Once upon a time, I had a book titled I Always Look up the Word "Egregious."
Billed as "a vocabulary book for people who don't need one," it was filled with "egregious" and other great fifty-cent words that just don't get used as often as they should. It's an egregious oversight by those of us who speak English. There, I've used it in a sentence.
You know who else used it in a sentence? None other than Luzerne County's own Correale Stevens, the PA SUPERIOR COURT judge who wrote the latest opinion concerning Jessica Robertine Hardy (yeah, her middle name is Robertine). The ruling upholds the 3-6 year sentence for the woman who invented sick children for her own selfish gain. You can read the December 27 ruling HERE.
To recap: For years, Jessica Hardy was the head of the local chapter of Make A Wish. And, for years, she literally made up sick children, preying upon the generosity of others in order to fulfill her own wish list. When she got caught about two years ago, investigators confiscated all kinds of loot from her house. The picture of them taking out the hot tub is priceless! Hardy eventually pleaded guilty and, earlier this year, PPO brought down the hammer of justice. On some of the counts, he gave Hardy more than the standard sentence, and he ordered her to repay $56,000.
When Hardy's lawyer appealed the sentence, PPO refused to change it. And, today, the Superior Court also said no. Hardy's doing all of her hard time. I especially liked this bit from the final page of the ruling:
"Appellant exploited a high appointment of trust to profit from the misery of our most desperate and the charity of our most generous. She repeatedly did so for nearly ten years. To now denounce, as she does, a sentence tailored to the disturbingly chronic and egregious nature of her criminal scheme is to ask this Court to ignore context and instead review her charges in a vacuum, where only the name of the offense and corresponding standard range sentence is considered. Grounded in neither specific legal authority nor general principles of sentencing fairness, Appellant’s appeal is utterly devoid of merit."
With language like that, don't be surprised if Jessica Robertine Hardy ends up serving the whole six years. I'm guessing there will be quite a few people who feel that letting her out on parole would be an egregious error.