Patterico's Pontifications

7/30/2009

Hiding in Plain Sight

Filed under: Crime,No on 66 — Patterico @ 7:31 am

There is a blockbuster story lurking in the details of this blog post, for anyone willing and able to see it.

42 Responses to “Hiding in Plain Sight”

  1. Nope. Don’t get it.

    Except that a career criminal was let out and should not have been.

    Patricia (48ec63)

  2. It’s got something to do with Prop 66 I’m guessing.

    happyfeet (42470c)

  3. I think Patricia and happyfeet covered it.

    The issue is this guy should have been a 3-striker, and in jail for life.

    So, the blockbuster is that judges are not enforcing the law.

    Steverino (69d941)

  4. I don’t know that, technically, that was a 3-strike case. One clear “serious felony” (home invasion) but the second burglary isn’t clearly so. But isn’t even a second strike, which both of the last two should have been, a lot of years? What happened? And don’t the multiple other crimes count in sentencing?

    Perhaps someone with knowledge of the criminal justice system could comment?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  5. Reading that record reminds me about all of the whining a while back when some dude with two prior felonies (and other crimes, IIRC) got put away for life under the three strikes law for “stealing a piece of pizza”. My attitude always was that the guy should have been locked up forever long before that, and that I really didn’t care what additional crime he committed to finally end his run. If a judge subverted the three strikes law to let this guy out on the streets, he or she should be targeted for defeat in the next judicial election to make an example out of them.

    M. Scott Eiland (5ccff0)

  6. I see it. Lily Burk was asking for it.

    I mean, she should’ve known not to run an errand for her mom looking all young and unprotected. The girl had it coming.

    Typical Liberal Moral Incompetent (4fabb2)

  7. I don’t know that, technically, that was a 3-strike case. One clear “serious felony” (home invasion) but the second burglary isn’t clearly so.

    I think the 1997 burglary was his third strike. The 1987 arrest was two separate felonies, one of them violent. I don’t remember the law off the top of my head, but I think that should have been enough to put him away.

    Steverino (69d941)

  8. I don’t want to stop believing that most people are good – you just have to be so careful and on guard against the ones who are completely bad and really have no reason to even be alive – I might be a liberal Democrat but I believe in the death penalty and I just don’t think there is any reason for criminals like this animal to live –

    I think the story is here. The left wing antipathy to the death penalty and the Obama soft on crime, and soft on terrorism policies may be getting counterproductive. If self-procalimed liberals are talking death penalty, the Democrats in California might be in trouble. They certainly can’t brag about the economy.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  9. I don’t see what the death penalty has to do with this at all. Wiht a record like this he should have been in jail for a close-to-life stretch.

    But any excuse to blame everything on “liberals” — right Mike?

    David Ehrenstein (2550d9)

  10. Steverino, unless it was changed, I’m pretty sure the first two felonies must be “serious” involving violence or the threat of violence. The third can be any felony, even something enhanced to felony status, such as the petty theft. I am unclear about multiple felony charges relating to the same act.

    Home invasion certainly counts as a strike, though. The vehicle theft should have been enhanced as a result, as should the later felonies. But unless the felony burglary was for something other than the home invasion, I can see how this doesn’t add up to 3.

    Again, the 3 strikes law has been hammered on in the courts, and it would be good to have someone who does work in this field to count them for us.

    But whatever, he should have still been in jail even if you disregard the drug possession charges.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  11. A lot of people have claimed that 58 year old Gates, who needed a cane but didn’t actually have one on him, was just a ridiculous potential criminal. This man was only a few years younger than Gates, and probably didn’t scream as much.

    “I’m wondering why banks and other issuers of debit/credit cards don’t furnish two account access numbers, so that customers can enter the alternate number when under duress–still affording them access and processing the transaction while secretly notifying the bank immediately that they are accessing their account under duress and need public safety to respond

    That was a comment under the link… I think it’s a pretty good idea, though it probably wouldn’t have been enough.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  12. Michelle Obama once said as a black man in America my husband could get shot just getting gas.

    I guess she was a mixed up and got the races confused.

