When real life and fiction collide

Reading the news these days can be more than a bit depressing. The economy sucks. Gas prices are the worst I can remember. Grocery store shelves are still looking light on stock compared to pre-Covid. If that’s not bad enough, we have certain parts of the country where our elected officials, especially elected district attorneys, have forgotten their job is to enforce the law. Instead, they are so busy pandering to make headlines that they are actively putting the community they are supposed to serve in danger.

Before anyone starts saying, “But, Amanda, we need judicial reform,” I know we do. But the answer isn’t to keep putting people back on the street if they have a history of violent crime. It is almost as if some of these progressive DAs took the 1993 movie “Demolition Man” as their bible for what they want society to look like but forgot that world was far from the utopia it is first presented as. They also seem to have slept through the scenes showing what happens when you shackle the police and courts to the point they can’t do their jobs.

A couple of the latest incidents that have left me shaking my head and once again being glad I don’t live on either coast come from LA and NYC. (No big surprise there)

The first tragedy can be placed directly at the feet of the LA District Attorney George Gascón. Former cop, former San Francisco DA and current Los Angeles DA, Gascón is one of the liberal prosecutors who want to trumpet about how they are clearing out the jails but who refuse to accept that their actions are putting folks in danger. In the latest out of LA, two police officers, Michael Paredes and Joseph Santana, were killed by a 35-year-old who should not have been out on the streets. This person–and I use that term loosely and I will not name him–had a criminal history that included convictions for burglary and car theft. He served two terms in prison. Last winter, he entered a guilty plea to a gun charge. The day before he executed the officers, a petition to revoke his probation was filed. He was accused of assaulting his girlfriend/wife. But, under Gascón’s policies, he wasn’t arrested and held in jail for his revocation hearing. After all, this is the new and improved LA judicial scene where no probationer would even consider for a moment fleeing after having a petition to revoke filed.

How long before the voters of LA wake up like their San Francisco counterparts did? Perhaps Gascón should talk to his SF counterpart, Chesa Boudin, who voters just recalled. Or, better yet, let him talk to the families of the two officers and to the families of every other person who found themselves victims of those criminals who should have been in jail but weren’t because of Gascón’s liberal policies.

And, no, I don’t think everyone charged with a crime should sit in jail. Nor do I think bail should be so high on minor offenses it will never be made. It should be set with an eye to the seriousness of the offense, the criminal history of the offender and likelihood of the offender actually showing up for trial.

But Gascón isn’t alone this week in seeing the harm of his policies. NYC DA Alvin Bragg once again can see up close and personal the cost of his policies. This time, at least, no one died.

In this case, a 37-year-old was allowed to plead down grand larceny to petty larceny and get out with a slap on the wrist. Now, this wouldn’t have been so unusual in many jurisdictions for someone with no criminal history. But this person–and again, I’m using the term loosely–has been arrested 36 times. But it gets better. After the larceny plea, he was arrested on yet another robbery and was allowed to walk free in some sort of a deal with the DA’s Office. Oh, and in January, he was arrested on assault charges. Funny thing, while there’s been some sort of resolution with the case, the file is sealed–and he was back out on the streets.

My guess, he said he had some information on some other crook and got a sweetheart deal that put him back out on the street–where he was free to assault a woman who was walking down the street and talking on her phone.

Oh, and guess what? He was released without bail on that case thanks to NY’s bail reform laws–you can be charged with a third-degree assault and be processed right out of jail–I wonder if  you can pass Go and collect your $200 at the same time.

Judicial reform doesn’t mean putting the general public in danger. It doesn’t mean compounding problems once you see they exist. It means finding a way to correct the wrongs without causing more in the process–and without costing people their lives.

Justice should be blind but not toothless.

Featured Image by Maurizio Lanciotti from Pixabay

About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.


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