Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Prayer for 2012: Fair US Sentencing Reform, An End to the Inequities

Just came across the website in which the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights discusses United States sentencing disparities.  One salient point they discuss is this:

"Unequal treatment of minorities characterizes every stage of the process. Black and Hispanic Americans, and other minority groups as well, are victimized by disproportionate targeting and unfair treatment by police and other front-line law enforcement officials; by racially skewed charging and plea bargaining decisions of prosecutors; by discriminatory sentencing practices; and by the failure of judges, elected officials and other criminal justice policy makers to redress the inequities that become more glaring every day."

Read all at this web site:

The ACLU addressed sentencing inequities last March.  One disparity that has been well-known are the sentencing guidelines for using/selling drugs. They appealed to the Sentencing Commission to restore fairness to sentencing.

"In the 40 years since President Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs," America has spent approximately one trillion dollars pursuing a failed policy that has had little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United States. In fact, the major result of this "war" is that it has helped earn America the lamentable distinction of incarcerating more people – in absolute numbers and per capita – than any other nation in the world. To make matters worse, this population disproportionately and overwhelmingly consists of individuals of color and the poor."

Read more at:

Penn Law's Study, "When Punishment Doesn't Fit the Crime," is an interesting read.
" might call (this) the “crime du jour” problem. That is, legislators get worked up about a particular offense, either because it’s been in the news or for some other reason.  As a result, they create penalties for it, but the penalties reflect their being particularly worked up at that moment. A year or so later when it’s no longer such a hot topic, that penalty sticks out as being exaggerated."

Another crime du jour of recent times is corporate crime.
"The increase in sentence severity is a nationwide phenomenom, though federal sentences are extremely harsh. Severity has ratcheted up and up again in the federal system. Both the sentences imposed and time served has increased dramatically. For example, the average federal sentence imposed between 1980 and 1995 nearly doubled, and federal offenders sentenced in 1998 will spend roughly twice as long in prison as their counterparts who were sentenced in 1984."

Sara Sun Beale, "Is Corporate Criminal Liabililty Unique?"

Sentencing has become a political tool.  Politicians get on band-wagons to quell popular outrage. In the end we have situations where there is no justice, equity, fairness or reason to the sentences that levied against individuals being punished in the US Criminal Justice System.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Unsuccessful and Unfair War on Crime?

The United States has 6-12 more people in prison per capita than Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, France and the U.K.

The United States has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's incarcerated. It also has 50% of the world's lawyers.

The United States has absurd and inequitable sentences that respond to the emotional "crime du jour," which creates political platforms.

From 1984 to 1998 the incarceration rate for the nation as a whole went up by 61%, yet the overall crime rate went up by 16%, with violent crime increasing by 34%. 

What do you think of this?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Visiting Prison

Visiting a loved one in prison is always bittersweet because, when the visit is over, the loved one cannot go home with you.

Toward the end of the visiting time, there are usually announcements like, "Another group is leaving; anyone wishing to leave at this time should come to the desk."

That is when I say, "Come on, here's your chance, they said anyone who wishes to leave...."

Christmas is tough. You can't send or bring in any gifts.  The Christmas dinner is from vending machines.

Happy holidays to all those loving familes who will be visting loved ones in prisons this season. May joy fill your heart and may you bring joy to those you love.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why Present Day Sentencing Reminds Me of the Salem Witch Trials

As one of the articles below points out, the goals of sentencing have changed. In the 1800’s, the Anglo-American system of imprisonment was for reform and penitence.

Recent cases cited here clarify that prison is no longer intended for rehabilitation.

SF Gate, San Francisco Chronicle

The only purposes of imprisonment are “retribution, deterrence and incapacitation, not rehabilitation,” said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent interpretation of a 1984 sentencing law. The ruling, written by one of the court’s most conservative judges, Andrew Kleinfeld, overturned a Hawaii man’s two-year sentence for violating the terms of his release and sent the case back to the trial judge to impose a shorter term.

