Let me rant for a few minutes, if I may.
I am tired of the courts not putting and keeping people in prison. I’m not talking about some dirtbag getting off because a police officer made a bad call on a Miranda issue, or should have gotten a search warrant when he didn’t. I’m talking about people that are found guilty.
How many criminals have you arrested without a prior arrest record? What, maybe one in a hundred? That alone should tell us the system of “corrections” isn’t working to rehabilitate these folks. The only thing the short sentences (if any) is doing for these guys, is to build them up badder and stronger for the next time we have to arrest them.
Take, for instance, a drunk I was dealing with the other day. This rocket-scientist is drunk and passed out in front of a local high school in the middle of the afternoon. Another officer and I determine that he needs to be transported to the local drunk tank to sober up. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like that idea. So, he still goes to jail, but now with two felonies: battery on a law enforcement officer and terroristic threats.
This may be a bit of a shock, but this was not his first arrest. Nope, not even his 50th. Try 56 priors. Oh, and he had just been let out of jail the previous evening (less than 24 hours prior) after serving less than two months for multiple felony drug charges. In fact, he had eight prior arrests in our county, this year alone!
He also gets $2200/month on government disability. Is this a great system, or what?
So, the state attorney accepts a plea of guilty on misdemeanor battery (ignoring the prior felonies and that the victim was a cop) and drops the terroristic threats. He has already been released back into society.
My story is just a small sample of the foolishness that passes for justice in some courtrooms today. How many cops are killed by perps with no priors? Or, I suppose I should rephrase the question as: Are any police officers killed by perps with no priors?
- Phoenix (AZ) Police Department lost one of theirs this year on a pedestrian stop. The officer unknowingly stopped, and was shot by, an armed man who had prior felony convictions and was an illegal alien. His most recent felony conviction was in 2006.
- Hillsborough County (FL) Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Harrison was shot and killed by a man with 23 prior arrests. The first, at age 12, was for armed burglary. Multiple charges of battery, witness tampering, and aggravated assault sprinkle the criminal record. The most recent was for aggravated assault, for which he was out out of jail after a judge had reduced the bond amount.
- A Philadelphia (PA) PD officer walked into a store on his beat, and was shot and killed by a man robbing that store. His confessed killer has several prior arrests, including a possession with intent to distribute charge. A judge allowed him to complete a drug treatment course, and then dropped the charge entirely. At the time of the murder, the killer was out on bond for new drug charges.
And now, most recently, a sergeant with the Athens-Clarke County (GA) Police Department was grievously wounded when a convict stabbed her repeatedly in a grocery store. The suspect in this case had been arrested for aggravated assault for threatening another person with two butcher knives. The judge kindly reduced the charge to disorderly conduct and probation. Several probation violations and arrests later, the suspect was finally serving time in jail until October 17th, when the judge credited him with time served and released him from jail.
The public defender representing the suspect in this case, filed a motion for a mental health evaluation, which the judge claims he never got. Regardless, the judge said the suspect only had two misdemeanor convictions and no indications of any violence. This, of course, flies in the face of common sense, as the court allowed him to plea down to a misdemeanor from the whole “threating people with butcher knives” incident.
If these convicted felons had been in prison on the day that these officers went to work, every one of them would be spending Christmas with their families.
Say a prayer for the quick and full recovery of Sgt. Courtney Gale. Work with your unions, state legislators, and citizen groups. We have got to convince our government to stop releasing these predators back into society.
Sgt. Gale’s wounds were grievous. During the attack, her femoral artery was severed, and she would have died on the floor of that supermarket had it not been for a nurse who helped slow the bleeding until EMS could get on scene.
Gale was in a coma for two weeks and stayed in the hospital for 45 days. During that time, she had multiple surgeries and other treatments intended to save her life and leg.
The attack happened in December of 2007. Gale was able to return to the department as a civilian employee in early 2012. With additional rehabilitation, she made it back to full sworn duty in mid-2013.
At the time of this update, the man who was arrested for attempting to murder Gale has not stood trial. Instead, in early 2014, the man was involuntarily committed to a mental health hospital where he will be treated and evaluated. While I am not an expert on the mental health laws of Georgia, it appears that he will be evaluated annually by the court, and could be released without ever standing trial for his brutal attack.