EDITOR: Marathon County fuels its heroin problem by not providing the programs available to help addiction.
Does it seem fair to throw a maximum sentence to a first-time drug offender, first-time felony conviction for a freak accident resulting in death of a friend from a car crash (not an overdose) and to punish him even further by withholding his entry into rehab, which is precisely what is needed, from 25 percent of his term per statute to 48 months? Is this going to help an addict? Is he even going to need a drug program in four years from now? No!
This is what happened to Kyle Kennedy in Marathon County's justice system. The sentence was shocking, especially since other recent cases involving heroin dealers have resulted in slaps on the wrist.
David Purnell of Chicago was part of a five-person team selling heroin to a Kronenwetter man who overdosed. He got four years in prison and a warning not to come around here anymore. Doesn't the court put a value on that life? And Purnell qualifies for the drug programs and the judge hasn't withheld that from him, perhaps because Wausau is afraid of the big time drug dealers and their cartels. He will be out on the streets in no time and, yes, he very well may come back to Wausau to sell.
I am disappointed in how the court is fueling the drug problem in our community and not fixing it by wasting our tax dollars on exorbitant unwarranted prison terms withholding the treatment these people need. Shame.