Rep. Ilhan Omar has appealed for "compassion" in the sentencing of a man who pleaded guilty to threatening to kill her.
In a letter submitted to Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr., of the Western District of New York, Omar asks for "a system of compassion to be applied" when Patrick W. Carlineo, Jr. comes to be sentenced.
Carlineo, Jr., 55, of Ithaca, New York, made calls to Omar's office, calling her a "terrorist" saying "somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull," before adding: "I'll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull."
In her letter to the judge, Omar said that while Carlineo's crime was "grave" and based upon "hateful stereotypes about my faith," she is urging the court against taking legal retribution on someone himself threatening political retribution.
Carlineo is facing up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on Feb. 14.
"The answer to hate is not more hate; it is compassion," she said. "Punishing the defendant with a lengthy prison sentence or a burdensome financial fine would not rehabilitate him. It would not repair the harm he has caused. It would only increase his anger and resentment.
"A punitive approach to criminal justice will not stop criminals like Mr. Carlineo from committing a crime again or prevent others from committing similar acts. Only restorative justice can do that. He should understand the consequences of his actions, be given the opportunity to make amends and seek redemption.
"If we truly want to prevent crimes like Mr. Carlineo’s, we must address the root causes of these crimes. The desire to commit violence is not inherent in people. People who threaten or commit violence are often themselves the victims of systemic alienation and neglect. They seek violence because they are taught violence. We must address this systemic alienation through community reintegration and social services.
"Threats of political violence and hate speech are not unique to Mr. Carlineo. They are an increasing feature in our public sphere. We will not defeat it with anger and exclusion. We will defeat it with compassion."