Should Anyone Be Above the Law?


James Burke

If people act out irrationally, should they be fully punished?

Robert DeDonatis, Staff Writer

Celebrities constantly bend the rules, yet often go unpunished. A recent occurrence of this is Florida State University’s starting quarterback Jameis Winston receiving only a one game suspension after yelling profanities in the student union. When a highly recognized public figure such as him commits a crime, they should not be given any special treatment or let off easy – they deserve to be punished just like any other.

Prominent public figures who commit small crimes are either lightly punished criminally or professionally. In the same type of scenario where an average worker commits a misdemeanor, they would most likely be punished in both. A crime should have the same punishment for everyone.

“I feel that if someone of any social class commits a crime they should not only be punished criminally but also professionally, because when you break the rules it shows irresponsibility, which affects work,” junior Alex Biondi said.

Some celebrities have such an impact on large groups of people that if they ever did get properly penalized, people would be angered. One example is Justin Bieber, known as a talented singer to some, whereas others tend to acknowledge him as “that kid who gets in trouble a lot.” He has been involved in lots of shenanigans, such as drag racing through Miami Beach. People have gotten used to him spending a night in jail, but nothing more extreme than that. It is possible that he receives special treatment because he has more social leeway. If one day he goes too far and actually gets reasonably punished, there would be a lot of unhappy fans.  

Despite most crimes deserving to be fully punished, some may actually qualify for special treatment. Celebrities who, while in the spotlight, have never done anything wrong but slip up on one occasion, should not be fully punished since it was most likely a one time mistake.

“I feel that if someone did something wrong, they should be punished for it. But I also feel that celebrities nowadays are accused of ridiculous things that are done as publicity stunts or for money. I guess it really depends on the case and what really happened. It honestly wouldn’t even matter because most celebrities can easily just pay themselves bail,” sophomore Leticia Cobas said.

Unfortunately, most celebrity wrongdoings are not one time deals. Once a person commits a small crime, they will most likely commit another. Reoccurrence does deserve to be punished in hopes that the person in question learns their lesson.

It gets quite tiresome to witness countless celebrities making fools of themselves and getting off scot free. If important public figures commit crimes, they should be faced with full consequences – not just a few scary nights in prison.