The John McGee case: a no-nonsense sentence gets it right

The John McGee jail sentence revolves around two key points.

• The first is timing. Eight months after his Father’s Day 2011 drunken-driving arrest — and while he was on probation, stemming from a guilty plea — McGee committed a crime described, charitably, as disturbing the peace. Prosecutors say he made “sexually provocative” comments to a 25-year-old state Senate staffer.

• The second is the setting. This took place in a workplace — in the halls of the Statehouse, where McGee was the No. 4 ranking Republican in the Senate, before the staffer’s sexual harassment complaint came to light, resulting in McGee’s abrupt resignation. McGee was in a position of power, not just in politics but in the professional environment of the Senate. He abused that power.

These facts were not lost on Magistrate Judge James Cawthon, who presided over McGee’s sentencing Tuesday, 13 months after accepting his guilty plea on the drunken-driving charge. The judge clearly had no appetite for apology. So he sentenced McGee to 88 days in jail. Even if this sentence is halved, which is within Cawthon’s discretion, it would greatly exceed the five-day sentence recommended by prosecutors and McGee’s attorney.

Keeping with the no-nonsense order of the day, Cawthon had McGee booked into jail immediately, instead of granting him a few days to sort out his affairs.

Cawthon went his own way, for the right reasons.

“McGee’s act of “disturbing the peace” — not to be confused with, say, a pulsating car stereo — violated the basic bounds of workplace decency and decorum. McGee, 39, grew up and entered the labor force at a time of heightened awareness of sexual harassment issues. How did this guy miss the memo?

After McGee basically groveled before his Senate colleagues in January — convincing them to vote, not unanimously, to keep him in leadership — it is now apparent why he wanted to keep his job. No wonder Cawthon dropped the hammer. Good for him.

Perhaps, but perhaps not, Cawthon was sufficiently forceful that McGee will get the message. But on Tuesday, when he had the chance to apologize to his victim, McGee instead spoke about himself, and his failure to live up to the “privilege” of Senate service.

What misplaced priorities. Somehow I doubt McGee will never again have to worry about living up to the “privilege” that comes with elected office.

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one sided

First, what's wrong with the prosecutor's office that they think 5 days was sufficient, yet a judge goes 44+. Makes me think the prosecutor is out of touch.

Secondly, KR, you propose a lot here that is not known. You don't know what the McGee/staffer relationship was or exactly what he did/said.

This kind of thing doesn't happen.....

In the White House much.

Pimp, don't discount what

Pimp, don't discount what Kevin writes on this subject. Just because he doesn't put it in print doesn't mean he doesn't well know the nitty gritty of the happenings as do many who are in the legislative environment.

Good for the judge and about time more judges start imposing strict sentencing. There has got to be a way to curtail these despicable actions.

I've heard

that County Jail time is worse that State Prison time in that there is very little to do to pass time. Makes for some loooong days in the hole.
Enjoy those axle-grease sandwiches and be sure to get your mattress stamped, Johnny.
He will also be charged five-hundred bucks for the priveledge of being a guest of Ada County.

Latest report

Indicates that he "cornered" a staff memeber in a room and "demanded" a sexual act. This guy is pond scum and should do the full 88 days. Good for Judge Cawthon! Someone needs to take a long look at the Prosecutor's office...five days, five days, rediculous.

Pretty obvious

that judge Cawthon was fed up with the cutesy little plea bargaining between the prosecution and the defense, that has taken place since day one of McGee's problems.
Once again, McGee wasn't even charged with the proper crimes. From the information known, at the very least, he should have been charged with stalking in the second degree.(18-7906 (a)
Perhaps Judge Cawthon has issued a wakeup call to all involved, that all of this deal making for the privileged few, will not be tolerated in his court.

Kudos to the judge for doing

Kudos to the judge for doing the right thing. McGee should have been nipped in the bud a few years back.