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Couple Sentenced to Prison In Wendy's Severed-Finger Case:

From the AP:

SAN JOSE, Calif.--A couple who planted a severed finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili in a scheme to extort money from the fast-food chain were sentenced Wednesday to prison terms of nine years and more than 12 years.

Anna Ayala, 40 years old, who claimed she bit into the digit, was sentenced to nine years in state prison. Her husband, Jaime Plascencia, 44, who obtained the finger from a co-worker who lost it in a workplace accident, was sentenced to more than 12 years.

The pair pleaded guilty Sept. 9 to conspiracy to file a false insurance claim and attempted grand theft with damages exceeding $2.5 million.

And in case you were wondering:
A lengthy search for the finger's owner eventually pointed to one of Mr. Plascencia's co-workers, who lost it in an accident at the paving company where they worked, police said. Mr. Plascencia bought the tip of Brian Rossiter's right ring finger for $100 and told him what he and Ayala were plotting, according to court documents. Mr. Rossiter later told police the couple offered him $250,000 to keep quiet.
Ewwwww.

As for the Defendants:

During a recorded jailhouse phone call, Ms. Ayala bragged about how other inmates were asking for her autograph, according to a transcript of the call.

Fishbane (mail):
Talk about finger pointing...
1.18.2006 6:29pm
Nunzio (mail):
Why did the husband get three more years than the wife?
1.18.2006 6:39pm
Bob Smith (mail):
>Why did the husband get three more years than the wife?

The usual justice-system sexism. In mixed-sex, multiple-offender crimes the men almost always get significantly longer sentences. In general, men get much longer sentences for every category of crime.
1.18.2006 6:45pm
JohnAnnArbor:
During a recorded jailhouse phone call, Ms. Ayala bragged about how other inmates were asking for her autograph, according to a transcript of the call.

You mean, her privacy was invaded? How terrible!

/sarcasm
1.18.2006 6:52pm
A. Nonymous (mail):
Bob Smith sayeth:


The usual justice-system sexism. In mixed-sex, multiple-offender crimes the men almost always get significantly longer sentences. In general, men get much longer sentences for every category of crime.


Bob Smith:
1) Care to cite a source for this quote?
2) We have NO idea what the guy's background is. It is decidedly possible this is not sexism at all, but he has a longer criminal background and history and is therefore getting the longer sentence to reflect that. There are news reports that Jaime Plascencia (the husband) had at least one other charge of identity theft pending In Las Veagas as this finger story broke and one charge of failure to pay child support in California. Moreover, he married her two days AFTER the whole finger thing.

Again, I am not saying that the above is why he got 12 but she got a "mere" 9. But at least my theory has some legs, as opposed to jumping to the conclusion that it must be sexism.
1.18.2006 6:59pm
Steve P. (mail):
According to a quick Google:

"The husband was given another three years and four months for not paying support for the five children he has with another woman in an unrelated case, giving him a total sentence of 12 years, four months behind bars."

So, not sexist.
1.18.2006 7:09pm
LLarry (mail):
A Reuters story said the man got 9 years for the finger incident - the same as his codefendant - and 3+ years for an unrelated child support conviction.
1.18.2006 7:10pm
Abdul (mail):
Not only does the husband get 3 more years, no one in prison apparently wants his autograph either. Sexist inmates.
1.18.2006 7:34pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"The husband was given another three years and four months for not paying support for the five children he has with another woman in an unrelated case, ..."

Isn't this sentence for failure to pay child support tantamount to debtor's prison? I suppose you could say he was convicted of child neglect, but I don't buy this lame excuse for the following reasons. First under California Family law a child has the right to live at his parents station in life. So a court could award $10,000 per month in child support and punish a father who only paid $5,000 per month. Certainly $5,000 per month wouldn't be child neglect. The money goes directly to the mother who is under no obligation to show that all of the child support money is spent on the children. Finally has a mother ever received a prison sentence for failure to pay child support? This brings us back to the question of sexism.
1.18.2006 7:38pm
Cornellian (mail):
I'm curious as to how a 9 year sentence for (what I assume is) a fraud conviction compares to the kind of sentences handed in out California for various violent crimes, like sexual assault or armed robbery.
1.18.2006 8:12pm
Splunge (mail):
Three years in prison for failing to pay a debt? That's insane. No wonder I laugh when I hear some somber pompous lectures on the fairness and wisdom of the law, at least in California.
1.18.2006 8:21pm
Professor Frink:
Where's the beef?
1.18.2006 8:41pm
scepticalrepub:
Child Support is not a debt - it is an obligation under the Common Law Doctrine of Necessaries. In other notes on this case there was some question as to the woman's immigration status -- does anyone know if she is a citizen?
1.18.2006 8:43pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
They should have pulled their scheme off in Vermont, and added a child molesting charge in just to play it safe.
1.18.2006 10:59pm
ICallMasICM (mail):
Not that they don't deserve some jail time but I agree that 9 years sems pretty severe.
1.19.2006 7:38am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
They'd done this before but on a smaller scale. This was just the first time they were caught. I'm sure the judge took that into consideration.
1.19.2006 10:18am
Houston Lawyer:
Considering the amount of money this couple cost Wendy's, the sentence is not severe. Wendy's lost a lot of sales because of that finger part. I agree that the husband is in debtor's prison for the three extra years.
1.19.2006 10:30am
KevinM:
Speaking of ewww. One reason the authorities were initially suspicious was that the finger (unlike the chili, of course) "wasn't cooked."
1.19.2006 12:29pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Considering the amount of money this couple cost Wendy's, the sentence is not severe. Wendy's lost a lot of sales because of that finger part.


Agreed, their crime hurt hundreds potentially thousands of people and as others have pointed out; this probably wasn't the first time they tried to pull something like this.

Nine years sounds about right so long as it includes hard labor.
1.19.2006 12:44pm
Dustin (mail):


Well at least she can still count to nine on her hands.

(yeah, i know, it wasn't her finger)
1.19.2006 9:01pm