“Disrespectful Attitude” gets Lynchburg WWI memorial vandal in more trouble
Woman who damaged Lynchburg WWI memorial gets additional community service after veterans complained she had a “disrespectful attitude.”
In October 2013, then 21-year old Jessica McCrickard broke the bayonet off the World War I monument in Lynchburg, Virginia. She said that she broke it “accidentally” and threw the broken piece into the James River.
That Memorial features a side-view of a doughboy in bronze holding his rifle fitted with a bayonet in his right hand (see featured image). The names of the men from Lynchburg who lost their lives and the names of the units that participated in that conflict are inscribed on surrounding stone panels.
McCrickard got a plea deal that required her to spend four Fridays with veterans at “Support our Troops” rallies in downtown Lynchburg. But that was apparently too much for her.
Tuesday, a judge in Virginia added to her sentence after the veterans complained that she had a “disrespectful attitude.” The judge told her to write the 276 names on the monument by hand and to serve an additional 100 hours of community service by August 31.
There are no living World War I veterans; Frank Buckles, the last U.S veteran of that conflict, died at the age of 110 in 2011. Buckles drove an ambulance in France and escorted German prisoners of war in WWI; a merchant seaman, he was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines and spent three years as a prisoner of war in World War II.
The next year, Florence Green, who served in the British Women’s Air Corps and worked as an Officer’s Mess Steward at air bases in England, died at the age of 111.
Maybe, if McCrickard knew more about that war and the American contribution to the Allied victory, she’d be more respectful. About how the 3d Infantry Division became known as the “Rock of the Marne,” and how, after being urged by the French to withdraw from their defensive positions near Lucy-le-Bocage, Marine Captain Lloyd Williams reputedly said, “Retreat? Hell, we just got here!” American forces helped to repel the final German assault in 1918 at places like Chemin des Dames, Chateau Thierry, and Belleau Wood.
The bravery displayed by our forces makes McCrickard’s vandalism and “disrespectful attitude” hard to understand. Where did it come from and how can we get rid of it?
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I am sure this young fool thinks she knows everything she needs to know about those imperialist lackeys of the War Machine. It would be interesting to know what she thinks she knows.
The real question is, who taught her a bunch of false history? This person is not old enough to do independent research, and probably not old enough to recognize bad sourcing. There has to be a teacher of some sort, behind this.
Her school likely used Howard Zinn’s false book on American history.
War is bad; war is evil. No matter the reason for it, war is never good. People who wage war should never be honored.
I love the rancid smell of Self-righteousness in the morning!
This is probably thoroughly unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. Sentencing her to participate in expressive activity with which she doesn’t agree was one violation; increasing her sentence because of her viewpoint is another.
Poor Milhouse. It was NOT her “viewpoint” that she was sentenced for.
It was her vandalism. Cripes…
She committed a CRIME. THAT puts you in a position of disability WRT your rights. Like getting locked away.
It doesn’t matter what her offense was, the sentence was unconstitutional, and increasing it for her viewpoint was doubly unconstitutional.
Sorry, bro, that is just stupid.
But you can offer to take up her case…when you pass a bar exam somewhere.
What “right” under the Constitution did the court here violate?
Careful how you answer, because a criminal has a much diminished set of rights.
The first amendment, you idiot. And no, criminals do not lose their first amendment rights. And you know it, too. If the judge had ordered her to join a Code Pink rally, you’d see the violation immediately. And if he’d increased her sentence because she expressed a view you agreed with you’d once again see the violation and be up in arms about it. But because you agree with the judge’s political views and disagree with this woman’s, you pretend that it’s all OK. That makes you a dishonest person.
Community service sentences are unconstitutional?
No, sentencing someone to participate in expressive activity with which she doesn’t agree is obviously unconstitutional. You know it too, you’re just pretending not to, because you’re a liar.
She shouldn’t have got community service. What “service” could she possibly offer that anyone wants. She should have been hit with a month in jail and ordered to pay restitution.
As Rags points out, she was convicted of vandalism. That was a crime. Her viewpoint is her own.
However, if you think her sentence was somehow unconstitutional, we can fix that. I think three months in jail is a fitting sentence for desecrating a war memorial. I’d make it six months if the memorial can’t be repaired properly.
