At the sentencing hearing Friday, the victim's brother voiced his objection to the plea deal and sentence.
He echoed those concerns at Friday's sentencing, as he read a statement aloud to Judge John Zunic, who was assigned the case following the appeal's court ruling. D.J. stood beside his brother, gripping his arm at times.
"Anna Stubblefield took advantage of (D.J.'s) vulnerability," he said. "Indeed the thing that she was supposedly saving him from was the very thing she needed to get away with her crime: (D.J.'s) silence. ... It feels like a scab of an almost healed wound has been ripped off. I do not feel there is justice in this plea deal."
D.J.'s brother implored that Zunic vacate the plea deal and take the "unprecedented" step of reimposing her original charges.I sympathize with DJ's brother, though I don't agree with him. There is a difference between justice and healing---justice is impartial and impersonal, while healing requires the opposite. We shouldn't expect the fair application of laws to heal the traumas that criminal offenders cause, nor should we want punishment to be determined by the amount of hurt caused by the crime. After all, murdering or raping a person with no family and no social connections is no less wrong, and requires no less sanction, than doing the same to someone with many familial and social connections. There should be (though there seldom are) other mechanisms outside of criminal law and sentencing to help those harmed by criminal offenders.
Zunic did not.
"If there were a plea agreement that really shocked my conscience, I would vacate it under the ruling," he said. "I don't see that in this case, though."
He added that he sympathized with the victim's family and that the sentence imposed "certainly does not bring any finality to the victim and his family."