When Butch Slaughter sent me the email announcing that DA Jack Whelan was going to visit Shakiyl Smith, I was curious how that would work out.
It certainly makes for a great front page photo op, but the results of the meeting was interestingly predictable and somewhat disappointing.
But the DA is the DA. He's the top cop and his job is to prosecute. God forbid if he shows any signs of wavering in a situation like this. He'd be thrown to the wolves for sure. In his opinion...
“There’s an aspect in any criminal justice system of repentance and forgiveness, but to me it’s on the back end of it, where the person has served his time and wishes to re-enter society and become a productive member,” Whelan said after meeting Smith. “Then, certainly if he feels remorse and he’s going to come out of the penitentiary and not offend again — that’s what we would always encourage.”
Knowing Slaughter as I do, I'm sure this statement came as no surprise, but only reinforces his premise that healing will likely never occur, the shooter will not likely ever step forward, and the system will continue to operate as it does with criminal justice first, and the hope of repentance and forgiveness second.
Slaughter is presenting a case that there could be a better way, or at least a different way.
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