Patterico's Pontifications

5/14/2006

Leniency Has a Cost

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:04 am

Credit where credit is due. The L.A. Times today runs this article about Lee Baca’s program of providing early release from jail for many criminal offenders. The article makes a simple point that taxpayers should, but may not, already know: Releasing Inmates Early Has a Costly Human Toll.

The article begins with the story of an innocent person killed by someone who should have been in jail, but was out of custody due to Lee Baca’s early release program:

Mario Moreno should still have been behind bars the night he climbed into the passenger seat of a stolen car with two fellow gang members.

He was carrying a rifle, some cartridges and, in his jacket pocket, a bag of marijuana. “Let’s go do this,” the car’s driver recalled Moreno saying as they headed into the turf of a rival black gang.

They drove by a liquor store at 89th Street and Central Avenue in South Los Angeles. Two older black men were standing outside.

Moreno, 18, aimed his weapon out the driver’s-side window and fired. One bullet killed Darrell Dennard, 53, a grandfather who slept in an alley behind a nearby fish market and got by doing odd jobs. He had just bought a lottery ticket. It was about 9 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2004.

If not for a chronic shortage of jail beds in Los Angeles County, Dennard’s killer would have been in jail four more months. Moreno had been convicted of possessing a sawed-off shotgun — a felony. A probation officer called him a “danger to the community,” and a judge sentenced him to a year in jail, the county maximum. Six days later he was released into a work program. Since his arrest, he had served a total of 53 days.

This is not an isolated incident. The article lays out other examples of the costs of the early release program.

It’s easy to blame Baca for the program, but he has to work with what he has been given by the Board of Supervisors. He also must work within restrictions placed upon the system by federal judges:

A generation ago, no one in Los Angeles got out of jail early.

When beds were full, inmates were housed in hallways, common rooms, the pews of the jail’s chapel and anywhere floor space was available. In the summer of 1983, with the building filled to twice its capacity, hundreds of inmates were given four blankets each and slept under the stars on the roof of Men’s Central Jail.

By then a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of inmates by the American Civil Liberties Union was making its way through the court system. A federal court found the overcrowding to be cruel and unusual punishment and ordered the county to stop overloading its jails. At the time, more than 22,000 inmates were being housed in space meant for half as many. County officials, under a federal consent decree, agreed to open new facilities.

In 1988, the judge allowed the county to institute what was to be a temporary solution to the overcrowding: early release.

Of course, early release is now anything but temporary. The jail system is still subject to restrictions placed on it by federal judges like Dean Pregerson, who “oversees the still-open civil rights case on jail conditions.” As I discussed on Friday, Pregerson evidently thinks that it’s more important to keep the jails from being too crowded — and even to make sure inmates have enough television time! — than it is to keep people in jail for their full sentence.

Keeping jails nice and uncrowded is a wonderful goal, but when is prioritized over safety, safety suffers — which means innocent people like Darrell Dennard sometimes die as a result.

The finger of blame rotates around, but the answer is always the same: we don’t have enough money. Some blame Baca for releasing people too early, but he has to make do with the money he has. Baca blames courts and prosecutors for being too lenient and not sending everyone to prison — but the prisons are overcrowded just like the jails, and the D.A.’s office can’t seek the maximum sentence against every defendant on the money we get from the Board of Supervisors. The Supervisors say they are doing the best they can with the money they have. That’s a farce, of course. They could and should allocate much more to law enforcement. But they don’t expect to pay a political price for failing to do so. Because they won’t.

It all comes back to you, the voters and taxpayers. You keep voting down tax increases for law enforcement, on the (reasonable) theory that government ought to be able to provide for the public safety with the money it is already taking in. But you keep voting these same Supervisors into office, time and time again.

Blame yourselves.

Meanwhile, kudos to the L.A. Times for pointing out that weaker crime enforcement has a very real human cost. It’s a perspective that was completely lacking in the paper’s coverage of Proposition 66, the recent measure to gut the Three Strikes law. As a new measure to weaken the law approaches, it will be interesting to see whether The Times‘s new perspective on the human cost of leniency will be reflected in stories about Three Strikes. I’m not going to hold my breath or anything like that, but I’m willing to be hopeful.

43 Responses to “Leniency Has a Cost”

  1. One wonders (at least, this one wonders if perhaps the voters would be more willing to spend government money on jails if they weren’t being taxed so much to spend money on other programs.

    Dana (dd8e7e)

  2. Bravo.

    The problem is not limited to the voters; an out-of-control judiciary is at the root of damn near all the dysfunction in the criminal justice system.