    Person of little or no color (19f1d5)

  13. Our judicial system is not perfect. (I know, a huge understatement) But our leaning toward letting out the less violent offenders early, and building a penal system that practically caters to the proven guilty, has lead us down the path of having more and more career criminals. Maybe this guy wouldn’t fall under the 3 strike rule (prior to this horrific event). But a penal system that criminals don’t find all that penalizing is not working.

    I don’t think it’s the length of the sentence that has the bigger impact, or the location and surroundings of where you serve that sentence. Why do we build such expensive prisons? Keep it simple; bland, ugly, limited food, and very limited freedom of anything. Perhaps I don’t know the true nature of what prisons are today – but from what I have seen and read, its way too good for the criminals we put there.

    Bring back stocks and rotten tomatoes; scarlet letters; chain gangs.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  14. REF ATM. Reverse the PIN. No need for two numbers.
    Transaction goes as if nothing is amiss, but the alarm is activated at the nearest dispatch center.

    Richard Aubrey (a9ba34)

  15. Corwin, everything I know about California prisons suggest they are not country clubs. I do think there is a sub population that is career criminal and they need to be sequestered from the rest of the population. Then there is another population, of which 15% are male and 31% female who are psychotic and need to be in reopened state hospitals. Most of the latter group are probably in jails and less secure facilities but getting them into a psychiatric setting would free up the space for others.

    Of course, none of this will happen because we have a political elite that does not accept the need to sequester the career criminal and the need to commit recalcitrant psychotics.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  16. The Issue is whether true Evil will be recognized and dealt with by the body politic instead of coddled and enabled.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  17. This guy is on the street and he took a young life. Yet his criminal history is nowhere near as serious as probably most of the 37,000 convicts recently proposed for release from our prisons.

    Crime is down substantially in California, and LA in particular. If our budget compromises result in thousands of prison releases, we can be prepared for more Lily Burks, as well as robberies, burglaries, car jackings, etc.

    The voters of California have no problem being tough on crime–as they should. I can never understand why they vote in representatives who do not share their convictions.

    ManlyDad (22e85d)

  18. Then there is another population, of which 15% are male and 31% female who are psychotic and need to be in reopened state hospitals.

    Mike K, I appreciate almost everything you post here, but this line just made me chuckle.

    Exactly what are the remaining 54% of that population? :)

    Steverino (69d941)

  19. Manly,
    To answer your question, see the last presidential election:
    It’s not hard to get people to vote themselves somebody else’s money.
    Nothing else matters. Not attitudes toward crime, not records on business taxes and regulations.
    Nothing.

    Richard Aubrey (a9ba34)

  20. I saw that myself too late. What I should have written is that 15% of the male PRISON POPULATION and 31% of the (much smaller) female PRISON POPULATION are psychotic. That’s probably about 17% of all prisoners and that’s a lot of room.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  21. Steverino – I did not realize there were that many transtesticles in CA.

    JD (5e5cad)

  22. ManlyDad #16 wrote, “The voters of California have no problem being tough on crime–as they should. I can never understand why they vote in representatives who do not share their convictions.”
         I bet it’s because people in California, and throughout most of the USA, generally tend to vote to the left of their own political convictions.

    Ira (28a423)

  23. I wonder if prosecutors pled crimes down from felonies so as to avoid a three strike problem.

    MTF (17058c)

  24. REF ATM. Reverse the PIN. No need for two numbers. Transaction goes as if nothing is amiss, but the alarm is activated at the nearest dispatch center.

    Yeah, I’ve been saying that for years, too. Too simple.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  25. They probably found out that 73% of adults couldn’t reverse the PINs to save their lives. Too much math.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  26. I do think there is a sub population that is career criminal and they need to be sequestered from the rest of the population.
    Comment by MIke K

    According to the last info I saw from the FBI, the recidivism rate among those incarcerated is over 80%.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  27. I’ll help:

    Burglary might or might not be a strike; we can’t tell for sure. It is likely the home invasion robbery and burglary were both strikes, so any future felonies would be 3K eligible.

