Editorial Brief

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Justice has a price, even for the learned

The emotional sentencing of Kyle Payne this week for partially stripping, fondling and videotaping an unconscious fellow student brought no surprises, but one statement by the lawyer for Payne, a former volunteer women's rape crisis counselor at BVU, remains a question mark in our minds.

Attorney Monty Brown addressed the judge in a plea for leniency, noting that Payne has nearly achieved a master's degree with straight A's.

"Do we really need another felon out there with this degree of education?" he asked.

We have to wonder at that.

No lofty degree or high grade point average justifies abuse or violation of the trust of others.

No, we surely didn't need another felon, nor does the public need any more jail residents to support for six months at a time, but "we" didn't cause Kyle Payne to do what he did - that was his choice. Justice must be blind to how impressive a resume a person may show, and justice has to be served.

No court action can erase the impact on lives, and we can only hope for healing for all here.

And we should all hope that with this high level of education, Mr. Payne is able to right his life and find a means to contribute at a high level one day. Until then, this punishment may be the most valuable form of education he could be given.