    Patterico, have you ever read Guilty : The Collapse of Criminal Justice by the late Harold Rothwax? A criminal defense attorney before becoming a judge, his book is a scathing indictment of what the appellate bench has done to the criminal courts.

    As a prosecutor, I’ve never read anything that did a better job of highlighting the stupidity, the distance between the real world and the ivory-tower elitism of the judiciary. Rothwax had some brilliantly simple suggestions for fixing the system — albeit ideas with no chance of ever being implemented (see his chapter on providing discovery to the defense).

    But, as you said, blame also goes to the voters, who reelect pols who tax and spend on programs that have nothing to do with first principles of responsible governance: police, fire, fix the roads, power and water.

    In my county, funding for law enforcement — including the DA’s office — has taken a substantial hit over the last few years, a result of both a drop in tax revenues, as well as a Board of Supervisors less ideologically inclined to support cops and DAs, when there’s feel-good social programs to be funded.

    Anyhow, I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I enjoyed your post on the 10 percent of the baddest bad guys, and the realities of allocating prosecutorial resources.

    Everything you say goes for our county, too.

    Mike Lief (e9d57e)

  3. Similar stories here in semi-rural Northern California. Is it safe to assume that this is happening most everywhere?

    Old Coot (caf903)

  4. Patterico, have you ever read Guilty : The Collapse of Criminal Justice by the late Harold Rothwax?

    Mike,

    Yes, I have read it.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  5. In fact, Mike, that book is sitting on the very same shelf as yours, just 13 books down. I just checked. Funny, huh?

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  6. Key in this article is the fact that just ten years ago this guy would have been in jail for the remainder of his sentence. Conservatives reading a story like this will be outraged for a minute or so and then go to the driving range or wash the car. Until we drive left wing judges like Pregerson from the bench we will continue to reap the fruits of our apathy. A nationwide group must be formed to bring such judges to the attention of the public. They must then be defeated at the polls or, in the case of an appointed judge, impeached. If it becomes necessary for 10,000 people to surround the judges home and threaten him with tar and feathers, fine. Sure it sounds goofy. But leftist, activist judges are by far the most dangerous people in the nation when it comes to the preservation of our rights and liberties and the overall well-being of the nation. They must be placed and kept solidly in public view until they are defeated or resign.

    Doug Book (8585ea)

  7. Texas already has experience with early release. The poster boy for our folly is Kenneth Allen McDuff.

    DRJ (3c8cd6)

  8. Patterico,

    I know this is an odd time and place to ask, but do you ever miss Texas?

    DRJ (3c8cd6)

  9. Well, assuming you enjoyed Rothwax’s book, it appears I’m in good company.

    Mike Lief (e9d57e)

  10. Two possible outcomes of this:

    1. More and more often the suspects just happen to die in the process of apprehension. And, more and more often, the investigations into the deaths become perfunctory.

    2. “Victimless” crimes such as drug dealing, drug possession, and prostitution result in a warning or a citation nobody bothers to follow up on.

    In neither case would this be good for the community as a whole. But I don’t see any alternative if things continue as they have.

    Alan Kellogg (512c35)

  11. What is the point of retaining all those patrol officers if everyone they arrest is shortly freed?

    I’m pretty sure we’re going to see much more of this as the costs of pensions and burgeoning bureaucracies eat up all the money that used to go into operations. Public employee unions have far too much power and the goal of government (providing services) is increasingly forgotten.

    But I don’t blame the voters: taxes are as high as they’ve ever been, and the Supervisors are no worse than past years. What I blame are the self-serving priorities of the county establishment, where the needs of the citizens come last. If they had more money they’d waste that, too.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  12. I just commented on the woman beaten to death by a homeless man, and it occurred to me. How many of the current prisoners and the LA County Jail are there because of substance abuse and/or mental illness? Why is it we can only hold those suffering from mental illness or engaged in substance abuse long term when they are charged or convicted of a criminal offense?

    Why is long term incarceration preferred over long term hospitalization? Especially now, when we need the space to house those arrested just for criminal activity.

    Alan Kellogg (512c35)

  13. Isn’t this a perfect segue to the media disconnect over prison populations (high) and the crime rate (low)? They have this great mental barrier to understanding that when bad-guys are locked-up, they aren’t committing more crimes.

