Joel Magalnick’s “viewpoint” on Rabbi Schwartz misses the whole point of a sentencing hearing: to take testimony of a defendant’s character and service to his family and community into consideration in setting the sentence for his crime. The purpose of a sentence is to engender penitence (hence the name “penitentiary”).
In a case where a contributing member of the community publicly and sincerely expresses his penitence and shame for his actions, he will likely receive a “lighter” sentence than a hardened criminal who expresses no remorse. And, who among us has not been driving while momentarily inattentive to the road? Any of us could have been where Rabbi Schwartz was, but for the grace of God — except for Joel Magalnick who appears to be alone without sin.
If Mr. Magalnick were himself to be found guilty of a crime, would he tell his wife, employer, friends, and rabbi to stay home, forbidding them to testify on his behalf — so that he could receive the maximum sentence possible? Yet, he proclaims that a rabbi’s friends, employers and co-workers should do just that. What hypocrisy!
Then he asks “What is the Japanese community to think of their Jewish neighbors…”? Does Mr. Magalnick really think that if the shoe were on the other foot, and a Japanese minister accidentally struck and killed a Jewish man, that the minister’s congregants and colleagues would not testify in court on his behalf?
Mr. Magalnick implies that in order to assuage anti-Semitic feelings, we Jews should restrain our civil rights, including our right to free speech to testify on behalf of our fellow Jew. Really? If Mr. Magalnick wishes to beat himself up with Jewish guilt for being alive, he is free to do so, but at least he could have the decency to spare the rest of us.