Socialist 2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders found a “racist” social-media boxcar to hop aboard that is dishonestly comparing actress Felicity Huffman’s 14-day jail sentence resulting from her fraudulent college admissions conviction to the sentence Tanya McDowell received in a case seven years ago. The trouble with that is there is no comparison because McDowell’s plea bargain sentence was about her selling drugs to an undercover officer.
For Democrats, facts cannot get in the way of a compelling narrative. Sanders replied Friday to a “white privilege” tweet, saying: “We have a criminal justice system which is racist, broken, and must be fundamentally reformed.
We have a criminal justice system which is racist, broken, and must be fundamentally reformed. https://t.co/XvLHcDvc9A
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 14, 2019
In 2011, McDowell was arrested in Norwalk, Connecticut, for sending her son to school there when she was actually living in Bridgeport, but that was not what got her into big trouble. She was released on bond and then subsequently arrested in Bridgeport on suspicion of attempting to sell narcotics to and offering an undercover cop a prostitute.
A plea deal accepted by McDowell’s attorney circumvented a trial that could have potentially sent the woman to prison for decades, due to the narcotics charges. In fact, the lenient five-year sentence she received was shorter than the minimum sentence she would have faced after a trial.
Nonetheless, as reported by the CT Post, at the formal sentencing hearing following the plea deal that combined the narcotics charges with the larceny charges connected with enrolling her son in a Norwalk school, McDowell said, “Who would have thought that wanting a good education for my son would put me in this predicament? I have no regrets seeking a better education for him. I do regret my participation in this drug case.”
“This case is about the convictions for the sale of narcotics to an undercover police officer,” Judge Frank Iannotti replied emphatically. “I think you understand that because that is really the essence of what has gotten you into the predicament you find yourself today.”
In fact, the notorious left-wing fact-checking site Snopes, got it right, mentioning the drug charges and pointing out that the attempts to compare the McDowell and Huffman cases are misguided, stating …
After McDowell’s arrest was nationally reported, outrage ensued, and a petition was established online calling for the charges against her to be dropped. But larceny wasn’t the only charge McDowell faced. In 2011, she was arrested again, this time on suspicion of attempting to sell drugs to and offering an undercover police officer a prostitute.
The McDowell case was raised again in 2019 in comparisons to the celebrity college-admissions scandal, as an example of perceived unequal sentencing meted out according to class and race, although most failed to take into account that McDowell’s sentencing was the result of a plea bargain in which she was given a lighter sentence than she could have faced had she proceeded to trial.
To be clear, being brought up on multiple sale-of-narcotics, prostitution, and larceny charges is a huge contrast to Huffman’s crime of paying $15,000 to fraudulently raise her daughter’s SAT scores in a college admissions scandal.
The actress was sentenced to 14 days behind bars and one-year probation, fined $30,000 and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.
“I think this is the right sentence here,” U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani told Huffman. “You can move forward and rebuild your life after this. Without this sentence, I think the community around you would ask why you got away with this.”
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