A woman convicted of embezzling nearly half a million dollars from a California aircraft maintenance company could get probation if defense lawyers have their way. According to The Record, her attorneys are arguing for special dispensation of her penalty since she has significant medical problems. Documents submitted to the court show that the 50 year old woman has coronary artery disease, mental illness, and a number of other serious conditions that could make her too unhealthy to survive in prison.
She was convicted of grand theft of more than $100,000 as well as falsification of corporate documents. While it would be rare for someone to not serve jail time for such a large embezzlement conviction, it does happen. More typically, when jail time is avoided for a felony embezzlement, it is due to a deal that includes significant restitution – paying back most or all of the money taken.
Companies who are stolen from want their money back, so to the degree that a penalty can be arranged that makes it more likely for the stolen funds to be re-payed, then most victims will try to arrange it. But criminal cases are prosecuted on behalf of the state, not the victim directly, so it doesn’t always work that way.
However, this case is an entirely different situation. The judge will have to determine if jail is a legitimate threat to this woman’s life, which could constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Prison is not meant to be a death sentence.
And it is understandable that prosecutors and victims want real punishment for a woman who was convicted of stealing a huge amount of money.