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Jail Time for Criminals

Kate Nash has a column in the Tribune that talks about the assault of campaign commercials she was forced to endure when she deselected the mute button. Below is one section that caught my attention:

The ad by Wilson’s campaign suggests Madrid is responsible for a judge’s sentencing Matthew Ward to probation but not jail on charges that he was an online sexual predator.

Madrid’s office counters that it was a judge, not her office, who decided that Ward would get probation. Her office busted him in a sting operation.

“The only thing Heather Wilson wants to change is the subject,” Madrid campaign spokeswoman Heather Brewer said.

The ad, replete with the deep-voiced narrator and the background music that gives you the creeps, says: “Today, Ward is back on our streets. And for that, Madrid should not be forgiven.

“It’s no wonder Madrid’s running a negative campaign.”

She’s not the only one.

I know that some people might consider this a negative ad, but I just don’t see it that way. Consider that the Attorney General has tried to pretend that she is tough on crime. However, her actions speak louder than words (or for that matter taxpayer paid mailers) on this issue.

Consider this from an Albuquerque Journal article this weekend (subscription):

Court records show that the plea deal the AG’s office reached with 41-year-old Matthew Ward cut his potential prison time from three years to 18 months, but left it up to a judge whether to lock Ward up or give him probation.

So much for being tough on crime. They had this guy dead to rights, and the first thing they do is cut his potential jail time in half. Folks, we’re talking about a 41-year old man who thought he was talking to a 14 year old girl over the internet and exposed himself to “her” before arranging to meet her in a park for sex. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this kind of pervert should be off the streets for life.

Well, what’s worse than cutting this guy’s sentence in half? Putting him back on the street with no jail time whatsoever. Now Madrid is trying to blame the judge, but the facts show that the Attorney General’s office is equally culpable:

Madrid said in a recent television interview that she wanted Ward behind bars.

But [Assistant Attorney General Art Weidemann] acknowledged, “That is not something we pushed for.”

Not pushing for jail time for sexual predators is inexcusable. So, either we believe Madrid has no control over her staff, or putting child predators behind bars is just not a priority. Now contrast Madrid’s failure with regard to this one local and very recent case to Heather Wilson’s first reaction when the Foley news broke (subscription):

Wilson said law enforcement should be allowed to investigate before heads start rolling on Capitol Hill.

“It is still not clear to me exactly who knew what, when,” Wilson said. “I want law enforcement to sort that out. If any adult – and I don’t care who they work for – knew that Foley was soliciting minors and they didn’t report it then I think that’s criminal and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Heather Wilson believes criminals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Patricia Madrid doesn’t.