Here’s what’s up with Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia.
He said there was no investigation until it was obvious that there was an investigation, and it was all politically motivated anyway, and you didn’t have to pay for trash bags anymore, and the city’s 57th Portuguese restaurant may or may not open on Purchase Street after the election, because you can’t get enough Portuguese food, and it’s not important to know why he was arrested in Bridgewater driving a city vehicle, and the investors are lenders now, and he’s going to give back the money he said he didn’t take, because he’s just been hanging on to that money for them, as a bank does with your money, and he didn’t want to give it back because there was no investigation at all, not at all, not for a long time.
Did you get all that? Me neither, and I left out a couple things.
It has become impossible to write about Jasiel Correia in short sentences. This is good for His Honor.
Nothing is worse for Correia than the short sentence. “Jasiel Correia has been indicted 13 times by the federal government.
“See what I mean? That’s a relatively short sentence, and it’s murder on Correia’s efforts to survive a recall election.
“Jasiel Correia is under indictment.” See? Short sentence. Political death.
“Jasiel Correia was arrested.” Even more political death.
The idea is to throw more and more words at the issue until it disappears the way a fresh mound of dog droppings disappears under a fresh fall of snow. It’s gone and the sidewalk is beautiful and virginally white, but you still have to be careful where you walk because the dog droppings haven’t gone away. Still, it looks like it’s not there anymore, and in Fall River, “looks like” has long since taken over for reality, which is often unpleasant.
Every long sentence generated by Correia’s lawyer is meant to bury one of the shorter sentences.
Correia has a very good attorney, a guy who doesn’t usually represent the innocent. This is good. You don’t want to be represented by some dope who thinks you’re innocent. You want to be represented by a guy who will concentrate less on “clearing your name,” and more on getting you as little time as possible. You want a guy with a lot of words, a guy who can shovel long sentences on top of dog droppings until even the smell can’t be detected. If you rob a convenience store, the prosecutor will cherish the short sentence, things like, “ He held up a convenience store.”
The defense attorney, on the other hand, will cherish longer sentences about how your life has been “ruined by the tragic disease of addiction, which can strike anyone at any level of society, and from which my client suffers.”
The defense lawyer’s longer sentence is intended to separate the jury from the mental image of you sticking a loaded gun in the face of a terrified minimum wage store clerk, and then spending the money you stole on heroin.
Correia occasionally insists that the things he did were done when he was only 19 years old. Hell, there are guys his age in jail right now for things they did when they were 19. There are guys my age who have been in jail since they were 19.
But those are relatively short sentences. They don’t contain enough compassion.
Flat out stealing remains a crime, even if you’re young. This is particularly true if you’re poor, and the amount you stole is small.
Once you’re making $120,000 a year as mayor, you’re not going to go into Willie’s Mini-Mart with a pistol and come out with $150. Instead, you’re going to have a “business dispute,” which will be hugely more profitable than sticking up Willie’s Mini Mart.
For the Fall River voter, the issue is whether you like the long sentence or the short sentence. Jasiel Correia, I’m sure, would prefer a short sentence.