    As to costs: Does Lee Baca have the intestinal fortitude to rethink his cost structure as Joe Arpaio did? And proceed accordingly?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  14. Despite what I think is a basic agreement, I have a few nits to pick:

    1. Some controls on jail conditions by the judiciary are necessary. Since I don’t know anything about the LA jails (at least, their condition now) I’m not saying the situation there is wrong or right. But judges may need to step in, not because the sushi is stale or the internet connection is spotty, but if you’re hot-bunking inmates for three sleep shifts, you’re probably overcrowded.

    It’s unfair to imply the judiciary is out of control just because they do something to help inmates. The judge might be wrong in any individual case including this one, but that doesn’t mean all inmate-assisting rulings are wrong. It’s a line-drawing exercise.

    2. *Some* degree of early-kick does not offend my sense of justice; if you’re supposed to do 242 days of your 365-day sentence with good and work credits, and you do 237, well, I don’t get excited. If you do 60 days, the system’s broken.

    3. The solution is simple, simple, simple: BUILD MORE JAILS. I previously wrote on funding cops, prosecutors, and public defenders; if you don’t have the jail space, you’re really screwing yourself. It’s worth the money to not leave corpses laying about the city streets; family members of the victims often take a dim view of the frugality of not having jails open.

    So, in the end, I’m with our host. If we build the jails we need, we don’t have this problem.

    –JRM

    JRM (de6363)

  15. So how does that Arizona Sheriff get away with his tent city solution? I have wondered ever since I first heard about him why he hasn’t been shut down by the ACLU. I love his solution but the judges in Arizona must not be as amenable to the BS the ACLU touts as the California judiciary. California is a lost cause though. I can’t believe the voters threw out Schwarzeneggers redistricting initiative. There is no other way to change policy in California.

    Gene (189ac4)

  16. It’s unfair to imply the judiciary is out of control just because they do something to help inmates. The judge might be wrong in any individual case including this one, but that doesn’t mean all inmate-assisting rulings are wrong. It’s a line-drawing exercise.

    If you’re talking about me, please tell me what language of mine you object to.

    Sure it’s a line-drawing exercise. My point is that, in drawing the line, we need to remember what The Times reminded us of today: releasing prisoners hurts and sometimes kills people. When you understand that, it’s tougher to be so glib about how inhuman it is to force prisoners to miss their favorite soap operas, or to sleep in conditions so crowded that they are *almost* as tight as those experienced by many illegal immigrants in their own homes.

    My theory is that conditions have to be pretty damn bad before they are unconstitutional, forcing us to free prisoners after 7-36 days on a 365-day sentence, as often happens here in L.A.

    My view may not be shared by ACLU bigwigs, or by liberal federal judges who are the sons of other federal judges so liberal that they often flatly refuse to follow the law. But I’m not so sure that folks like those are too concerned with the protection of society.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  17. JRM —

    I’ve always found it risible that the courts are so offended by the idea of not having enough bunks for all the inmates.

    When I was a junior enlisted man aboard a submarine, we had to hot-rack; one guy slept in the bunk while the other was on watch, then they’d trade off.

    Little did I know that I was being subjected to unconstitutional cruel & unusual punishment while serving my nation.

    Oh, the horror.

    When the courts started mandating that prisons provide better living conditions than those “enjoyed” by members of the armed forces, I think it’s fair to characterize their conduct as “out of control,” as well as simply nuts.

    Mike Lief (e9d57e)

  18. One bullet killed Darrell Dennard, 53, a grandfather who slept in an alley behind a nearby fish market and got by doing odd jobs.

    A woman got stomped to death in Skid Row? Well, where else?

    There’s more to their stories than inadequate funding for jail space or soft judges. I don’t know that I should blame myself for paying enough taxes to live in a safe neighborhood but not enough to make Skid Row safe.

    [I believe in keeping every area safe. Also, you can’t know that the killers will stay out of your area. — P]

    nk (5e5670)

  19. I concede that I may have phrased my last sentence a bit snarkily. More politely, neither the taxpayers nor their elected representatives are solely to blame for our little Darfurs. The residents of those hellholes must take some blame too. Maybe most of the blame. Communities need their residents doing all they can to keep the killers not just out but incapacitated. [I will be the last person to argue that we are not all in this together and that the loss of one is not the loss of all.]

    nk (06f5d0)

  20. So many street people need to be medicated.

    Hell, why stop there. People at the office… on the freeway…

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  21. Does simple solitary confinement with no visitation rights – the ultimate in sensory deprivation – violate the Constitution?

