Robert Ferguson was convicted by a jury of his peers in Yolo County, CA., January 6th, 2010 for two counts of petty theft. He had stuffed a bag of Tillamook cheese in his pants and also relieved a woman of her wallet at the counter of a 7-Eleven store. The cheese was valued at $3.99.
Ferguson has now been sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison for being a cheese thief—and wallet snatcher.
Robert Ferguson:Prison For Cheese Thief
Deputy District Attorney Clinton Parish had originally sought life in prison for the cheese thief, but backed off after reading Robert Ferguson’s psychological report and realizing that life behind bars probably wasn’t warranted in this particular case.
He did, however, pursue a lengthy prison term.
Judge Thomas Warriner was urged by the prosecutor to consider at least one of Robert Ferguson’s prior criminal acts, since his current criminal activity fell within the three strikes law.
Many see the headline “Prison for Cheese Thief” and are astounded, not bothering to read much beyond that point. They point out the cost of keeping Ferguson in prison might be a hundred thousand a year, and argue against such a term for stealing cheese and snatching a wallet.
However, as prosecutor Parish has pointed out, Robert Ferguson is a career criminal. He already managed to escape the three strike law in 1994. Parish noted that even after spending 22 of the last 27 years in prison, Robert Ferguson still could not obey the simplest of laws.
How many chances do you give someone?
Monica Brushia, Robert Ferguson’s defense attorney, argued that some of his crimes occurred thirty or so years ago, that stealing cheese was a petty offense that didn’t warrant prison time.
She shared his psychologist’s findings; ‘Ferguson was bipolar and had trouble controlling impulses to steal during manic phases’.
Judge Warriner met Brushia and Parish in the middle by handing down a 7 year, 8 month prison term.
He gave Ferguson 825 days credit for time served waiting for trial, ordered him to serve half his term in prison and allowed him parole review after less than three years.
People seem to be outraged that a person could receive such a long prison term for stealing cheese; the comments I have read are extremely harsh. Lighten up folks! It’s not about the cheese or the dollar amount, nor is it about the theft of a wallet.
This prison term is a way of letting Mr. Ferguson know that being a career criminal is not a good choice.
Bipolar or not, his activity is by choice. I have known more than a few bipolar people in my life and not a single one has resorted to criminal activity.
Tossing the bipolar factor in the equation is simply allowing more excuses for Robert Ferguson.
The three strike law is there for a reason; we can’t just randomly decide who get’s a fourth, fifth or umpteenth strike. The idea is to hinder criminal activity and I think that Ferguson should be grateful he wasn’t sentenced to life.
While none of Ferguson’s prior convictions involved injuries or weapons, how long before we see “Robert Ferguson: Prison For Cheese Thief” changed to Robert Ferguson: Prison for– fill-in-the-blank?
I don’t want to find out what he is potentially capable of in the criminal world. If he cannot obey the simple, civil and and most basic laws of society, how long before he graduates to something far worse than stealing cheese and lifting wallets?
I remind you again, this is not about what Robert Ferguson stole, it’s about his choice to participate in criminal activity.