So six months in jail versus community service. Your call, Mr. Milhouse…
Irrelevant. Are you dishonest, or just dumb enough to think your reply is valid? If he’d sentenced her in the first place to the maximum allowed by law for this minor offense, that would not be a problem. But he had no right to order her to join a political rally, and he certainly had no right to add even one minute to her sentence just because he didn’t like her opinions.
So are you saying all community service sentencing is wrong? Trying to understand your point of view.
No, of course I’m not saying that. How could you possibly have got such a stupid idea? What did I write that could conceivably be read as implying any such thing?
Sentencing someone to community service is of course valid. Sentencing someone to participate in a political demonstration is of course illegal and a violation of the judge’s oath of office. Enhancing her sentence because she holds views the judge disagrees with is an even bigger violation. The judge belongs in jail, not her.
The judge offered her alternative sentencing: either sit in jail or work with the veterans. Her choice, and she made it. She then was “disrespectful”.
So first, she had a choice: if going to help the veterans at the rallies was somehow violating her political rights, she could have sat in jail.
And second, if you choose to go to the rallies in order to avoid jail, you’re best advised to keep your mouth shut and not get into any more trouble.
It looks to me that it was the defendant who was both dumb and dishonest…
The judge had no right to order her to participate in a rally or any other expressive activity that she disagreed with. He had no right to punish her if she would not do it, and he had no right to punish her for expressing her own opinion that he disagreed with. Judges have no business injecting their own political opinions into their work. People are entitled to disagree with a judge’s opinions without suffering any penalty for it.
Oh, and three months for petty vandalism would be an eighth amendment violation, but this judge doesn’t care about the first, so why would he care about the eighth?
Actually, the judge could have sentenced her to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine for destruction of property and petit larceny. Under a plea agreement, the judge reduced the jail time to 6 months and suspended her sentence contingent upon her four Fridays with the veterans. Those four meetings are supposed to be a learning experience for the little twit, not an opportunity or a platform for her to express disrespect or contempt for war veterans.
He ordered her to participate in rallies expressing a particular opinion. That’s automatically unconstitutional. He had no right to make such an order. You’d see it automaticlally if he’d ordered her to attend an 0bama rally, so how can’t you see it now?
It wasn’t petty vandalism.
It was the defacing of a war memorial.
Now I’m sure that in your mind, the two are one and the same. But to most of us it isn’t — defacing a war memorial is akin to defacing the stones at a cemetery. That decidedly is NOT “petty” vandalism.
But as another reader has documented, the range in the sentencing guidelines included up to a year in jail. So my suggestion of three months is actually rather lenient (I’m reconsidering that leniency thanks to you, I now think six months is better).
Finally, the judge added to her sentence after she showed “a disrespectful attitude”. While I’m not a judge, I think that when you show disrespect to one, you’re inviting a response. Judges don’t like it when guilty parties are disrespectful to the sentence, to the law, and/or to them. Judges are perfectly within their rights to tack on to the sentence to deliver that message.
Yes, it was petty vandalism. The fact that it’s a war memorial makes no difference. The law can’t treat a war memorial differently from any other piece of public art. That war memorials deserve respect is an opinion, and the state is not allowed to have opinions. That’s basic first amendment law.
And a judge may certainly not demand that she respect these veterans and their message, any more than he may demand that the veterans respect the Code Pink nutsos and their message. The judge must treat all viewpoints equally, and that means “support our troops” and “God damn America” are equal before the law.
Vandalism is a first amendment right now? I’m officially calling troll on this one.
No, you idiot.
This is probably thoroughly unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.
Superficially, it may seem so. Why not do it right, and have a full-boat show trial, and badger her until she confesses to the error of her ways? Followed by a good purging. All very Cultural Revolution.
But that’s not really the situation. She wasn’t convicted and punished for a bad attitude. She was convicted of a real crime – vandalism, littering (dumping in the river), whatever. The attitude led to sentence enhancement. The attitude by itself wouldn’t have resulted in charges, much less a conviction.
Yes, it is really the situation. She was sentenced to an expressive activity that she didn’t agree with. That was illegal. The judge had no right to do that. Then he increased her sentence for no other reason than her viewpoint, which which he disagreed. That makes him a criminal far worse than her.
