The Harper sentence: Justice is served
Apologists for corrupt cops wanted a federal judge to show former Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper leniency and mercy on Tuesday when he was sentenced for leading a conspiracy to steal public money and failing to file tax returns. Neither was deserved and little was given in U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon's courtroom.
Mr. Harper, 61, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $32,000 in restitution. He diverted more than $70,000 from a city account into two police credit union accounts. Then he used close to half of it for personal expenses. Those implicated in his thievery fingered Harper as the mastermind. The judge agreed. Nate Harper is a common crook.
Still, the crowd that would rather spare the rod and spoil the ex-chief wanted probation. After all, Harper didn't get into law enforcement to enrich himself; he came to it late in life. Some defense. And, don't you know, subjecting Harper to the maw of prison isn't justice but revenge. His rehabilitation, if not his redemption, could be better had by lecturing recruits on resisting occupational temptations. But if that's a sincere entreaty, the visual of doing it from behind bars would have far greater impact.
Plato put it all in perfect perspective a few centuries back: “He who desires to inflict rational punishment does not retaliate for a past wrong which cannot be undone; he has regard to the future, and is desirous that the man who is punished, and he who sees him punished, may be deterred from doing wrong again.”
And that is the justice of Nate Harper's sentence.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.N. Watch: Cheering on Iran
- PSEA oops: Letters & the law
- Sunday pops
- The Kathleen Kane chronicles: The Pa. attorney general’s credibility is gone
- Obama’s amnesty: Abuse of power
- Taxing policies
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Liquor reform for a gas extraction tax?: It should be a nonstarter
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- The turnpike scandal: More wet noodles