What’s an appropriate sentence for ‘a monster’?

Rare is the day when a judge’s sentence for someone who abuses children comes under scrutiny for being too harsh, but today may be that day.

Elizabeth Escalona was sentenced in Texas today to 99 years in prison.

“You savagely beat your child to the edge of death,” the judge said this morning at the end of a week-long sentencing hearing.

And there’s no question, Escalona is horrible. She drank booze and smoked pot and beat her kid during potty training:

But even the prosecution has requested “only” a 45-year sentence.

The Dallas Observer’s blog isn’t sure what to make of the trial:

Clearly Escalona is a profoundly disturbed woman who doesn’t belong anywhere near her children, despite her family’s pleas for leniency. But it’s tough to see what larger lesson we can take from this case, and what the purpose was for the unrelenting media coverage we saw this week. Instead, we’re left with a window into one woman’s terrible, disturbing crimes, and many questions, which will remain unanswered, about how they could have been prevented.

Prosecutors had previously offered the woman a 45-year sentence as part of a plea bargain. She rejected it. She also rejected the advice of her attorney that she shouldn’t testify.

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