Yeah, back in ’72 I was sentenced to an expressive activity I didn’t agree with; wearing the uniform of the US Army. I got drafted! Unconstitutional?
Wearing the uniform is not an expressive activity. Participating in a political rally is.
Since when does a convicted perp have to agree with the sentence?
She actually did agree to the sentence. It was specified in her plea agreement.
I most plea bargains since time began.
You idiot. Where did I say she had to agree with the sentence? The problem here is that this criminal judge ordered her to express an opinion that she didn’t agree with. No judge has the right to do that. Ever.
No problem Milhouse or MarkS. The young lady has an absolute inviolable right to receive a prison sentence and refuse an alternative sentencing agreement. She can decline community service and take what comes.
Maybe she thought that doing community service with an attutude would be a way of continuing her protest.
Well then she thought wrong. As Judge Judy says, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
So you’d be fine with a judge telling someone they could either go to jail or work for the 0bama campaign, right? Because they have the choice of going to jail instead, they’re not being coerced into expressing an opinion, right? No, of course not. If the judge’s political opinions didn’t happen to agree with yours, and the convict’s opinions did, then you’d be up in arms. But because the judge has the same opinions as you, and the convict doesn’t, you’re fine with spitting on the constitution. That’s disgusting.
She said that she broke it “accidentally”
Despite the scare quotes, that’s not an outlandish claim.
On such monuments, the gun is a frequent target of pranks. Usually it’s stolen. Very often it’s returned sometime after the perps sober up. A few years later it’s stolen again, and again eventually recovered. Etc.
It often happens to a Civil War monument in my home town. It’s practical when the gun is not fabricated in one piece with the rest of the monument.
Perhaps in this case the twit was fiddling with the gun, attempting to remove it intact, but instead busted it. Of course it’s still vandalism, but perhaps not quite as sinister as imputed.
What mystifies me is why and when “community service” came to be considered a punishment. Crimes such as this one were exactly why less effete eras had punishments like the stocks.
Looking at the photo provided with this post, both the rifle and the bayonet look to be of bronze — I suspect cast at the same time as the casting of the soldier. Not sure if its fabricated all as one piece, but I’ll bet the rifle and bayonet are attached to the rest of the statue in order to prevent it from walking away.
An “accidental” breaking of the bayonet is not possible unless the perpetrator is both negligent and uncaring — hardly the qualities one wants to see in a citizen around a war memorial.
No, her acts and her attitude suggest rather strongly that she’s a privileged progressive who saw this as just another way to demonstrate her open contempt to current American society. Next time she should just wave a professionally printed ANSWER sign.
An “accidental” breaking of the bayonet is not possible…
Yabut, “rough sex…”…
Her “disrespectful attitude” in serving the community service she agreed to clearly puts the lie to her “accident” defense.
Maybe she’s a jerk.
Maybe she was drunk.
Maybe she turns into a jerk when she’s drunk.
Liberals don’t do respect. That’s what this whole incident is about.
I agree with Milhouse: she’s being punished for an attitude. That’s thought control, or a damn good stab at it.
Imagine someone who graffitis a rude comment about Obama on a public building. For this vandalism he is sentenced to write “I LOVE Obama” a thousand times. And when he starts writing “Like HELL I LOVE Obama” the judge throws in another thousand lines. That’s about what we’ve got here.
Don’t judges consider remorse when applying sentences? Attitude does matter.
The judge may expect remorse for the crime. Not for the opinion expressed. The judge may require the defendant to say that she won’t write any mroe graffiti; he may not require her to write “I love 0bama”, any more than he may require an 0bama supporter to write “I hate 0bama”. Nobody may, under color of law, require any person to express or repudiate any opinion, ever.
In order to commit a thought crime, I would think one would have to put a good bit of thought into doing so. I don’t see the evidence here of intelligent thought to convict on thought crime.
However, I do see how attitude can increase a sentence if a judge is not satisfied that the terms of the plea agreement were met. I know some of the folks that run trash pickup for alcohol violators. You show up late or pitch a fit and that officer will certainly ensure that your sentence lengthens considerably. No political motive there, just enforcing behavioral reform, which is justified in the case of criminal behavior.