Los Angeles Times:

Judges may not send criminals to longer terms in federal prison with the aim of rehabilitating them, the Supreme Court ruled.

Efforts by the US Sentencing Commission and various state sentencing commissions have always been aimed at some form of judicial equity whereby two people committing the same crime get the same punishment, all other things being equal.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happens.

One gross injustice is the plea bargain issue where prosecutors offer defendants a small amount of time behind bars. Defendants who decline that offer and opt for a jury trial frequently end up with a much longer sentence than they were offered to plead guilty. This essentially compromises the basic constitutional right to a jury trial, making the penalty far greater if one exercises their right.

Lately, there have been efforts to punish people “more” than they might ordinarily be punished with inflated sentences to set a standard and use as an example.

Such a recent example this week is that of former Governor Rod Blakojevic:

USA Today:

"When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily repaired," U.S. District Judge James Zagel told Blagojevich. "The harm is the erosion of public trust in government."

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said at a news conference that the sentence "sends a strong message that the public has had enough and judges have had enough. This needs to stop."

Fitzgerald said the sentence is the longest ever imposed on an Illinois governor. The prospect of "a significant penalty" should deter other politicians who think they can get away with corruption, he said.

State Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat who served on the impeachment committee, says he hopes the sentence serves "as a warning to those in public service" that "accountability and integrity" still matter.

US Sentencing Code: 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) seeks to define the goals of sentencing:

(a) Factors To Be Considered in Imposing a Sentence. - The court

shall impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary,

to comply with the purposes ….of

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history

and characteristics of the defendant;

(2) the need for the sentence imposed -

to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote

respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the


to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct;

to protect the public from further crimes of the

defendant; and

to provide the defendant with needed educational or

vocational training, medical care, or other correctional

treatment in the most effective manner;

(3) the kinds of sentences available;

(4) the kinds of sentence and the sentencing range established

for -

(A) the applicable category of offense committed by the

applicable category of defendant as set forth in the guidelines

To further complicate this, we have the “crime du jour,” the bandwagon of the era where everyone jumps on and says “we should punish this crime more than all the others.”

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, it was crack cocaine. The belief that crack cocaine was so much more dangerous than cocaine powder (though they are the same substance), led to harsh sentencing inequities that are still being remediated today.

What I see in our criminal justice system is emotional response, anger and mob lynching attitudes taking over any reasonableness and fairness in the sentences being given.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Unconditional Love for Holiday Giving

Give an inspiring story of unconditional love to your wife, mother, sister or girlfriend for the holidays.

How do you tell the good guys from the bad guys?

I awakened one night laughing out loud. It seemed such a silly dream. I was going around asking everyone a riddle that I made up:
“How do you tell the good guys from the bad guys?”
“The good guys have a badge.”
How many governors of Illinois are in prison?
How lucky was Scooter Libby to be pardoned?
How many prison guards, policemen, public offi­cers, judges, politicians, school teachers, coaches and others of esteemed position have been prosecuted and imprisoned?
How do you tell the good guys from the bad?
Is anyone all good or all bad? What about all the good accomplishments those public offi­cials, teachers and coaches were responsible for? Were they negated by their criminal behavior? Did it turn them from highly respected servants to scumbags?
How many upstanding citizens have cheated “just a little” on their income tax or failed to disclose a pur­chase on a Customs form?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Remembered 2007

I sat in the last row of the plane in the window seat. A female passenger was standing next to the row.
“I can’t decide where to sit,” she said to me. “I left my luggage up there and have a seat there but I was thinking of sitting here instead.”
I smiled but didn’t respond.
She wandered back up to the middle of the plane, looked at that seat, wandered back to the last row and ultimately sat down in the aisle seat in my row.
“I’ve finally made my decision,” she said. I smiled.
“My name is Doretha,” she said to me.
I smiled more broadly. “My name is Doretha,” I said.
“I knew there was a reason I was drawn to this seat.”
I learned that she is the first lady of her church in the Hood.
She learned my husband’s story.
“May I pray with you?” she asked.
She placed her hands over mine and we bowed our heads. She spoke beautiful words about our marriage and asked God to grant the hopeful wishes in my heart.
Silent warm tears streamed down my face.
From her lips to God’s Ears.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Next Review Scheduled

