July 12, 2013 12:31 pm ET
Recent court decisions bring shock, anger
First, I want to clarify that I cannot take credit for the headline of this blog post. These are not my words—they were spoken by Harford County State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly.
If I would have written the headline, I would have used “insanity” over “goofiness.”
You see, I have been dealing with this insanity/goofiness/”insert your own negative word here” for nearly 30 years. In fact, when I penned an article for the Baltimore Sun years ago, I used a famous quote from Popeye the Sailor: “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” When I wrote those words, I was referring to the justice system (or lack thereof).
And here we are, decades later, with no progress made.
Recently, several decisions announced by the Maryland Court of Appeals have left a number of individuals, including Mr. Cassilly, shocked, angered, and downright disgusted. No less than 13 murderers were let out of prison because the Court of Appeals decided that improper instructions given to the juries meant that the killers were too easy to convict (or, to use the technical terms, the instructions were “fundamentally unfair to the defendants.”)
It’s like saying Ray Rice can’t run the ball in from the 1 yard line because it would be too easy for the Ravens to score a touchdown. Fundamentally unfair, indeed.
To make matters worse, you have local left-wing pundits like the Sun’s Dan Rodricks that legitimize this nonsense with quotes like this:
“One of the ironic consequences of the Maryland Court of Appeals’ ruling in the matter of criminals sentenced to life in prison is that it undermines, with fine judicial reasoning, what two Democratic governors tried to keep in place with crass political considerations — that is, the denial of parole to longtime convicts who had earned release from prison.”
So, how exactly does a sentence of life without parolechange into life with parole? Does that apply to the Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan, or maybe the accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? How old do they have to be to get a “get out of jail free” pass? Rodricks goes on to say it took the court 32 years to see the light. Does that mean that darkness engulfed them all during that time?
Mr. Rodricks feels age is a quasi-element of assuring the public—simply put, being of advanced age is a deterrent to committing crime.
Wait, you mean that senior citizens don’t commit crimes anymore? Did anyone bother to tell that to Larry Singleton in California or Whitey Bulger in Boston? Whitey is “nursing home” age now, so being around him must be as safe as being around a bunch of fluffy kittens. Right?
Mr. Rodricks other quote is quite rather telling, too:
“Glendening admitted … keeping lifers in Maryland prisons, denying parole even to the old guys who had been OK’d by the commission, had more to do with politics than with keeping the public safe.”
Mr. Rodricks interjects politics into his argument, which is no big deal—politics is mixed into many decisions that impact our daily lives. Let’s take a look at a few—remember, the political aspect of these issues depends which side of the aisle you happen to be sitting.
First on the list is a subject I touched upon recently—immigration. Despite the laws of the land, namely the Constitution, pandering political leaders are willing to scrap the immigration process because demographics show a large voting block that demands change. And, not surprisingly, that very change keeps the panderers in power.
Obama care, the IRS scandal, Benghazi gate, and the ongoing trail in Florida of George Zimmerman are yet a few more current issues that are all shrouded in the political agenda. It seems the Court of Appeals’ liberal agenda is also clouded in that political maze, “cause [sic] it sure ain’t about justice.” (That quote is all mine, folks.)
Let’s look at these judges that sit on the bench (or fell off of it, depending on your point of view) because far too often they hide behind their positions of power. Look deep into their eyes and wonder about what the heck they were thinking!
Let me give you an example of how crazy the law can be. During my 39 years as a police officer, I often would be in one court with a group of defendants charged with the exact same violation as another group awaiting me in the next courtroom. Same circumstances, same laws, same procedure. Yet, it would always seem that one group would be found guilty while another group would be found not guilty. Two judges, two different interpretations of the law. Believe it or not!
Now, let me provide the names of those pictured in red with the funny ties shown above: Seated, from left: Judge Glenn T. Harrel Jr., Chief Judge Robert M. Bell (retired), and Judge Lynne A. Battaglia. Standing, from left: Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Judge Clayton Greene Jr., Judge Sally D. Adkins, and Judge Robert N. McDonald.
Before gazing into the eyes of those adorned in red with the funny ties, Mr. Rodrick should think about the number of parolees and the recidivism rate, which is near 50%.
Old age is not a deterrent to crime. The fear that you could sit in jail for the rest of your natural life used to be a deterrent to crime, but our Court of Appeals is quickly making “life without parole” a thing of the past.
Finally, I want to give you a preview for next week. One of my blog posts will reveal yet another fine mess in which the county finds itself. (Shocking, I know.) Stay tuned.