As I was still reeling with the news of yet another senseless mass shooting last week, an email from a news service appeared in my inbox.
It said that the Florida Supreme Court upheld simultaneous 1,000-year prison sentences for a man who'd been sentenced as a juvenile for brutal attacks. The man could be eligible for parole in 2352, the story said.
Arthur O'Derrell Franklin, who was a juvenile when he committed multiple violent crimes, would be 387 on the first day he'd be eligible for parole.
Nothing speaks to how broken our system is than sentencing and, 35 years later, upholding the sentencing of a man to nearly 300 years more than he remotely has a chance of living.
I'm sure there was much congratulating and figurative chest bumping when the sentence was announced.
This man will be off the streets forever and ever and ever, literally. But it is a meaningless sentence, one more designed to get headlines than mete out justice.
Life in prison without possibility of parole would get the same result.
But I'm not surprised. Our legal system is top heavy, designed to make sure that everyone convicted of a crime spends the maximum amount of time in court, both before, during and after being sentenced.
Inmates live out their lives on death row haunted, in theory, by the threat of being euthanized. In reality, they are just as likely to die of natural causes.
I don't have a problem with folks spending the rest of their lives in jail, although I think you could argue that in their last years we are spending money to keep them confined long after their danger to the public has passed.
I do have a problem with the system spending money to argue a sentence that made no sense in 1983 and makes no sense more than 30 years later. And it was argued all the way up to our state's highest courts, which upheld the nonsensical sentence.
I'm sure I won't see reform in my lifetime. I'm not sure it will ever take place in this country.
Innocent people still get put in jail. Guilty ones go free. And we really don't have a foolproof method to prevent either of those scenarios.
But don't lose heart.
It's not perfect, but we can all rest secure in the knowledge that we are safe from Arthur O'Derrell Frankin forever and ever and ever.
Daily News Managing Editor Wendy Victora can be reached at 315-4478 or firstname.lastname@example.org