Restorative justice takes a different approach to justice. Instead of the traditional “do the crime, do the time” approach they want to bring one thing that is not often seen is sentencing, forgiveness.
I first found out about restorative justice in 2013 with a case from Florida. Conor McBride was dating Ann Grosmaire and had been arguing for two days straight, but it ended with McBride shooting Grosmaire point blank in the face while she was on her knees. It was a tragic end to the life of Grosmaire but also for McBride who ended up driving to the police station and turned himself in.
McBride had become apart of the Grosmaire family. He lived there on occasions when he wasn’t getting along with his parents so it was a hard thing to come to grips with for Ann’s parents. While on her death bed, Ann’s father allegedly told him to forgive Conor. While that seemed preposterous at the time, Ann’s father started to think of her words and think of his faith.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make but Ann’s parents did forgive Conor, but also found out about restorative justice and how it takes in to consideration the offenders accountability and if the families of the victims, or the victims themselves, are willing to have a civil face to face it will be arranged and possibly taken in for their sentence.
While this is rare for a murder case, they are often used in misdemeanor offenses. I feel like this would be a great thing to do. In the New York Times article they do say that offenders are less likely to reoffend when offered this program. Being able to be face to face with the person you hurt gives a human emotion to the crime, and because most crimes are “faceless” looking your victims in the face can really have an impact on the criminals.
I would like to share with you an unfolding of events that begins awfully, gets kinda gross in the middle, and ends up sorta good but not great. Confused? Good, let’s begin!
In 2013, Gurbaksh Chahal, CEO and Chairman of RadiumOne, was charged with 45 felonies for beating his girlfriend 117 times during an altercation. According to law enforcement the girlfriend stated that, after finding out she cheated on him, Chahal attacked her, stated several times he was going to kill her, and she feared for her life. Law enforcement also claims to have recovered a surveillance video that showed 30 minutes of the assault.
In a perfect world, this would make for a slam-dunk case that puts a mega-jerk-lady-hitting-pig behind bars. Victim testimony and video of the crime seems like plenty of evidence to ease the mind of the prosecutor.
Sadly, we do not live in a perfect world. No, no we don’t.
Then, the girlfriend decided to go ahead and not cooperate with the police anymore nor testify against Chahal. This happened after both parties lawyered-up (I smell a pay-off, anyone else?).
So, most of the charges were dropped and Chahal ended up pleading guilty to two misdemeanors: one count of domestic violent battery and one count of battery. His punishment? Three years probation, 25 hours of community service, a $500 fine and he must attend a 52-week domestic violence training program (doesn’t that sound like he’s going to be taught how to get better at beating women? ValleyWag should reword that sentence).
Chahal avoided jail, and I think he’s damn lucky. And when this came out, it seemed like his previously charmed life would stay relatively charming.
The good, I guess.
Well, things started to get worse for Chahal. People were pretty ticked off about this whole thing and social media sites were blowing up with comments about how unjust it was that he didn’t get jail time.
And then he lost his job. There is some speculation as to whether Chahal knew about his pink slip when he published this blog post in which still refers to himself as the CEO. In the post, he also denies he hit his (hopefully now ex?!) girlfriend 117 times. Which seems reasonable – it’s not that he didn’t hit her, he just wants to point out it’s not that bad since it wasn’t that many times. Oh, ok! I’m sure we can all sympathize and forgive you for only mildly abusing her, no big deal.
Chahal also denies in his post that the video proves he committed such a heinous, drawn-out attack on the girlfriend. He claims that the video will only prove that the police abused him when they stormed his place, even though he was being cooperative. Not everyone is convinced. But Chahal isn’t faded, he knows we just “can’t handle the truth.”
It seems like if Chahal is telling the truth and the video’s content has been exaggerated, he should just release the video. Then we can all agree he’s not such a bad guy! For some reason, though, Chahal hasn’t done that yet. I have a feeling this isn’t the only offer being made to see that video.
So…is this a happy ending, or…?
I doubt the public will get the chance to see the video, as I’m sure it’s been destroyed. Yes, I’m just a cynical old crank like that. Without proof, it’s going to be tough to determine if Chahal really lucked out on this one (or just how much freedom money can buy), or if the contents of the video were in fact blown out of proportion.
I do know one thing about Chahal: his post reveals that he believes there are justifications for domestic abuse e.g., your girlfriend having sex for money in Las Vegas. However rude of her that might have been, I’m sorry dude, but nope. Wrong. Does not computer. We may never know exactly what happened that night with his girlfriend, but it’s pretty obvious this guy is a clueless a-hole when it comes to violence against women.
A footnote: full disclosure, I’m going to think this guy put the beat down on his girlfriend until he releases that video and shows us otherwise. He brought it up, basically said it proves his innocence, but it hasn’t been released. So yes, I’m coming from a very biased viewpoint.)