    Start from there and work backwards to TV time.

    steve (c81f68)

  22. I know it couldn’t happen, but what would happen if we held judges accountable, the same as we hold auto manufacturers and power tool manufacturers accountable. If General Motors or Toyota or Black and Decker knowingly allow a dangerous product in the market, say with a one in a hundred chance of hurting someone, they become liable.

    Yet judges grant early releases and expose the public to danger when the odds are even lower. They should share some of the responsibility.

    Corky Boyd (a8cc75)

  23. That’s a good question re: judges. Maybe because they’re not a business entity/for profit.

    What happens is the child molester gets a 15-minute segment on O’Reilly with a photo of his latest victim… and O’Reilly condemns the judge and the release that caused it all.

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  24. …Proposition 66, the recent measure to gut the Three Strikes law.

    I hope you’ll eloborate on this. My impression is that reforming three-strikes will remedy some of this overcrowding (and underfunding) by keeping the non-violent and victimless-crime offenders out of jail.

    Perhaps you can give a review, or link to one that expains benefits and failings of this reform.

    TakeFive (2bf7bd)

  25. TakeFive, I’d suggest you peruse Patterico’s archives before asking him to “elaborate” on why the Prop 66 “reform” was such a horrible idea. It’s not as though he’s devoted an entire category to that subject, or anything.

    Xrlq (f52b4f)

  26. Xrlq –

    I ask for a link and you give me a whole catagory – Thanks!

    TakeFive (2bf7bd)

  27. It seems to me, and maybe I’m being naive here, that this debate comes down to what you believe the role of the prison system should be. Personally, I believe that there are certain criminals (such as the recently convicted Moussaui) who are so evil that they need to be locked away forever (or executed). A second group of criminals have committed violent acts, such as murder, rape, etc, and for the safety of society they must be locked away. I have very little sympathy for the conditions in which these two groups of prisoners are kept.

    However, a large number of inmates have been incarcerated for lesser crimes, theft, drugs, etc and they will be released after relatively short sentences. Obviously, they must be imprisoned, both as a punishment and as a deterrent to others. But, a second and, I think, equally important role is the rehabilitation of these inmates so that they may become productive members of society upon their release. For these prisoners it is important not to mistreat them. This is not to say that prison should be an enjoyable stay, but that inmates should be given every opportunity to get whatever help they need, be it drug treatment, education etc. This obviously can’t happen in massively overcrowded prisons, or in situations in which prisoners are exposed to violence. In fact these types of situations may serve only to harden criminals who might otherwise be rehabilitated.

    Anyhow, to get to the point I’m trying to make. To use the example of Mr Moreno from the LA Times article. He was scheduled to serve 1 year, for a weapons offense. It seems to me that even had he served his full sentence he was fairly determined to commit another crime. So, while Mr Dennard would likely not have been murdered, there would probably have been some other victim down the road. The only way to stop that would have been to somehow change Mr Moreno’s attitude. I don’t know if that was possible, but it seems like there was no attempt at it, in our current system. Building more jails with our current focus on punishment will only serve to place a bandaid on the problem. I think that’s what many people see, and until there are proposals that deal with the whole issue voters will be loathe to support any of the smaller fixes. But, maybe I’m just being naive and idealistic here.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  28. One point made in the article almost as a throwaway was that no distinction was made between repeat offenders and first timers. When it came to decide on early release, the five-time bad guy was no different than the first time one. That’s nuts.
    A second issue not explored is what people in for: I am not into criminal law but are people in there for wife or husband slapping?-not Ok but down the scale from armed robbery.
    Third: the article ignored the tantalizing question of why a consent order was agreed to in the first place: while courts of appeal are often out of touch (“hey! The pledge is unconstitutional!”)caving to a consent order was the totally wrong thing to do. Who caved? Why? Is there no “cut off?”
    Fourth: the idea of a judge reining in an abusive town sheriff or the penitentiary like “Shawshank” is one thing–but micromanaging the number of beds and TV time has nothing to do with “cruel and unusual” punishment: federal legislation is needed to truncate the ability of federal judges to meddle with the number of beds, meal menus, etc:
    Fifth: the article and the inability of a town in Oregon to even staff its newly built prison remind one and all that today’s idea of “public pensions” is killing us–literally: public pensions often allow 90% of benefits or better, the ability to retire at 50–50!! They are sucking up revenue that could be used to keep libraries open, police on the streets and house these miscreants. And its only going to get worse as those costs escalate. So I am exposed to an armed robber who’s out after 45 days so a state or county employee can retire at 50 and move to a state not in debt for his retirement, and not under a consent decree. Great

