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The courts should not go lightly on Catherine Pugh | READER COMMENTARY

In this June 8, 2018, file photo, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh addresses a gathering during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston. Federal prosecutors want the disgraced former mayor of Baltimore to be sentenced to nearly five years in prison for the scheme involving sales of her self-published children's books. Prosecutors in a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, told a judge that sentence would be an adequate punishment for Pugh and would deter other politicians from breaking the public's trust.
In this June 8, 2018, file photo, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh addresses a gathering during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston. Federal prosecutors want the disgraced former mayor of Baltimore to be sentenced to nearly five years in prison for the scheme involving sales of her self-published children's books. Prosecutors in a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, told a judge that sentence would be an adequate punishment for Pugh and would deter other politicians from breaking the public's trust.(Charles Krupa/AP)

I was dismayed to read that Catherine Pugh’s attorney is asking for leniency in her sentencing — and that people are actually supporting the request (“Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh’s attorney asks for 1 year, 1 day in prison, argues she has already suffered greatly,” Feb. 14). Stating that at age 69 she is unemployed, disgraced and has lost everything, we are asked to feel sorry for her and to allow her crimes to go virtually unpunished.

As mayor, Ms. Pugh had an annual salary of $185,000 and still found it necessary to cheat the government and her constituency, which was supposedly so important to her. I’m sorry she feels disgraced, but what she did was disgraceful. In her position as mayor it was worse than someone not in office because she had agreed to take on the responsibility of running and serving Baltimore to the best of her ability. How can you hold others to the law when you are breaking it? Does she (and now those who would keep her to a minimal jail term) feel she is above the law?

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As mayor, she was a role model to the adults and children of Baltimore. Should we send the message that if one has political ties they need not fear paying the price of their criminal behavior? Should we send the message that so-called “white collar” crime is not really that bad and should go virtually unpunished?

How about if we try the old-fashioned way of punishing the guilty and helping the innocent instead of feeling sorry for the guilty and glossing over the effect of their actions on the innocent?

Susan D. Kern, Sparks

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