Column: Light punishment for rich Indian siblings
"It looks like the defense lawyers persuaded the Probation Department, the prosecution and the judge that their clients were just a couple of naive kids who were misled by peer pressure.

Forget that the "boy" was in his 30s and the "girl" was in her 20s and their playmates were ranking members of a club called the Mexican Mafia.

You may have seen the stories by staff writer Joe Nelson reporting that this brother-sister duo was sentenced last week to five years of supervised probation and shorter times wearing electronic monitors, a year for the female and six months for the male.

At least the defense didn't cost the county taxpayers any money as a lot of gang-related trials do. These two can spend a lot for lawyers.

Each has an estimated income of at least $100,000 a month.

You may be paying that too, if you seek recreation by wagering your hard-earned cash at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino. That hundred grand is paid to every adult member of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. They number between 200 and 300.

Even using the smaller estimates and not counting the money spent on good deeds, which are numerous, and political contributions, which are lavish and well aimed, that amounts to $20 million a month and $240 million a year that generous gamblers are leaving for the tribal members' well-being."

Get the Story:
Wesley G. Hughes: Light sentence for rich Indians tests faith in equal justice (The San Bernardino Sun 11/10)

Another Opinion:
Cassie MacDuff: Could you be more specific? (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 11/8)

Another Story:
SB County's district attorney defends his integrity following plea bargain (The San Bernardino Sun 11/10)

Related Stories:
San Manuel siblings sentenced for murder plot (11/7)
San Manuel pair face sentences in murder-for-hire plot (11/3)
Target of San Manuel murder plot sues for $50M (9/29)
Target of San Manuel murder plot went into hiding (8/7)
San Manuel Band signs law enforcement contract (7/24)
San Manuel Band to sign law enforcement contract (7/18)
San Manuel Band takes aim at reservation crime (6/23)
Guilty pleas in San Manuel murder-for-hire case (4/18)
San Manuel relatives torn apart over gang case (12/14)
Woman in San Manuel murder case sentenced (12/6)
San Manuel members in court on murder charges (9/27)
Mexican gangs said to have infiltrated tribe (9/20)
Warrants served on San Manuel in major meth bust (12/13)