[politics, law, human rights, humor]

Chinese farmer gets life for evading highway tolls.

This is outrageous! China is a human rights violator! Down with China!

Ooops. This sort of sentencing is business as usual in the United States. And the U.S. Supreme Court is just fine with it. In 2003, the high court approved California’s 25 years to life sentences given out under the state’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out” statute.  The offenders and their third strike: Gary Ewing, who shoplifted some expensive golf clubs (he put them down his pants leg), see Ewing v. California, 538 U.S. 11 (2003), and Leandro Andrade, who boosted $150 worth of videotapes from two K-Mart stores and got two consecutive sentences, meaning he got 50 years to life. See Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63 (2003).

This is not to mention that the U.S. is the world’s leading practitioner of sentencing juvenile offenders to life without possibility of parole. Or that we have more than 2 million people languishing in our prisons, more than any other country in the world, in total and as a percentage of our population.  Many of our prisoners are serving mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession.

But then again, we’re Americans. We don’t violate human rights. China does.