By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The holiday season – the time of year when we emphasize goodwill toward one another – is at hand.

And it will be marked next week, appropriately enough, by the long overdue release to home confinement of ailing former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, who has served five years of his eight-year sentence for taking bribes while in office.

Dimasi, a federal judge ruled, has been punished enough for his crimes through the disgrace of his conviction, his five years of confinement, and the destruction of his health during that time. And the judge shortened his sentence, he said, in the pursuit of the “appropriately compassionate administration of justice.”

Sal DiMasi leaves the Moakley Federal Court after his sentencing on September 09, 2011 with his wife Debbie, left, and his stepson Christian, right. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Sal DiMasi leaves the Moakley Federal Court after his sentencing on September 09, 2011 with his wife Debbie, left, and his stepson Christian, right. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Dimasi’s release will surely be met with mixed reactions, because the concepts of compassion and forgiveness seem to be alien to many of us.

If you have a strong stomach, check out the online comments under news stories about victims of crime or people trying to make amends for past mistakes.

There is something about the internet and social media that seems to embolden and elicit the worst in mankind, and while they may have always been lurking in the shadows, that doesn’t ease the disgust that their contempt for mankind evokes.

Even a self-proclaimed bleeding-heart like former Gov. Deval Patrick couldn’t bring himself to put in a good word for DiMasi when the extent of his illness became known a few years ago, walking away from our camera when I asked him if he’d support a compassionate release.

St. Augustine said, “we can hate the sin but still love the sinner.” Sal DiMasi’s homecoming is a test of whether we believe that or not.

Comments (10)
  1. David Keith says:

    ” … ‘we can hate the sin but still love the sinner.’ Sal DiMasi’s homecoming is a test of whether we believe that or not.”

    Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be a politically well-connected white guy …

    1. Paull Cudak says:

      Of course he’s also an elite DEMOCRAT

  2. Paull Cudak says:

    John?
    Would any common person get any or the same consideration?
    I doubt it.
    Then how far do you liberals want to go?
    BHO has been releasing all sorts of ILLEGALS that have committed all sorts of crimes against AMERICANS.
    When will Americans receive their due justice from these criminals?
    Oh it’s OK, In your PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL EYES it doesn’t matter because we are supposedly privileged.

    1. bees_knees_6 says:

      Would you please cite your comments. So far there have been two I checked that were completely wrong. I got tired of checking after that.

      There is a compassionate release program for all. However, it has problems.

      As a moderate, I believe in the compassionate release program. The folks being released may not have had a death sentence prior, but the do when released.

  3. Sal DiMasi was the architect of the Green Communities Act responsible for taking the health and property rights of Massachusetts citizens with poorly placed commercial wind turbines in Massachusetts

    What goes around comes around ultimately he was incarcerated in Federal prision for taking $ 65,000 in bribes and kickbacks while in office

    Sal DiMasi : New Bedford Ocean Wind Turbine Port :’Why They Do Not Want Him Out Of Jail ”

    http://patch.com/massachusetts/boston/sal-dimasi-new-bedford-why-they-do-not-want-him-out-jail

  4. Sal DiMasi in his court trial told the jury former Gov. Deval Patrick used the fake email address
    sally.reynolds@state.ma.us . The email address was used to avoid FOIA requests with wind turbine contractors

  5. Olde Owle says:

    I am all for compassionate sentences for those willing to admit their errors in judgement, have served the minimum time set for their crime AND demonstrated a willingness to make a POSITIVE contribution to the society that they harmed.

    I have seen no such admission of gross error and misjudgment, nor have I seen any demonstration on diMassi’s part of his committment to working to right the damage that he has done to the credibility of the House of our great Commonwealth, or to make restitution to the taxpayers of our state for his years of corrupt activities.

    It is sad that he has cancer. But are we to allow him anything more than the basic human courtesies when he has demonstrated so clearly his contempt for The People.

    1. bees_knees_6 says:

      I struggled with exactly the same issues. In the end, I realize he is about to face a far greater judge than any he will face on earth.

      1. Olde Owle says:

        I am reminded, Bees, of the Locherbie bomber that was released because he had terminal cancer and had but days left before he met that greater judge who managed to hang on for a lot more then but a few days.

        I am more than willing for him to pass away in his own bed, but, again, he has shown little or no remorse for his crime and offered nothing other than his cancer as a reason for him to be released from the sentence that he earned by his corruption and greed. He took that bribe because he could, and I doubt seriously if it was the only bribe that he took,,

      2. bees_knees_6 says:

        Yet another good point. As I recall that animal lived a couple more years. I remember at the time thinking he was not as sick as was portrayed. BUT that one hit on a more personal level. My sister in law flew over as part of the crew on Pan Am 103. It was days before we discovered she had been bumped in London for the return trip. She lost many friends and co-workers. We lost several years of our lives thinking we had lost her and worrying about my mother in law who had quintuple bypass a week before. Although what we went through was incredibly minimal compared to those whose loved ones were on that flight. It is often that I think of them.

        I’m not sure you can compare the death and destruction of Lockerbie to Dimasi’s crime. However, there are ways to destroy a person’s life that do not include murder. You are correct. It is difficult to wrestle with.

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