Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is asking the court to apply a “system of compassion” when considering the sentencing of a man convicted of threatening her.
Omar, in a letter addressed to the judge in the case, acknowledged that the crimes Patrick Carlineo Jr. pleaded guilty to are “grave” and a “threat against an entire religion,” but said that a severe prison sentence was not a solution.
“But we must ask: who are we as a nation if we respond to threats of political retribution with retribution ourselves?” she wrote. “The answer to hate is not more hate; it is compassion.”
Sharing my full letter on the the sentencing of Patrick W. Carlineo, a man convicted of threatening my life.
We must apply a system of compassion to criminal justice.
Who are we as a nation if we respond to threats of political retribution with retribution ourselves? pic.twitter.com/s96jjh8AlD
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) November 19, 2019
The Minnesota representative said that a severe sentence would intensify his “anger and resentment” and not “rehabilitate him.”
“A punitive approach to criminal justice will not stop criminals like Mr. Carlineo from committing a crime again or prevent others from committing similar acts,” she said in her letter. “Only restorative justice can do that. He should understand the consequences of his actions, be given the opportunity to make amends and seek redemption.”
Omar continued that those who commit similar crimes are “often themselves the victims of systemic alienation and neglect.”
“We must teach the defendant love,” she added.
The representative’s statement comes after Carlineo on Monday pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Omar. He could receive up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14.
Carlineo was arrested in April on charges of threatening Omar in a call to her office, reportedly saying he’d put a “bullet in her f—ing skull.”