It's not always easy to second-guess judges who sentence defendants after hearing all the facts at trial. But in the case of former Brentwood Borough Council President Mary Dytko, it is easy enough. Her punishment clearly does not fit the crime.
Mary Dytko, 48, lied on state disclosure forms and used a borough Sam's Club purchasing card to charge $2,500 worth of goods for herself, including video games, "The Devil Wears Prada" on DVD and pierogies. She reimbursed Brentwood for most of this sum but didn't pay back the last $723.76 until after her 2007 arrest.
By itself, this could be considered relatively small potatoes, but she also pleaded guilty to not disclosing a prior felony that involved, yes, credit card fraud in 1997, an offense that would have prevented her from holding public office in the first place. Additionally, she failed to list a $10,000 debt on a disclosure form and lied about having a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
This is not just small potatoes; this is a noxious stew of trouble. And so what did Common Pleas Senior Judge John K. Reilly do Monday? He sentenced her to 60 days of house arrest and three years of probation.
Sorry, but two-time felons who abuse the public trust don't deserve to serve their sentences at home. There is no way that such treatment would make someone like Ms. Dytko sufficiently remorseful. And, sure enough, it didn't.
After the sentencing, she had the gall to vaguely threaten retribution against political rivals in Brentwood. "The ball game is not over," she said. It wouldn't have taken much prison time to call her out on strikes (one or two years in prison was what the district attorney's office was hoping for when she was convicted in December).
This was not Judge Reilly's best day, but unfortunately it was a great one for Mary Dytko. She didn't exactly walk, but she was allowed to relax on a couch at home to the shame of the system.