Du Pont Heir Did Not Go To Prison For Sexually Assaulting His Babies Because Prison Is Hard On Rich People
So we were thinking this HuffPo article could not possibly be real, because this is the sort of shit that only happens on teevee when there was always one of the terrible caricatures of "liberal judges" on "Law and Order," but unless Delaware now has its own not funny super depressing version of The Onion, this shit totally happened: super rich du Pont heir dude Robert H. Richards IV did not see one minute of jail time for sexually assaulting an infant, because he wouldn't fare well in prison. The light sentence was hush hush for several years, but has just come to light in a lawsuit filed by Richards's ex-wife. In related news, everything is awful.
A Superior Court judge who sentenced a wealthy du Pont heir to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter noted in her order that he "will not fare well" in prison and needed treatment instead of time behind bars, court records show.
Judge Jan Jurden's sentencing order for Robert H. Richards IV suggested that she considered unique circumstances when deciding his punishment for fourth-degree rape. Her observation that prison life would adversely affect Richards was a rare and puzzling rationale, several criminal justice authorities in Delaware said. Some also said her view that treatment was a better idea than prison is a justification typically used when sentencing drug addicts, not child rapists.
You will probably not be surprised to learn that while yr Wonkette is typically a liberal sort when it comes to not locking people up for demon weed, we are pretty down with imprisoning people for sexually assaulting children. This view does not change if said assaulter is rich. It might even tilt MORE towards prison time if said person is rich, actually. Also, as a Delaware public defender pointed out, jail is not usually meant to be a comfy cuddle time, and people often do not fare well. Weird, right?
"It's an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well," said Delaware Public Defender Brendan J. O'Neill, whose office represents defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. "Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn't proven to be true in most circumstances."
You will also not be surprised to learn that Mr Extremely Rich du Pont Heir was initially charged with much worse stuff, but got a lawyer to help him plead down like a fucking bawse.
According to the lawsuit filed by Richards' ex-wife, he admitted to assaulting his infant son in addition to his daughter between 2005 and 2007. Richards was initially indicted on two counts of second-degree child rape, felonies that translate to a 10-year mandatory jail sentence per count. He was released on $60,000 bail while awaiting his charges.
Richards hired one of the state's top law firms and was offered a plea deal of one count of fourth-degree rape charges -- which carries no mandatory minimum prison sentencing. He accepted, and admitted to the assault.
Richards could, of course, afford the very best tippy-top defense money could buy, because he has ALL THE MONEY.
Richards, who is unemployed and supported by a trust fund, owns a 5,800-square-foot mansion in Greenville he bought for $1.8 million in 2005. He also lists a home in the exclusive North Shores neighborhood near Rehoboth Beach, according to the state's sex abuse registry. His great-grandfather is du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont, and his father is Robert H. Richards III, a retired partner in the Richards Layton & Finger law firm.
Sounds like he's had a tough life.
We're not going to let the prosecutor's office off the hook here, even though the prosecutor's office in this case is run by Beau Biden, son of Old Handsome Joe Biden.
[I]n June 2008, just days before a scheduled trial, prosecutor Renee Hrivnak offered Richards a plea to a single count of fourth-degree rape, which carries no mandatory time, and he accepted, admitting in court that he abused his child.
"It was more than reasonable, an enlightened plea offer," Richards attorney Eugene J. Maurer Jr. said.
Fourth-degree rape is a Class C violent felony that by law can bring up to 15 years in prison, though guidelines suggest zero to 2½ years in prison.
At his February 2009 sentencing, Hrivnak recommended probation, Biden's chief deputy Ian R. McConnel said, adding that in retrospect he wished she would have sought prison time. Hrivnak would not comment. Biden spokesman Jason Miller said the attorney general – who routinely hails the prosecution of child predators as a top priority for his office – did not know about the case. Miller said only Hrivnak and her supervisor, Allison Texter, were part of the decision on how to resolve the case. Texter, who is now in private practice in Wilmington, did not return calls for comment.
We can't even begin to talk about how rageful the phrase "an enlightened plea offer" makes us in regards to a rich dude seeing no jail time for raping his kids.
Of course, there's always the legitimate concern that as a child molester, Mr. Robert H. Richards IV will be severely mistreated in prison. We do not wish that on anybody, for real, and wishing prison rape on the guy in the comments will be deleted so fast it will make your head spin. That said, there exists a solution to deal with this potential problem, which is that if you fucking SEXUALLY ASSAULT A CHILD you can be put into protective custody. In fact, that solution is much preferable, in our humble opinions, to not sending someone to jail at all. But hey, if you are insanely rich and unemployed and just generally a rich taker, you get probation. In fact, you get such a light probation that after only eight months, you get knocked down to what is called a Level 2 setting in Delaware, which means you only have to check in with your probation officer once a month. That must be a huge burden -- and is certainly a fitting and strong punishment -- for Richie Rich here.
If this is how things are going to be our new Gilded Age, let's burn it all down and start over.