Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Soft on Crime, Does it Work?

   Here in Oklahoma we have seen former Speaker Kris Steele and Oklahoma County D.A. David Prater fall on their faces with the JRI program back in 2013 but like the committed liberals they are they simply renamed the campaign and set to work implementing the same programs under an different name.  It doesn't help that the Justice Department is pressuring local and state public safety systems to do the same, claiming the disparate impact on minority communities.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch warned municipal and state judges earlier this year that they would face the loss of federal funding if they don't ease up on fines and arrest warrants against poor and indigent minorities.  Lynch urged community service or "amnesty days" that allowed outstanding warrants to be cleared for nominal fees.

   Failure to comply will trigger discrimination investigations according to Lynch in her "guidance" letter to local court systems.   Enforcing outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines and court fees will have a "disparate impact" on African-Americans according to Lynch, because they are arrested or fined at an "disproportionate" rate compared to whites.

   Lynch fails to mention that blacks also break felony and misdemeanor laws at a vastly disproportionate rate so even if the law is color blind those who commit more crimes will of course be in the court system.  Lynch also has warned local school systems about suspending violent or unruly black students and to get cops to stop stopping, frisking, and arresting minority offenders.  Title VI is Lynch's excuse but the Supreme Court has long ago ruled that only intentional discrimination is covered by Title VI.

   Coddling criminals and ignoring low level crimes such as the failure to pay court ordered fees/fines simply exacerbates the problem of a subset of our population that simply acts on impulse or emotion rather than think out the consequences of their acts.  Or perhaps they understand that they can simply use violence at will and know the chances of landing in jail, paying a bail bondsman, having to pay out of pocket for a defense attorney, or even having to pay fines or fees are pretty darned remote.  And low level crimes lead to bigger crimes.  New York City backed off their enforcement of low level crime and saw both minor and violent crime explode.  Arrests for public urination, public drunkenness and other misdemeanor crimes are not being prosecuted and outstanding warrants for other small crimes are being ignored. Judges award indigent status to defendants without investigation, putting the cost of defense attorneys upon the back of the local tax payers, releasing violent criminals without a bail bondsman watching over them, then ignoring the fact that the lawbreakers walk out of court and refuse to pay a dime toward the expenses of running the court or providing restitution for their crimes.  Anyone eligible for public benefits is awarded indigent status even if they aren't receiving food stamps or section eight housing.  You take a drug dealer or thief that doesn't have a legal income and give them a free ride through the court system?  Insane….

    There is no doubt that state and local government look at the citizens as sheep to be shorn by the court system.   Lynch claims that the police and courts conspire to exploit poor blacks in some kind of shakedown but if the data proves that blacks fail to pay their fines and vastly greater rates than whites then why wouldn't the courts be focusing on the "paying customers" and shaking down the whites?  Of course if you look at the Justice Department itself, it is notorious for handing out enormous fines and penalties, millions of dollars in fines for cattle ranchers thought to be overgrazing, the businessman that spills some sawdust or river bed sand from a silo, and few of those victims ever have the chance of paying that kind of money and clearing their cases.

  Liberal and big business advocates have also increased the cost of the court system by mandating drug counseling and ankle monitors and have pushed courts to assess more fines instead of prison time.  It comes back to the usual, follow the money and find the cause of the problems.  The upcoming SQ 780 and 781 are no different, a vast raid on the prison system budget with the cash being funneled into "nonprofit" groups like Kris Steele's TEAM organization to justify the six figure salaries handed out to retired legislators.  In the mean time the citizens suffer from increased crime as the criminal knows that they personally will not have to pay a dime for a bondsman, a lawyer, or pay fines or fees resulting from their bad behaviors.