By now, if you’re at a computer, you’re probably aware that Anthony Abbate was just sentenced to two years’ probation, on one count of aggravated battery, for the videotaped beating of bartender Karolina Obrycka.
This is burning up Twitter right now, and I suspect, perhaps rightfully, that there will be tremendous outrage.
But is it that unusual to decidedly not throw the book at someone convicted of aggravated battery? Perhaps not. I’m hardly an expert, but a quick tour of the news makes me think the sentence was not unusual (which is different, obviously, from saying it was just).
Update: Joe the Cop: “he’s exactly the kind of person who gets exactly this kind of sentence every single day, in every single courtroom, in Cook County.”
* Here’s a prominent and videotaped example: you probably remember William Ligue, who beat umpire Tom Gamboa during a White Sox game, to the point where Gamboa suffered hearing loss. Ligue got 30 months for two counts of aggravated battery.
* The Bloomington Pantagraph, 7/9/08, emphasis mine:
“Three men sentenced Wednesday to probation and a dozen weekends in jail for the severe beating of an Illinois State University lacrosse player should consider themselves fortunate, a judge told the men during the sentencing hearing for aggravated battery.
“‘This could have been a murder case but for the fact your victim was pretty durable,’ Judge Charles Reynard told Matthew Walker and brothers Casey Lomoro and Corey Lomoro, all of Highland Park.”
* The Smoking Gun: “Sultaana Freeman (formerly Sandra Keller) was arrested in Decatur, Illinois for battering a foster child [Ed. note: !]. Freeman, 35, pleaded guilty in 1999 to felony aggravated battery and was sentenced to 18 months probation.”
* IL v. Karl Prevo, in which the defendant beat the victim so that he “sustained multiple facial and sinus fractures and a concussion”; Prevo got 30 months probation.
* From the Peoria Journal-Star‘s felony dispositions, 4/28/09: “Travis D. Sutton, 22, 528 Catherine St., Pekin; convicted of two counts of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm; sentenced Jan. 12 to concurrent terms of 63 days in jail and 2 1/2 years of probation; two counts of aggravated battery in a public place were dismissed.”
* From the Peoria Journal-Star, 2/17/09:
“Shawn J. Crew, 26, whose address was listed as 207 E. Spring St., Princeville; convicted of aggravated battery; sentenced Feb. 6 to two years in prison, $1.079 restitution and $312.70 court costs.”
“Tarah M. Rittenhouse, 26, of Moline; convicted of aggravated battery; sentenced Feb. 6 to two years of probation, 90 days in jail, drug abuse treatment and $624 court costs.”
You can find cases of aggravated battery resulting in substantial jail time and in probation, if you poke around. And without knowing the details of the crimes, the judge, and so on, there’s an element of comparing apples to oranges.
I assume that most people, like myself, will think Abbate got off easy – but I’m not yet ready to think it has anything to do with his profession, or anything necessarily outside the typical machinations of the justice system.