Where’s the Justice in Jefferson County?

Submitted by Mary Jones

My letter is one that I’m certain half of you will agree with and the other half will very much disagree with. First I’d like to thank Toronto in Focus for giving me the opportunity to express my view.

I would like to pose a few questions regarding the criminal justice system in Jefferson County and ask all of you, just how JUST is it? What am I talking about? Doug Hannan! Before you go off talking about what he deserves, think about what everyone else who breaks the law deserves. There are cold blooded murderers walking around Jefferson County and Toronto for that matter who served equal or less time than Doug Hannan will ultimately serve? Is that fair. Although what Mr. Hannan did was very wrong and of course he deserved to be punished, did and does he deserve the same or a harsher punishment than murderers? Yes, lives were affected, but none were stolen! Yes, people were traumatized, but not by the death of a loved one. And yes, he deserved time in jail, but does he deserve 8 years when people who have very obviously done things that don’t even compare get half of that and then walk among us.

What about rapists and child molestors? Doug Hannan’s son surely was affected in a very adverse way by this. So let’s think about the other children who are the victim of a crime. What about the little elementary children in this county that have been raped and sexually assaulted and molested? Do you agree that they have been dealt a harsher hand? Do you agree that the crimes committed unto them were of a greater magnitude? Rape of a child under the age of ten??? Come on! People who commit such crimes in Jefferson County get out of prison in less time than Mr. Hannan will.

If you are still trying to figure out what the point is, the point is….. I’m sick to death about what is going on here. I’m feeling pretty horrible about the justice system today! Not because a man is being punished, because a man is being selectively punished by a set of standards that which are not used on everyone else. Standards which are only used on him! That could be anyone sitting there in prison. However, I believe if he were just “anyone” he wouldn’t be sitting there he’d be out on the streets with the rest of us. Do you realize the unfairness our justice system is capable of? Do you realize that one man can take a life and be on the streets in five years, and another can commit assault and domestic violence and spend 8 to 15 years behind bars? Someone PLEASE point out the justice in that for me. I’m having a very difficult time finding anything just about it.

I would also like to point out that I know there were worse cases of domestic violence in this county over the past ten years and some of them were never even prosecuted. One in particular that I’ve heard about, a woman was assaulted with a dinner fork and stabbed repeately. Her juglar vein was hit and she spent several days in the Critical Care Unit at our local hospital. Who did it? HER HUSBAND! Have you ever heard this story? NO! How much conscious thought does it take to stab someone in excess of 100 times from head to toe and with a dinner fork? I’d have to say the assailant had plenty of time to come to his senses and realize what he was doing even if he acted in a fit of blind rage. The victim is left mentally traumatized and physically scarred! In the same county where this attack occurred, a man is to spend 8 years of his life in prison for assaulting his wife with his hands. Ms. Hannan was not to my knowledge in Critical Care for days, nor was she left physically scarred. And please do not get me wrong, I am not trying to make what happened Ms. Hannan seem any less tragic than it was. I am merely comparing two similar situations and the outcome of both. One might think that the dinner fork attack also warranted jail time. And I personally believe more time than Mr. Hannan. The fact is, I don’t believe the man was ever prosecuted. I watched the papers and the news. I never heard a word about it. But four years after Doug Hannan’s trial, I was able to see what he did splattered all over the news. My only thought, after the fact was..”gee, I wonder what that other woman looked like after being stabbed 100 times by a fork! Where is her picture?”

I am NOT taking sides in the Hannan/Hannan case. I AM questioning the justice in Mr. Hannan’s sentence. Why? Because we should all be treated equally as far as the justice system goes and I do not feel in my heart that is what has transpired. As residents of this county, state and United States, we should all be treated equally and fairly. How can we justify a slap on the wrist for one person and a 10 year sentence to another who has committed the very same crime? And please don’t tell yourself it is because he was a police officer. We are all human beings first and foremost. When our emotions (positive or negative) take over, what we do from 9 to 5 never enters our minds. Mr. Hannan is a human being first, and a police officer second. I don’t care what he did for a living. It should have NO bearing on his sentence and it has.

Those of you who disagree with me, please remember this is not about whether Doug Hannan deserved to be punished for his acts of violence. The question here is, should Doug Hannan be singled out and punished to the fullest extent of the law while murderers, child rapists, and those who have committed even worse acts of violence serve half the time? And moreover, do you feel comfortable with the fact that the same thing could happen to you or someone you know? Do you feel good inside knowing that at any given time you could be singled out? I surely do not! It scares me to death to know that their is nothing JUST about the JUSTICE in this county!

Still for those of you who want Mr. Hannan to rot in jail for whatever reasons, remember the Lord’s prayer. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We live in a society that refuses forgiveness yet expects it from God and everyone else. We expect the world to forgive us and God to forgive us but when it comes time for us to do the forgiving, some of us seem to have NO MERCY!

As a citizen of Jefferson County, I am totally outraged by the selective punishment and prosecution that surrounds this case. We all sit back and allow this to go on, then if and when it should happen to someone we know, we’d expect others to see the injustice! Well, if you ignore it and allow it to go on and on…… it will NEVER end! When it finally comes around and bites you on the behind, you can thank yourself for doing nothing as you watched the same thing happen to another human being. Because I assure you, if this happened to you or yours, you’d be outraged by the strong dose of injustice served one man. Please remember that! And also remember that the issue at hand is not whether or not Doug Hannan deserved to be punished, the question here is, does he deserved to be punished more harshly than anyone and everyone else!

Mary Jones

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