Observing that the Jude defendants were acquitted and the tire slashing defendants were sentenced to jail terms ranging from four to six months, Gene Kane asks:
But again, what does this say about the value of a man's life compared to a bunch of tires?
Putting aside the fact that Jude didn't lose his life, it says nothing. If the tire slashing defendants had been found not guilty, they would have walked as well. When you are acquitted, you don't get punished. When you are found - or plead - guilty, you do.
Had the Jude defendants been found guilty (or if they are in a federal prosecution), we will not be talking 4 to 6 months. They'd be lucky to see only 4 to 6 years.
Finally, what was at stake in the tire slashing case was not merely a bunch of tires, but an attempt, however misguided and ineffectual, to interfere with the electoral process. That makes it a more serious case than one involving mere property damage. Judge Brennan did the right thing. (I think he'd look good at the Wisconsin Supreme Court.)