Saturday, June 15, 2013

A guy was thrown in jail for not paying his restaurant bill

Here's a strange story I found.

A guy went to a restaurant, ordered a lot of food and just plain refused to pay for what he had eaten.

It turns out that he had done this before.  Indeed, it looks as if he does this a lot.  Therefore a judge threw him in jail for three years. (We often use the verb 'to throw' when we talk about sending a person to jail.)

It seems obvious to me that the guy has some kind of mental illness.  I tend to think he needs psychological help more than he needs to be thrown in jail.  But the basis of the US 'justice' system is deterrence (deterrence means you punish some people in order to scare other people from doing the same thing.). 

Yet, very few people are as crazy as this guy, so very few people are probably going to order lots of food and just refuse to pay, so deterrence doesn't make any sense in this case.  The crazier the crime, the less likely people are going to try to imitate it.  Please send the guy for psychological help and show some mercy (forgiveness) for a change. This guy needs help, not jail.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

just plain refused to pay - 'plain' is used here to emphasize that he refused to pay.  i.e. He just plain quit his job!   'plain' emphasizes 'quit' here.  I'm just plain tired.  So plain can be used to mean 'very' as well.

3 years is just desserts - this is an example of a 'pun.'  A pun is when two words sound the same and can be used in a humorous way. If a person receives his "just desserts" this means he got the type of punishment he deserved.  3 years is the punishment he deserves.  In this story the man ate "dessert" and so by using the term "just desserts" the journalist is being funny - "desserts" can refer to the punishment and the food the guy ate.

sumptuous - luxurious, amazing

a tab - a bill

arrested, pleaded, was sentenced - if you are arrested, the police take you to a police station.  In court you can 'plead' (declare yourself) guilty or not guilty.  If a person is found guilty by a judge or jury, the judge will then 'sentence' the person to a punishment.

70 prior arrests - he was arrested 70 previous times.  Yes, the guy is crazy.  Somebody should help him.

the server - the waiter or waitress.

"Let me let you in on a secret..." - he's joking with the waitress.  "Let me tell you a secret.."  "to let you in on something" means to reveal something to you.

burglary - this is different from theft.  A burglary happens when a person goes into a person's house or business and steals something.  Theft can happen anyway.

the initial charge - the first accusation, the first alleged crime, the first apparent offense.  A charge is an accusation or a statement that someone did something wrong.

the state attorney - the lawyer for the state who tries to prove that someone is guilty. The other attorney is the defense attorney.

a plea agreement - sometimes the state attorney will make an agreement with the defense attorney so that the person who is accused of a crime pleads guilty and receives a lesser sentence.

a conviction - this is when a person is found guilty.  An acquittal is when a person is found not guilty.

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