The image is usually a lawyer trying to prevent their client from going to jail, not a lawyer choosing jail over community service. Don’t worry, this isn’t a story of ineffective counsel — jail time over cleaning up trash or organizing a philanthropy event was this lawyer’s choice. For herself.
A Wisconsin lawyer chose jail over community service Tuesday for spitting on a Black teenager during a 2020 protest.
Shorewood, Wisconsin, lawyer Stephanie Rapkin, 67, rejected a sentence of a year of probation and 100 hours of community service, report the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Fox 6 and WISN. As a result, she was instead sentenced to 60 days in jail.
Rapkin was convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct in April, despite her testimony that she spit toward but not on then-17-year-old protester Eric Lucas III. The incident happened in 2020 and was caught on video.
Here is said video:
This ain’t a sob story. No one wants to work with you after you blocked off a protest and spat on a kid because he acted constitutionally in a way you didn’t like? Boo-hoo. Getting socially ostracized isn’t further punishment either — it is fully just desert within the scope of what she did. I say this in regard to the lawyer doing a camel impersonation at a kid who can’t vote yet. Oh, and pushing a protester. And then kneeing a cop in the groin. Yes, these are three separate events involving Rapkin that happened within a 48-hour period.
I harp on this because it brings to mind Amy Cooper, the woman known for choking a shelter dog and trying to call a death-by-cop on a birdwatcher in Central Park. When deciding on whether to press charges on her for harassing a dude who wanted to see pretty things fly, the prosecutor decided to drop them, on account of an apparently “therapeutic” course on racial bias.
Back to Rapkin.
Milwaukee County Judge Laura Crivello told Rapkin on Tuesday that probation officers could help find the appropriate community service, but Rapkin said it wouldn’t be “viable.” WISN reported on Rapkin’s response.
“Your honor, nobody wants me,” Rapkin said. “I can’t leave my house because of the death threats. Nobody wants me to volunteer. I’ve tried for the past year just for my own mental health.”
She said she “would rather go to jail right now and to take care of it.”
Rapkin left the courtroom in handcuffs.
Death threats? I don’t know if you remember 2020 clearly but around that time everyone was getting those — and the protestors were getting those from cops:
Is there really no soup kitchen she can work in the back of? For Rapkin to come to the conclusion that nobody would accept her help even after the court offered to network on her behalf makes her viability argument sound like an excuse. If you ask me, it seems like she’d rather go to jail than help people. And that’s fine — just don’t mount your high horse as you do it.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at email@example.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.