Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sentenced to write a book, sued for publishing

Three short thoughts. I’ll try to be succinct.

First, ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little book-wise junk food, Tricia. It would be hypocritical for me to tout Dr. Seuss and make fun of your Harlequin fetish.

With that having been said, didn’t I just loan you my wife’s copy of “A Good Man is Hard to Find?” How is a Robin Palmer’s gift of trashy romance a higher priority than my gift of Flannery O’Connor?

And I shudder to think what sort of lasciviousness comes from the “home and family” Harlequin line?

Second, a U.S. District Court Judge has sentenced a guy to write a book. Dr. Andrew G. Bodnar was convicted of lying to the government, and his pharmacy company was fined $1 million for breaking antimonopoly laws. (Ugh, I put that sentence in double-passive tense. Bad Jason.)

You can read the whole story here.

What I want to know is, if Bodnar gets his book published, who gets the profits? Violent criminals aren’t allowed to make money from their memoirs. Should this guy? Moreover, can the judge throw Bodnar in jail if he gets writer’s block?

I contacted our local expert on creative sentencing, Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti, to grade the district court judge’s work. (Cicconetti is an old hand at creative sentencing. He’s ordered people to wear chicken suits, spend a night in the cold, and spell out apologies in pennies.)

Cicconetti said: I applaud Judge Urbina on his creative sentence.

Relevant justice should be the norm, rather than the exception, in cases where the punishment allows others to more fully understand the underlying offense and the possible consequences. Most importantly, the Defendant must relive his crime and better recognize the seriousness of his activity. It is simply to easy to "blow off" a suspended jail sentence and, perhaps some probation, leaving the Defendant with only a sense of relief as he walks out of the courthouse.

Finally, we have some more details on the Salinger law suit.

The best line in the story comes from the defendant, Fredrik Colting.

“In Sweden, we don’t sue people.”

-Jason Lea,



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