Sour Thoughts from the Police Beat: Things Don’t Work Like They Spoza

None of this would happen in a free world. In the first place, there would be no “District Attorney ” types representing a mythical “state” on the behalf of which the criminal would be “punished.” The onus of “bringing charges” would lie on the victim (or his/her family). They could choose to completely forgive is they so desired. If they chose not to forgive, the focus would  be on “restitution” and not on “punishment.”  — jtl, 419

by Fred Reed via Fred on Everything

A  cause of this dysfunction is the notion that criminals can “pay their debt to  society,” and then be all better, as if crimes were purchases made on a credit  card. Say that a marginal human wielding a bolo knife crawls through a window,  burglarizes the house, and gets caught and sentenced to five years. He gets out  some time later having “paid his debt”—actually the citizenry have paid $20K a  year to keep him fed and comfortable. He is now thought to have been cleansed  and ready to make a fresh start.

Not  a chance.


As  any cop can tell you, career criminals commit almost all crime. When Willy Bill  gets caught carrying a television out from someone’s window,, you will find,  with the absolute certainty one associates with bankruptcy in a Democratic  administration, that he has a rap sheet going back to puberty. Two years after  getting out for one offense, he will be arrested for another. Normal, civilized  people don’t suddenly think, “Gosh, slow day. I guess I’ll do a little burglary.”  Either you don’t do it at all, or it’s all  you do.

Whenever  I covered a guy who stabbed a woman thirty-seven times while robbing her at an  ATM, I knew he would prove to be be out on parole for something similar. He always was. Which  is why three-strikes-and-you’re-out makes considerable sense, at least for  serious crimes: e.g., forcible rape, armed robbery, and ADW, though not for  felony shoplifting or peddling grass.  You  can cage a rattlesnake after it bites someone, but when you letit out, it is still  a rattlesnake.

Which  brings up to parole and the phoniness of sentencing.

Suppose  that a judge gives Willy Bill fifteen years for a bloody robbery. This looks  good to the public: Grr, woof, bow-wow. Sernness. But Willy gets time off for  good behavior, and a parole-eligibility date in seven years or next Wednesday,  whichever come first.  The sentence he gets  isn’t the sentence he serves.  It has to  do with crowding in prisons and, I strongly suspect, a desire to make it appear  to the public that criminals are being punished when they aren’t much.

Then  you have Willy Bill and his parole hearing. Parole boards often consist of gullible  citizens with no experience of criminal behavior. Further, Willy is a good con  man. He does great repentance-speak. He is All Fixed Now. Nobody produces  better sincerity than a psychopath who wants out. It’s forty-weight. You could  lube a diesel with it. The parole board bites. Three months later he kills a  woman.

Jesus  is responsible for much of this mayhem. Prisons churn out conversions to Christ  like Hershey’s does chocolate kisses. I once spent a week of work days in the  Cook County Jail in Chicago when a friend was head of IAD there. He arranged  for me to interview prisoners. I heard a common song: “I done wrong. I know I  did. But I found Jesus. He my man now. All I want is serve my savior.”

Sure.  Any day now. But it convinces parole boards, some of them anyway. When he gets  out, whatever he did, he’ll do again. Within weeks, most likely. He’s doesn´t  know how to do anything else. The  system rests on the idea that criminals can get better. Mostly they don’t. They  can’t.

(Incidentally, if you want a marvelous (I thought, anyway) book about how scams work in the slam, try Games Criminals Play. It’s a hoot.)

Then  comes plea-bargaining, a labor-saving device for prosecutors and judges. America  is supposed to have trial by jury. It says so in the Constitution we used to  have. Actually, something over 90% of cases are pleaded. If ten percent of  criminals had a jury trial, the system would stop like a two-dollar watch.  Our legal system supposes we are a civilized  people, and that such peoples don’t   commit a lot of crime. Try that in Detroit, Newark, Camden, Chicago.

Suppose  that an urban hairball slingin’ rock on the corner fires seven times at a  competitor with a stolen Glock, missing because he has no idea how to shoot. He  is arrested for attempting murder, which is exactly what he was attempting. The  public defender pleads him down to aggravated assault or malicious jaywalking, or  maybe Inappropriate Thought, which is what we pay PDs to do: keep violent  felons on the street (which, by the way, they know perfectly well they are  doing.). What with time off and a probably stupid parole board that  additionally has been told to let people go because the slams are full to  bursting, a few years later he’s out and, sure enough, kills….

Then  there is drug rehab, a profitable scam that doesn’t work. It is profitable in  part because it doesn’t work: a city  will pay several times for the rehab of the same addict. Dopers amount to a reusable  resource for the rehab racket.

A  judge doesn’t want to send an endless stream of crack-heads, scag monkeys, and  pill freaks to the slam. There isn’t enough room. Sending them to rehab sounds  humanitarian, progressive, and improving. Actually, with very few exceptions,  it is useless, as all involved know.  I  have sat in a police car outside a rehab house in Washington and watched an inmate  come out, score, and go back in. The cop I was with did nothing. There was no  point in doing anything.

Jury  trials are in large part a scam. I don’t have a better idea, but that doesn’t  keep them from being scams. To begin with, you are supposed to face an  impartial jury. The Foundering Fathers stuck this in so that  ordinary citizens wouldn’t be railroaded by kangaroo juries packed with the equivalent  of the King’s littermates. It was a perfectly good idea. However, in the racially  divided America of today, jurors of another race are unlikely to be impartial. Space  aliens would come closer. Think of the passions ignited nationally in the cases of Rodney King, OJ Simpson, and George Zimmerman. The same emotions poison lesser trials that few hear about. Not good.

Another  problem is that s, except in high-dollar cases with alpha-shysters,  juries are sometimes composed of people who weren’t smart enough to avoid jury  duty. They can  resemble the waiting room in a bus station. People with  a Macy’s-Basement IQ simply can’t understand the what is g oing on. A woman I know was a  juror in a civil trial in Washington in which both sides stipulated that sexual  harassment was not involved. Despite this, the jury wanted to give the  complainant an award for having been sexually harassed.

Finally,  trials are not about truth, justice, and beauty, but about winning. Period.  Neither lawyer wants a jury of people who think objectively, as for example  twelve physicists. In a rape case, the defense will try to seek a censorious  Aunt Polly spinster who will think, “Well, if she went into that awful biker  bar in a three-inch miniskirt, she deserves what she got, the trash.” The  prosecutor will want a hard-nosed law-and-order type who will think, “If we  can’t keep our women safe from this kind of animal, what the hell kind of  country are we?”

If  that ain’t impartial, I can’t imagine what might be.


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1 Response to Sour Thoughts from the Police Beat: Things Don’t Work Like They Spoza

  1. Gunny G says:

    Reblogged this on BLOGGING BAD ~ DICK.G: AMERICAN ! and commented:


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