Mark the date:  December 6.  That's when Jill Elizabeth will publish her review of The Fugitive's Doctor on

Hope it's so good you'll all buy the book!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Chicago Outfit

The Outfit in Chicago had a strong presence and influence throughout most of the 20th century. Many legends and books describe the well-known members and activities.
Between 1919 and 2005, it has been estimated there have been at least 1100 Outfit slayings and only 14 convictions. In some cases, the hit men were whacked before they could be arrested. In other cases, the bodies were never found. The Outfit was adept at taking care of business.
 In 2005, the FBI launched Operation: Family Secrets with indictments for 18 gangland murders that occurred in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. They indicted 14 Outfit members.
Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob (Chicago Review Press) covers the Spilotro murders and much more in a revealing look at organized crime. The book, written by Chicago Tribune reporter Jeff Coen, covers the trial of the Outfit bosses in 2007.
For factual information, that book is highly recommended.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fascinating Research

Have a compelling idea for the next novel, tentatively titled
                              Leave Nothing Behind

Just ordered "Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob (True Crime)" by Jeff Coen to help with the background research.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Finalist, USA Best Books 2011

Dear Deirdre-Elizabeth:


The epic results are in for the USA "Best Books 2011" Awards!

Your book has been honored as a "Finalist" in the "Fiction: Romance" category.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Movie Trailer

The movie trailer for The Fugitive's Doctor is now posted at

Movie producers can contact Deirdre-Beth directly for the right.

Everyone else may wish to read the book!  And what do you think of Theodore Frederickson's music?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

First Fan Letter

The Fugitive’s Doctor arrived yesterday and I started it last night. Didn't stop until I finished it...I finally stopped reading at 2:15 a.m. Then, I could not get it out of my mind and was unable to sleep.

This is one of the most poignant books I have ever read. I laughed, cried (in so many places I cannot enumerate them here), was inspired (particularly as both wife and husband honed their self-awareness) and found a kindred spirit on so many social and ethical issues.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011



“Do we really mean it when we say ‘in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, until death do us part or do we add a silent clause, ‘unless you shame me or disappoint me?’ What is the cost of unconditional love and how capable are we of giving that?”

Here are some excerpts from The Fugitive’s Doctor:

    I am the keeper of my husband’s history. This is a self-appointed role. I plan to learn everything about his life of the past and carry him into a future that is bright with hope. I shall guard his history from rumor and allegation and learn only the truth of his past. I shall then remember the things he cannot allow himself to remember. I shall find out all that I can about my husband’s life and will ensure that the lawyers know the truth. I shall fight the innuendo and crusade for true justice.
     I refuse to be vanquished.”

“So, this is how it will play out. Today, in the sunshine, on the noisy sidewalk at Logan Airport in Boston, with people and their suitcases bumping into me, and taxi horns blar­ing and strangers going about their routine day, I’m about to learn that I have lost my husband. I will finally know his secrets.”

“The next morning he drove the stranger’s car half way to the Registry of Motor Vehicles before he real­ized he could not apply for a driver’s license. He suddenly realized he had left his name at the prison.”

The bartender recommended a particular wine.
“How much is that?” Sam asked.
“I don’t know; maybe about a hundred dollars,” the bartender answered.
“A hundred dollars! This is my wife not my girl­friend.”

“The man I know takes care of me and makes me laugh. He is kind and loving, affectionate and thoughtful. He isn’t a “bad guy.” Do I judge him by what I learn about him or by the man I know?”

There are lines one has to draw in any relation­ship. While I would not think twice to die for people I loved, I did think twice about being an accomplice.”
      “I am flagrantly nuts. I can say this because I am a doc­tor and I know about these things.”

