Former Gary City Councilwoman Marilyn Krusas wants a shorter sentence than the year she was given for income tax evasion. That wouldn't be fair.
Krusas was sentenced last week to one year and one day in prison. She is scheduled to report to an unnamed federal prison March 26.
In her plea agreement, Krusas admitted to costing the U.S. treasury an estimated $80,000 to $200,000 by failing to file tax returns since 1991. She also failed to pay taxes on a $232,680 inheritance she received in 2009 and 2010.
Defense attorney Scott King hopes Krusas' poor health will help her get that sentence reduced on appeal. Krusas, 70, is undergoing cancer treatment for her kidneys and lungs.
King had asked the federal judge to allow his client to serve home detention or probation because she suffered from depression since the 1960s. The sentencing memorandum said her behavior was "fueled by mental illness, not political gain."
Actually, her behavior led to political loss. Her guilty plea to the felony charge meant losing the City Council position she had held since 2000.
Putting Krusas behind bars won't be easy on the cancer patient. But sentences should be based on the circumstances surrounding the crime, not on the offender's convenience.
Northwest Indiana has seen a long string of public officials convicted on federal charges. All these convictions have given public service a bad name.
Gary residents have not just the Krusas disgrace to consider but also that of Councilman Ronier Scott, who was also convicted of tax evasion. Scott remains on the council because his crime was a misdemeanor. It's the felony conviction that triggers an automatic ouster.
Scott should resign on his own accord to clean up city government.
As for Krusas, her sentence shouldn't be reduced. Let other public officials, as well as the public, know the seriousness of her offense.