On Jan. 25, I attended the sentencing of Karen Lofgren (TNT, 1-26).
I went into the courtroom expecting that the judge, Katherine Stolz, would be careful, compassionate and fair as she weighed all the evidence before her. I believed that she would consider all sides and order a sentence that balanced our society’s goals of punishment and restoration.
Instead I experienced the reality that some judges seem to value punishment and condemnation over everything else.
Lofgren’s deep remorse, her spotless record, her contributions to her community and the strong community support for rehabilitation and restoration were ignored. She was sentenced to almost 14 years in prison and allowed no further contact with her two young children.
Judge Stolz had the duty to consider every relevant factor and to provide a sentence consistent with those factors. She also had the power to serve as a voice for mercy and restoration. Her decision in this case was neither balanced nor compassionate.
It is my hope that punishment will never outweigh restoration, and that we are determined to hold our judges accountable to the values and purposes we have entrusted to their care.