Letter to the editor: Jail for probation officer unjust
An egregious miscarriage of justice occurred Sept. 4 when Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani jailed Probation Officer Sheldon Arrington for contempt of court.
Arrington did use his phone while waiting for a court hearing last year in this judge’s courtroom. While the merits of the “contempt” case are debatable, no one in his or her right mind agrees with incarcerating an officer of the court who has dedicated his life to helping children in the juvenile justice system.
Arrington should not have used a phone in the courtroom, but to snatch away his freedom and jeopardize his safety and career by putting him in jail is outrageous and illogical. Why not impose a large fine that could go toward a charity or order community service? Why sentence him to something that is meant to house people who are threats to the community or flight risks?
This judge easily makes the Allegheny County Jail part of his weekly sentencing orders, issued from his ivory tower. This experience damages condemned souls who unfortunately drew the short stick in life by landing on his docket.
Using incarceration in this manner does nothing but satisfy the ego of this judge. Contempt is a scary ordeal to experience when the judge at the helm is not fair-minded or compassionate. Discretion and humanity were sacrificed in this case for hubris.
Mariani is up for a retention vote in 2025. Please remember incidents like this when voting him out!