Why Did Ja Rule Get The Same Jail Time As A Killer?
Today a murderer is a free man.
Convicted in the shooting death of unarmed man Oscar Grant, Johannes Mehserle (pictured left) who was sentenced to two years in prison for an involuntary manslaughter conviction, was released at 12:01am today. California law gave Mehserle one day of good conduct credit for each of the 365 days he served behind bars (he’s been locked up since a Los Angeles jury found him guilty on July 8 last year).
Ja Rule (born Jeffrey Atkins) recently begun serving the same length sentence following a conviction on weapons possession charges stemming from a 2007 arrest after a concert in New York City. Police pulled him over for speeding and found a .40 caliber pistol in his Maybach, arraigning him and releasing him on $150,000 bond. In December last year, Ja reached a plea deal for the charges that saw him sentenced to two years in jail. He reported to an upstate correctional facility last week, on June 8.
Back to Mehserle. CNN reports:
Mehserle, a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer when the shooting occurred, said at the trial he intended to draw and fire his Taser rather than his gun when he fatally wounded 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009.
Violent protests erupted in Oakland last November when Perry sentenced Mehserle to just two years in prison, which meant he could be released after another seven months.
At least 150 people were arrested during the protests, which Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts described at the time as “tearing up the city.”
Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, had asked the judge to sentence Mehserle to the maximum 14 years in prison. She and four other family members who spoke at the sentencing hearing last year called him “a murderer.”
The jury acquitted him of the more serious charges of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.
There is something to be said for a system that gives a man convicted of “involuntary manslaughter” (what it’s legally deemed has no bearing on what it obviously was) the same length of time in prison as a man who was found with a pistol in his car. While Ja Rule cannot be absolved of any wrongdoing, when weighed next to each other it’s painfully obvious the scales of justice are unbalanced yet again.