To push the point further, “thought crime” is punishing someone merely for how they think. Criminal behavior is actions based on thoughts. In essence, every criminal has committed “thought crime” but they were convicted on their actions.
Her actions were vandalism, littering, and lack of remorse for aforementioned criminal actions as DISPLAYED by her disrespectful attitude during her plea service. Your “thought crime” defense does not hold water because it was her actions, not thoughts, that led to her increased service hours.
A disrespectful attitude is an OPINION, not an action. And she had the right to express her opinion without being punished for it. Even if that opinion is something you and the judge both disagree with.
In order to commit a thought crime, I would think one would have to put a good bit of thought into doing so.
Why on earth would you think that? A thought crime is simply having an opinion that the judge doesn’t like. In this case we don’t know exactly what her opinion is, but presumably it’s something less than full support for the US armed forces. And the judge first ordered her to express the opposite opinion, and then punished her for holding her opinion.
What part of “she agreed to the punishment in a plea deal” isn’t resonating here? I don’t care if it’s standing on your head and singing “I’m a Yankee doodle dandy” for six hours, if you agree to a deal, then you’re responsible for fulfilling it. She could have refused and gone to trial. She accepted the plea agreement, and should have quietly fulfilled the terms of it, but she couldn’t keep her big mouth shut. That’s contempt, is it not?
It’s unconstitutional even to offer such a deal. It’s unconstitutional to present someone with the choice of expressing an opinion she doesn’t agree with or going to prison. That’s not a real choice. And it’s certainly unconstititional to expect respect for the judge’s approved opinion, or to punish someone for not having such respect. It’s exactly the same as punishing someone for the “crime” of disrespecting 0bama.
A twenty something woman with an attitude. Hardly a rare occurrence.
I know a young woman who was before a District Judge in DC for disrupting a Congressional Hearing. When she rebuffed the Courts attempt to get her to express remorse the judge banged the gavel and said six months. She did not enjoy the six months in the DC jail.
There is a time and place for attitude.
By your definition, spraying a swastika on the garage door of a Jewish homeowner or destroying a Jewish tombstone should also be tolerated as a inoffensible form of expressive activity.
Liberals don’t deal in absolutes. The only time expressive activity is allowed is if it fits in their agenda.
Morality is also relative and subject to the lens of progressivism to deem its merit and therefore suitability.
Of course not. The vandalism is a crime, and should be punished. But it may not be punished more harshly than the same crime expressing any other opinion. And the punishment may not consist of forcing the person to express the contrary opinion. The closest that a judge may come to that would be to order the person to attend some classes, or read some books, or watch some films about the Holocaust, etc, and then write a report on what he learned. But if the person does all that and his report says that that Hitler was right, and that the judge ought be gassed too, tough luck; the judge may not punish the person in any way for having the wrong opinion.
The punishment fits the crime, ergo she was given her due and the common good was served; justice was served.
She was not forced to agree with any ideology by being made to serve others who hold such ideology. Maybe, though, she will begin to think of others before her ideology kicks in. That kind of ‘thinking’ is missing in our present Millennial culture.
Or we could, as some ideologies practice, cut off her hands. This also would not ‘endanger’ her ideology. But it would make her think twice about defacing public property.
If a judge, I would choose humane community service, service that could broaden her ideology in hopes that she could possibly COEXIST with others without ever defacing them and what they hold dear.
She was not forced to agree with any ideology by being made to serve others who hold such ideology
She was forced to participate in rallies expressing that ideology. Rallies are by definition expressive activities. Attendance at a rally means expressing agreement with its message. If she did not agree with “supporting our troops” the judge had no business ordering her to show support by attending these rallies.
Photo of the vandal here:
mock her without mercy.
I was at Gettysburg over Thanksgiving a couple years ago with my niece. She was learning law at Cornell and being from the left coast I thought it would be nice for her to learn a bit about the War Between the States in person as well as not being alone for the holiday.
We stopped at the tower overlook of the Confederates position where a jogger was desperately throwing rocks from the wall trying to find her keys, which she left hidden among them so she’d not have them while running. She stated she’d put the rocks back when she found her keys.
Park police got her, last I saw she was waiting for the ticket, which I hope was very expensive.
Makes me sad how little respect so many people have for the ones who went before us to leave us the greatest country the world has ever known.