September 16, 2019
Despite the public outcry, John Legend doesn't believe Felicity Huffman's prison sentence of 14 days should be increased.
The general reaction to the sentence actress Felicity Huffman received for bribing a man to have her daughter's SAT scores corrected and elevated has been disbelief.
Although the actress pleaded guilty to mail fraud, she was sentenced to 14 days behind bars and a $30,000 fine. To John Legend, she should be serving no sentence at all, while others point out that she is getting off lightly because she is rich - and white.
"No one in our nation will benefit from the 14 days an actress will serve for cheating in college admissions. We don't need to lock people up for any of this stuff." John Legend
Legend's reaction seems to be focused on the backlash to Huffman's sentencing, and many have pointed out that in 2011 a homeless woman, Tanya McDowell, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for putting her child in the wrong school.
This to Legend is, of course, a great injustice but sending Huffman to jail won't right that wrong.
“I get why everyone gets mad when rich person X gets a short sentence and poor person of color Y gets a long one. The answer isn’t for X to get more; it’s for both of them to get less (or even none!!!) We should level down not up,” he wrote.
Felicity Huffman wept openly in court as she declared her remorse for her crime
As fas as Legend is concerned, neither Huffman nor Tanya McDowell should have received any jail time at all. He believes that American society has become accustomed to seeing people sent to jail by rote for the slightest offenses.
"Prisons and jails are not the answer to every bad thing everyone does, but we've come to use them to address nearly every societal ill," he wrote.
Legend refers to another case from 2016 in which a woman, Crystal Mason, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for voting in an election while being ineligible.
“It’s unconscionable that we locked a woman up for voting when, unbeknownst to her, she was ineligible. Her sentence shouldn’t be fewer years. It should be ZERO,” he wrote.
Legend's point is valid, but it still does not explain the glaring discrepancy between the three women's sentences.
5 years or 14 days in jail - it looks like it pays to be rich and famous when you commit a crime.
One of Legend's followers went so far as to accuse of being sympathetic to Huffman because she is rich "too."But for Legend the interest in the American justice system is no flash in the pan.
The singer is a fierce advocate of reform and ending mass incarceration and founded an organization, FREE AMERICA In 2014, focused on transforming the justice system.
Felicity Huffman wept openly in court as she declared her remorse for her crime, and apologized for to the students, parents, and institutes on higher education who saw the system corrupted by her actions.
Huffman had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud after paying William "Rick" Singer $15,000 to have her daughter Sophia's SAT's scores increased by having a proctor correct her answers.
Huffman explained in a letter to the Judge that her daughter had been diagnosed with a learning disability at 8 and that she was trying to get her a "fair shot" and be "a good mother."
Her plea obviously worked, because Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Huffman to14 days in jail, a $30,000 fine.
In addition, the actress is required to do 250 hours of community service. when all is said and done, Huffman got away with the lightest of slaps on the wrist. No wonder the public outcry is so great.