Thursday, November 3, 2011


The Imbalance of Justice

What happens when the scales of justice tip so far in the wrong direction that society begins to lose sight of our Founding Fathers' intended goal of justice? Have we become a society more concerned with money than humanity? How much is a human life really worth in the United States today?

Throughout my career, I have traveled to other parts of the world where life is cheap, but I never thought I'd see a day where, in this country, we'd place more value on a dollar than life itself.

Consider this:

In 2005, L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive of Tyco International Ltd., was found guilty of grand larceny, conspiracy and securities fraud, stemming from a compensation package and bonuses he received as Tyco's chief executive. By all accounts he was an aggressive and successful corporate executive who helped make Tyco one of the most successful companies in the world, but one who also dared to flaunt his fortune and compensation package, one of the highest of any CEO in the country.

He did not commit an act of violence, he was not a pedophile, he did not rob, rape, or viciously assault or murder anyone, yet his conviction resulted in a sentence of 8 1/3 - 25 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $90 million in restitution to his former employer and a $70 million fine, which according to published reports, he has already satisfied.

The sad reality is that given his age today, 64, Kozlowski was given a death sentence despite being a first time, non-violent offender, for which he has already paid nearly $160 million in fines and restitution. Is that justice?

Compare that to this:

On October 18, 2008, an 18 year old teenager by the name of Christopher Robinson, who was being held on Rikers Island pending criminal charges, was beaten to death by other inmates.

According to the Bronx District Attorney's Office, a three year investigation revealed that two New York City Correction Officers, Michael McKie and Khalid Nelson, were running a secret, sadistic society called "The Program" on Rikers, that encouraged and allowed a brutal squad of inmates, dubbed "The Team," to beat and extort other prisoners.

Robinson was allegedly singled out and murdered - savagely beaten to death - because he refused to go along with "The Program."

Five inmates have since pled guilty for their roles in Robinson's brutal killing and received sentences ranging up to 10 years in prison... substantially less than Tyco CEO Kozlowski.

To make matters worse, last Thursday former correction officers Michael McKie and Khalid Nelson pled guilty in a Bronx courtroom for their role in running "The Program," and allowing this brutal and sadistic group of inmates to savagely beat and extort the other inmates. Their sentence: Nelson will receive one year, and McKie will receive two years in prison.

These two men were sworn to protect the inmates in their custody, yet endangered their lives, and the lives of every correction officer in their facility by turning a blind eye to this brutal and barbaric group of inmates who acted as predators on the weak. Between the two of them, they were sentenced to only three years in prison for their heinous, outrageous and brutal conduct.

Dennis Kozlowski probably made more money than he should have and did things that he should not have done for which he should have been punished. However, he has already spent five years in prison and paid back nearly $160 million in fines and restitution. He still faces another 20 years in prison for a first time non-violent offense, yet those responsible for Robinson's brutal and savage killing will serve less than a 10 year term, and the two public servants who ran "The Program" will serve less than three years between them.

The imbalance in our criminal justice system is glaring. There are serious questions about crime, punishment, justification and fairness. However, for this moment in time, there's only one question that society should be concerned with: Where is the real justice for Christopher Robinson and his family?


  1. The words of this blog should echo in the ears of the Bronx District Attorney and those two heinous correction officers. They should sit with the survivors of Christopher Robinson and explain, apologize and pray for forgiveness.

  2. Good article Bernie! I have the same questions when it comes to child molesters. We read all the time about some guy that gets arrested for something and then we find out from his rap-sheet that he has raped/molested multiple children in the past. Why are these perverts ever let out prison? I'm of the view prison should be about punishment and not about rehab. Even if it was about rehabilitation, pedophiles, for the most part, cannot be "cured." Keep up the good work!

  3. As always Mr. Kerik brings up a very compelling situation. A think "Justice" is now manipulate more than ever! Different degrees of sentencing are given for the same type of crime. The fate of citizen no longer rests on the offence they have comited,but rather on who they know, how the media views you, and many of times on who the judge is. One can no longer count on impartiality from our courts. Too much politics is now blended in this messy court system.


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