     “I am exhausted. Preparing to commit suicide cor­rectly is very exhausting.”
     “At some point, one fatigues of pacing and chant­ing and just burns out. At some point, one day becomes the next and the next, without beginning or ending. The vigil has no time, the clock (is it A.M. or P.M.?) has no meaning and the routine is punctuated by sleep time nightmares alternating with day time terrors.
      I cannot tell which is worse.
      Sometimes, I cannot tell which is which.”

      I know that many, if not most, women would have a problem with my acceptance of what happened with Lara.
        The reality is I shall always be grateful to Lara for helping my husband when I could not do so. I couldn’t have chosen a better or kinder surrogate.”

“May I pray with you?” she asked.
She placed her hands over mind and we bowed our heads. She spoke beautiful words about our marriage and asked God to grant the hopeful wishes in my heart.
Silent warm tears streamed down my face.
From her lips to God’s Ears.”

“You leave everything behind when you enter the FCC in the Middle of Nowhere; you leave democracy, free speech, entitlement and freedom.”

“Then, I hugged my grandchildren twice as strongly as usual, loving them both for being present themselves as well as to commemorate those who were not here. Some would never be present again but my Christmas wish was that William would be playing, laughing and singing with them at some future Christmas celebra­tion.”
I define myself by helping others. This is what I do.

Those people who want me to abandon my hus­band are asking me to put myself first and to judge him. The poor man has been judged unfairly by others. Why would I abandon him in his greatest need?”

“I have spent my whole life preparing to be William Wallace’s wife. The choices I make are defined by the person I am.”

I am Mrs. William Victor Wallace. I am married to a federal felon whom I love unconditionally.
I hold my head high, I take pride in my life and I walk this world without regret.
I will be the perfect wife and my husband deserves nothing less.”

One of my other favorite quotations which is referenced in the novel:

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and John Kessler, “On Grief and Grieving”

ForeWord Clarion Review Excerpt

Part love story, part legal thriller, this debut novel has something to offer many readers. Deirdre Elizabeth Parker, who lives in the same state the novel is set in, writes with concision and clarity; readers will appreciate the polished quality of many of her sentences. She also offers a far-reaching cast of characters that exhibits different reactions to the main conflict, thereby giving the audience a chance to consider a wide array of responses……. the novel may find an eager audience among people looking for an entertaining love story about an unusual situation.  Excerpted from Andi Diehn’s ForeWord Clarion Review

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Anti-James Frey? Interview with the Author

                D and B Workshop Publishing Division Press Release
               “The Fugitive’s Doctor” by Deirdre Elizabeth Parker:   

FLORIDA……It was announced on YouTube by the spokeswoman for the author of the novel, The Fugitive’s Doctor, that Deirdre-Elizabeth Parker may be the anti-James Frey.
            James Frey published a memoir, A Million Little Pieces, that received national media attention, including by Oprah Winfrey. It was later revealed that the book contained fiction. Publishing industry standards dictate that a memoir must be absolutely true.
            Deirdre-Elizabeth Parker’s novel, The Fugitive’s Doctor, was recently released and presented as fiction.
            In a YouTube interview it was disclosed that most of the story is based upon fact.
            In the video, she states:  “I cannot risk publishing a memoir like this because it polarizes people and some of them turn against me for the choices I made. So I have published it as a novel.”
The book tells the story of a doctor who meets her husband on the Internet and who is deceived for 8 years of a very happy marriage about her husband’s status as an escaped felon from federal prison.  Once he is apprehended, she chooses to help him navigate the complex criminal justice system.
In the interview, the spokesperson states:  “It may also make readers begin to wonder how well they know the people they love. It may cause some to worry about the people they are dating and question whether they know enough about their past.”
           The book deals with issues of criminal justice, social justice, the basic tenets of Christianity, unconditional love, forgiveness and ultimate salvation. It is dedicated to women who make painful choices for love and it honors families who visit their loved ones in prison and have knowledge of that “alternative universe.”
            Critical acclaim so far has been favorable:
            WTF Are You Reading? review stated that:  “This book also serves as a testament to the good and evil of the American justice system and the trials and tribulations endured by both the incarcerated and the families that they leave on the "outside". This story will serve as notice to even the most jaded soul that with "unconditional love" there is no price that is too high except that of its loss.”
The Book Garden Review states:  The Fugitive’s Doctor will mesmerize you from the very beginning.”