    However, often prosecutors or judges will not 3K a person when it’s a one-victim case with multiple connected strikes. The LA burg may or may not have been a strike – that could be anything from walking into the Walmart to steal DVDs to breaking into a house to steal everything.

    The 2006 case might have been a 3K case, also. LADA requires exceptional circumstances to prosecute non-K, non-injury cases as 3K cases with prior strikes; I don’t believe they do it on petty thefts at all. (Their policy is googleable.)

    It’s not clear to me from just that writeup that anything ill-judged happened.

    –JRM

    JRM (355c21)

  28. Ref reversing ATM pins:
    How long did it take, and what incentives were necessary, to get most of the folks set up with converter boxes?
    On the other hand, you can plunk a twenty-year-old corporal and his fire team into A-stan boonies all by their lonesomes and he’s running the township.
    ?????????????

    Richard Aubrey (a9ba34)

  29. I have bypassed reading the comments on this thread and scrolled straight to the bottom, because I think I’ve got it:

    1987: Felony home invasion robbery, felony burglary, unlawful taking of vehicle in San Bernardino.
    1997: Felony burglary in San Bernardino.
    2003: Misdemeanor driving on a suspended license in Los Angeles County.
    2006: Felony petty theft with prior theft in Los Angeles.
    2009: Misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia in Los Angeles.

    Samuel’s third felony charge in nine years was in 2006, but he somehow got back on the streets in 2009 to kill Lily. Someone has some ‘splaining to do.

    Oh, I almost forgot (ahem) … “allegedly.”

    Is that it?

    L.N. Smithee (f2dbdf)

  30. If Samuels was a 3 strike-eligible felon who was not so prosecuted on the third strike by the Los Angeles County District Attorney, then Patterico would seem to be attacking his own employer and client, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. That would certainly account for his coyness.

    If there was no failure to prosecute by his employer and client, why not come out and say what the issue is? After all, Patterico has easy access to the public prosecution records and jacket of this guy.

    So here is my question: who are you trying to point the finger at, Mr. Frey? Your client? A sentencing Superior Court judge? A different district attorney’s office? Someone else?

    Cyrus Sanai (ada6da)

  31. Reading that record reminds me about all of the whining a while back when some dude with two prior felonies (and other crimes, IIRC) got put away for life under the three strikes law for “stealing a piece of pizza”.

    If two stints in the state pen don’t make you never want to steal again, that’s your maddog fault.

    L.N. Smithee (f2dbdf)

  32. You know better than to tug on Superman’s cape here in the Fortress of Solitude, Snidely.

    L.N. Smithee (f2dbdf)

  33. The felony “petty theft with a prior” in 2006 should have been a 3rd Strike that put him away for 25 years. The home invasion is certainly a strike, and the burglary is almost certainly a strike.

    But a lot of DAs won’t file on felony “Petty theft with a prior” because they think its unfair. Some offices have a specific policy of not doing so — depends on the DA in the County. If that charge was in LA County, and the LA County DA has a policy of not charging as a third strike the Felony “Petty with a Prior”, then the DA’s policy is responsible for the death of the girl because the DA could have easily kept this killer off the street.

    Either the judge struck the prior or the DA didn’t file it as part of the sentencing — I’m not sure what the exact procedure is that allows the strike to go unrecognized at senctencing.

    And, this case is a CLASSIC EXAMPLE of why all those people who claim the third strike should be a violent felony are wrong. Those are the folks who always point to the cases where the 3rd strike was a stolen slice of pizza (which really was a strong-arm robbery of a teen at a beach boardwalk by a gang member) or stolen video tapes, and claim such “non-violent” felonies shouldn’t be used to put someone away under the Three Strikes law.

    The point they refuse to see is that someone with two prior violent felony convictions who still is willing to commit another felony — even seemingly “harmless” felonies like stealing pizza or video tapes — are a threat to the public simply by virtue of their UNWILLINGNESS to obey the law.

