When a one percenter breaks a financial law, it’s just about expected that all they’ll do is pay a fine, avoid prison, and on their life goes. It’s a sad injustice, but that’s the current norm. With macabre and disgusting crimes, like rape and murder, surely no one is exempt from justice after committing such, right? Not in one instance, which is horrifying.
Robert H. Richards is the great grandson of Irenee du Pont and heir to the du Pont pamily fortune. Six years ago, the Delaware resident was convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter and was only given probation and ordered to rehabilitation treatment. The reasoning of Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden was that Richards “will not fare well” behind bars.
The case received recent public attention after Richards’ ex-wife filed a lawsuit on behalf of her children in pursuit of “compensatory and punitive damages for assault, negligence, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress” on the children.
In 2008, Richards’ admitted to sexually abusing his children from 2005 and 2007 and was initially charged with two counts of second-degree child rape. Each charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, however, using his money and prestige, he hired Delaware’s top criminal defense attorney and got the charges reduced to fourth-degree rape charges. Fourth-degree rape charges in Delaware have no mandatory minimum sentence.
Richards’ is currently unemployed and is living off of his trust fund.
The notion that Richards’ wouldn’t “fare well” in prison came from a Delaware Public Defender, Brendan O’Neill. “Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn’t proven to be true in most circumstances.” That assertion is only partially correct.
When one considers all the money spent on imprisoning non-violent drug offenders and the lack of effect it has on society, yes, that claim is true. However, Richards’ case is a completely different circumstance. He is a man who took away the humanity and innocence of children who could not defend themselves. Richards didn’t get caught with a personal-use amount of drugs. He sexually attacked a child, an act of inherent evil where the vessel of which should be in prison.
And people aren’t meant to “fare well” in prison. There have been many other people who have committed the same crime, but were incarcerated anyway regardless of their ability to “fare well” or not. The only difference is that Richards has money that these other offenders don’t.
At that point, how a person holds up in prison is a non-factor. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that Richards committed a violent and heinous crime, to which he admitted, and is still sleeping in his $1.8 million, 5,800-square-foot mansion. This case is completely void of justice in any sense.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.