            Best ‘O Books Reviewer said, “This book is labeled as "literature & fiction", yet it almost fooled me into thinking it was really a true-life memoir.”
Kirkus review called it:  “A compelling tale of the ultimate faithful wife,”

            When asked how much of the book is based upon truth, she responded “Most names and many places and dates were altered. Everything about Doretha and Sam is true.  Everything about their lives is true.  The fiction in the book consists of the chapters that deal with Sam’s childhood because, quite simply, I wasn’t there.”
            “The Fugitive’s Doctor” is available on Amazon and
The interview may be seen on YouTube at:

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Heads up readers! I will soon give away five paper backs of my book, The Fugitive’s Doctor.
Here is how you can qualify:

Click here to go to my YouTube Channel

Sign up for a free YT account (if you don't already have one), watch all six of my video trailers and give a thumbs-up to those that you like. Please leave a comment on each one.

If you also decide to subscribe to my channel, I will autograph your book. The first five contestants who email me at to tell me they have qualified will receive the prizes. In your email, please give me instructions for snail mail. I will announce that the winners have been awarded as soon as I have received the first 5 emails that qualify.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Review from Best O' Books

Here you can find the Best O' Books full review online. A great site for finding contemporary reads!

Check out the buzz over at BookBlogs!

Visit the BookBlogs page for Deirdre-Elizabeth Parker. Be sure to sign up and leave some feedback if you find yourself enjoying the novel!

Just published first novel. Here is the press release:

    Writer honors making right decision even when society does not accept it

    “The Fugitive’s Doctor” by Deirdre Elizabeth Parker exemplifies the role of unconditional love through the challenges of marriage and betrayal

    BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – The recent capture of long-time fugitive crime boss Whitey Bulger who was on the lam for 17 years has focused interest upon the life of a fugitive living in plain sight eluding apprehension.

    In the novel, “The Fugitive’s Doctor” (ISBN 1461172616), Deirdre Elizabeth Parker demonstrates an example of a woman’s unconditional love for her husband whose secret life as an escaped fugitive felon unfolds after he hid the truth from her through eight years of marriage.

    At the age of 51, Dr. Doretha Vaughn decides to join an online dating site to find a husband. Her daughter warns her to be careful, but Vaughn trusts her judge of character and meets Sam Cawley, a kind man who treats her like a queen. He fills her days with laughter and affection while providing a caring refuge from the daily suffering and death she battles as an emergency physician.

    A phone call from the Broward County Sheriff makes Vaughn question her happiness. She learns that Sam Cawley is really William Wallace, who has been on the run for 17 years, and is now wanted on charges of identity theft and credit card fraud. Parker said that her inspiration for “The Fugitive’s Doctor” came from the stories of many politicians’ wives who stuck by their husbands even after various scandals made headline news.

    “Do we really mean it when we say ‘in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, until death do us part,’” Parker asks. “Or do we add a silent clause, ‘unless you shame me or disappoint me?’ What is the cost of unconditional love and how capable are we of giving that?”

    Whether readers support Vaughn’s decisions or shake their heads at her in amazement, Parker believes they will be swept along her journey into the depths of a crisis that few people can imagine. The author hopes that the book will make readers question their own ability to offer unconditional love.

    This book is dedicated to women forced to make painful choices for love. It honors the women and families who visit loved ones in prison and who have first-hand knowledge of this alternative universe.

    “The Fugitive’s Doctor” will be available soon for sale online at and other channels.

    About the Author:
    Deirdre Elizabeth Parker is a first-time novelist who lives in Florida.

    Amy Hammond
    Phone: (561) 739-6313