    Shipwreckedcrew (7f73f0)

  34. Are all those priors inadmissible in his upcoming trial because they’re ‘prejudicial’?

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  35. Hit his “third strike” in 1997.

    mojo (8096f2)

  36. Apogee, in most cases the defendants prior criminal history is inadmissable as evidence in a trial except during the sentencing phase. Patterico will have to weigh in on this since he is an attorney and I am just a lowly peace officer in another state to boot. However, 1987: Felony home invasion robbery, felony burglary, unlawful taking of vehicle in San Bernardino might and I say might be able to be entered if enough of the particulars are met. Such as weapons used, theft, taking of hostages during the comission, and theft of the vehicle, (absence of harm to anyone might exclude it), and thus it is admissible to establish a pattern by the defendant. The other theft charges are a remote possibility also, but highly unlikely.

    I once got admitted (by accident) the entire defendants criminal history due to a stupid defense attorney. I was testifying and using my notebook to refresh my recollection, and the defense attorney snatched it out of my hand (he should have asked politely, I would’ve handed it to him as that is his right). He then proceeded to question me from my notes of which some were in code to protect sensitive info in case notebook was lost etc. (First rule of attorneys is don’t ask a question that you don’t know the answer to) The numbers were our criminal history code, and since it is illegal to reveal these to anyone but LEO’s or attorneys and judges, thus the code format.

    He noticed the numbers by defendant’s name and said, “Pray tell officer, what does this #4 2/13/84 by my clients name mean?”

    (numbers have been changed to protect the guilty)

    I replied, “Sir that indicates that your “client” was convicted of Burglary on February 13, 1984.”

    Defense attorney quickly stated that he had no more questions and sat back down. We had a real sharp asst DA that immediately on redirect, began questioning me what the other numbers and dates meant.

    Of course the defense attorney objected, but since he had broached the defendants previous criminal history, the judge overruled his objection, and the defendant’s entire criminal history was revealed to the jury. Said criminal history was lengthy indeed.

    But in most cases, a very strong causal relationship to defendant’s prior history must be established for it to be admissible, and even then it is very difficult to get it in.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  37. This isn’t the answer you’re looking for but,

    Samuel driving away from the area of the law school in Burk’s car with her in the passenger seat,

    They seem to have visited several ATMs, and here he is driving, presumably this means chances to get away, raise a ruckus. Is she

    1) frozen in fear (understandable)
    2) too brainwashed with political correctness to know the danger she is in
    3) even worse, wants to help the guy out as she’s been trained to feel guilty for being a white kid since, oh, fourth grade or so

    Whatever the reason, she didn’t seem to realize the danger posed by a hulking homeless guy, let alone the very significant increase over the base danger because it was a homeless black guy.

    hortense (aka horace) (56e183)

  38. a homeless black guyAfrican Americans only become homeless as the result of racism.

    highpockets (e2c000)

  39. WLS, about the third strike “petty with a prior” (assuming that the burglary was a 2nd strike, that whole issue is confused for me)…

    Suppose they did charge those, routinely. Would this mean a lot more folks go to prison for a long time? If so, where do they put them? I’m not arguing that this isn’t the thing to do, just the practicalities. No money and all.

    Clearly we are making a choice. Is there a better place to draw the line? Don’t think we can or want to lock ever transgressor up forever.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  40. hortense (aka horace):

    Whatever the reason, she didn’t seem to realize the danger posed by a hulking homeless guy, let alone the very significant increase over the base danger because it was a homeless black guy.

    I can’t tell if you are sincere or sarcastic here, but my guess is Lily was afraid to run because he was threatening her with a knife.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  41. […] It’s hiding in plain sight. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Lede Buried (e4ab32)

  42. BINGO!

    They believe that Burk was killed within about 45 minutes of her last call to her parents and hours before she was reported missing.

    The victim made several phone calls to her parents. Her parents never felt anything weird was going on to justify calling the police. Why is this? Certainly repeated calls about using ATM’s would have raised some suspicions. What did Lily tell her parents? Couldn’t they have directed her to an ATM where some plain clothes police were waiting?

    Thank you Patterico, my hero.

    Alta Bob (913b02)


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