: 22 years in prison for having sex with teenage boys.

A petition created by Diego Maurano of Belgium, titled "Jennifer Fichter doesn't deserve a life sentence," was launched on Change.org and has accumulated 12,368 signatures. The petition is to the U.S. Justice System and reads: "I'm all for bringing justice to the criminal world. A world without law is chaos and anarchy ... But come on, she's a young woman, those guys are nearly adults."

Fichter was arrested by the Lakeland Police Department in April 2014 after police say she admitted to having sex with a 17-year-old male student.

Investigators later learned she also had sex with two other male students.

Reports say she told one of the victim's mothers in a recorded phone conversation that she had sex with the boy 20 to 30 times, had gotten pregnant and then had an abortion.

In March, Fichter pleaded guilty to 37 child sex charges and was sentenced July 2 to 22 years by Circuit Judge Glenn Shelby, three years less than a plea deal offered by the State Attorney's Office.

"From day one, we looked at her as a predator
and you have to think about how the mothers of the victims feel,"
Are they the injured parties?
And just who declared the young men
(as 17-year-olds were called when I was growing up) "victims"?
Do they feel like they are victims?
It is interesting that we are referred to the feelings of the mothers
rather than to any supposedly negative effect on the young men.
I know the law is the law,
but we really need to consider how much harm, if any,
sex between a 17-year-old male and a 30-year-old woman
really harms the male.
In my opinion, not much.]

said Sgt. Gary Gross of LPD.
[In years past, such a woman would most certainly
not have been viewed by the young men involved as a "predator",
but someone who was doing the young men a favor.
At least that's what I gathered from my socialization,
in middle America (Missouri) in the 1950s and 60s,
where mothers who had sex with their son's friends
were described (by the young men) as being "good moms".
On the other hand, many mothers often watched their sons like hawks,
guarding their sons against the harm THEY thought would result
from sex outside of marriage.
So the sanctions against sex between young men and older women
were enforced by family and social pressures, not by the law,
not by claiming the older woman was a "predator"
(not sure when that word first became commonly used in these situations)
and throwing her in prison for 22 years!
But I guess criminalizing sex is all the rage these days.]

"Some people think 22 years is a little heavy
[A little heavy?
How about way, way out of line with any real harm that she caused.]

but she was put in a position of authority and she betrayed that trust.
She is where she needs to be."

Although Polk County officials such as Gross and State Attorney Jerry Hill say the sentence is fair, another petition argues otherwise.

Created on Whitehouse.gov, it sympathizes with Fichter because of the prison sentence.

"22 for voluntary sex between a student and teacher received Jennifer Fichter, an English teacher Florida," it reads.

The petition has received 4,356 signatures from supporters in Washington, D.C., New York City and St. Petersburg, as well as cities in other countries.

It needs 95,644 by Aug. 2 to be considered by the Obama administration.

An online publication, The Moscow Times, spotlighted the different forms of support and activism Russians have taken since Fichter's sentencing.

It reported about a petition that went viral among Russian social media users and has quickly garnered 60,115 signatures. The petition, launched by Denis Shiryaev, said: "Twenty-two years for a woman who helped three mature male students start their adult lives. Twenty-two years for a woman who wanted to be happy and loved, even if it was by someone younger than herself. Twenty-two years for the fact that these students wanted to be with her, longed for her tenderness and attention," reported the Moscow Times.

A photo of Fichter with a halo photoshopped around her head accompanied the statement.

Along with petitions, a Facebook page has been created by Nickola Bashenko, 50, of Switzerland, who posts articles and petitions about Fichter along with captions such as, "She needs your HELP."

"She is not a killer. She has done nothing bad to these students," Bashenko said.

The page has 1,261 likes so far.

Fichter admitted at her sentencing that what she did was wrong and apologized to her parents and family members.

"This was a crime of selfishness," she said to one of the victim's mothers.
"I can't begin to think of the weight of what you've gone through and I wish I could take it back."

Matthew Farmer, Fichter's lawyer, could not be reached for comment.

"I lose sleep over what Russia thinks of our criminal justice system," Hill said sarcastically, with a laugh.

As to whether he has seen any backlash or local support, Hill said he has not heard any negative comments about the disposition.

"In reality, she is a criminal and she was appropriately dealt with," he said.

Fichter is scheduled to be sentenced for three related child sex charges July 23 in Hillsborough County.

Not sure what is being referred to here,
but if it is the 17-year-old men,
I recall that when I was 17 I was a sophomore in college,
and most certainly would not have wanted to have been treated as a child,
but rather as an adult,
as indeed I was treated.
This is progress?]

More comments by KHarbaugh:
It is interesting to compare the lavish criticism being meted out to Ms. Fichter
to the way the sexual relationship described in the film Blue is the warmest color
was described by the various film critics in America.
For example, I believe Washington Post's Ann Hornaday described it as a
"coming of age" story,
even though the younger woman was described as only 15,
in a sexual relation with an older woman.