Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Lesser Sentence For Destroying a Life

I don't see how an unprovoked attack with a baseball bat can be called second-degree assault. This IS in fact, a hate crime. When are our prosecuters going to call things what they are instead of plea bargaining down? This comes from the AP...

Eugene teens sentenced for brutal attack
Associated Press

Two teenagers who beat a 59-year-old man with a baseball bat have each been sentenced to almost six years in prison.

Alex Lee Swegle, 19, and Joseph Anthony George, 17, both of Eugene, pleaded guilty last week to reduced charges of second-degree assault.

They attacked 59-year-old Michael Clay on June 9.

Clay, who is black, said he supported a decision by prosecutors not to prosecute the beating as a hate crime. Clay told investigators he does not remember his attackers using racial slurs, and an FBI investigation turned up insufficient evidence to support a racially based civil rights charge against the teens, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Bud Fitzgerald said this week.

"All crimes are hate crimes," Clay told The Register-Guard newspaper.
Clay, a musician and Vietnam veteran who also sells organic vegetable seeds he grows in Southern Oregon, was walking home when the teens assaulted him near an intersection.

Clay said he didn't realize how bad he was hurt until he reached his home a few blocks away. He learned at the emergency room that the attack had fractured his skull, broken his jaw, crushed a major sinus in his face and damaged his teeth.

Though he still suffers severe headaches, the dizziness and short-term memory problems caused by his brain injury have largely subsided. Doctors tell him he needs surgery, but Clay said he's not sure whether to have it.

"Everybody's talking about all this reconstruction, but nobody's doing it without getting paid," he said. "And the question is, do I spend that much money on myself at this point in my life?"

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