    Frank Drebbin (bb7b00)

  29. […] The other day I told you who is responsible for the crisis in which criminals are released from jail after serving a small fraction of their sentence. Blame the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and the voters who keep electing them: The Supervisors say they are doing the best they can with the money they have. That’s a farce, of course. They could and should allocate much more to law enforcement. But they don’t expect to pay a political price for failing to do so. Because they won’t. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Someone at the L.A. Times Who Gets It (421107)

  30. Interesting, D.D.A. Frey, that you post this article about early release and trivialize and make fun of a judge’s tour of the jails (headlining TVs and ignoring six inmates confined to a cell intended for three) but there is no comment on your site about the sting that seems to have uncovered a veteran cop lying about “drop” cases. “LAPD Officer Suspended After Sting,” LA Times, May 13,2006. How many of Officer Zamora’s cases did you prosecute? Or more important, how many times have you ignored questionable police testimony and pass off defense claims that the officers are fabricating or at least embellishing their reports and testimony, particularly about probable cause and searches?

    It will be interesting to follow the progress of the criminal prosecution of this officer, or lack thereof. And it sure would be interesting to find out how many complaints and substantiation had to occur to even motivate the sting. Wonder if any of those accusations will be included in any filings.

    nosh (d8da01)

  31. nosh,

    There is a lot of bullshit in your comment. For example:

    headlining TVs and ignoring six inmates confined to a cell intended for three

    Gee, I could have sworn I said something about the jails being overcrowded . . . Let’s look at the post again. Yup. It’s the first thing I mentioned:

    What are the problems at Men’s Central? Well, it’s overcrowded, to be sure — and that’s a valid concern, I suppose.

    So you’re wrong about me ignoring overcrowding. Your apology?

    That’s what I thought.

    there is no comment on your site about the sting that seems to have uncovered a veteran cop lying about “drop” cases

    I hadn’t seen that until you mentioned it. I’m glad you did, but you don’t have to be a jerk about the way you do it. Next time, try this:

    Hey, Patterico! Did you see about the sting that seems to have uncovered a veteran cop lying about “drop” cases? Do you have a comment on that?

    See how easy that is?

    How many of Officer Zamora’s cases did you prosecute?

    To my knowledge, none. But I don’t know for sure.

    I certainly am happy that this officer was caught. And his convictions will need to be reviewed. I worked in the habeas unit and handled many cases where defendants challenged their convictions because they were arrested by officers whose credibility had been questioned. I dismissed many such cases, and of the ones I fought, I never lost.

    So don’t come on here and attack me. Be polite, ask questions, and don’t challenge my integrity.

    In short, don’t be such an asshole next time.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  32. I have now posted about this, praising LAPD for its excellent work in busting Zamora.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  33. I appreciate your thanking me for bringing the lying officer sting to your attention. I am sorry that my frustration made me appear hostile.

    I apologize for using the wrong word. Your comment on the jails did not IGNORE the overcrowding issue, it DISMISSED it — “Well, it is overcrowded, to be sure — and that’s a valid concern, I suppose.” Which diminishes the “valid concern.” And the observation highlighted in your headline mentions TVs.

    I am very troubled by your response that while doing Habeas reviews you dismissed many cases but when you decided to fight you “never lost.” That is damning. Prosecutors are charged to do justice, not to win. But in the adversarial system where they confront defense attorneys whose obligation it is to do everything ethical to serve their clients, unfortunately winning becomes an objective. And being evaluated on conviction rates makes it worse.

    Interesting that you “never saw” the article about Zamora. Front page of the LA Times metro section, which you seem to peruse with a fine-tooth comb for anything you can discredit.

    But let me stop being an asshole —

    Patterico, do you think he’ll be charged?

    Do you think he’ll be convicted?

    Do you think he’ll serve time?

    How many complaints and what kind of proof do you think had to occur before the LAPD even considered doing an investigation or sting?

    Finally, do you think Zamora will spend even one second in cuffs and in custody if charged before he is released on bail?

    nosh (d8da01)

  34. I appreciate your thanking me for bringing the lying officer sting to your attention. I am sorry that my frustration made me appear hostile.

    I apologize for using the wrong word. Your comment on the jails did not IGNORE the overcrowding issue, it DISMISSED it — “Well, it is overcrowded, to be sure — and that’s a valid concern, I suppose.” Which diminishes the “valid concern.” And the observation highlighted in your headline mentions TVs.

    I think my opinion on this issue is clear. Inmates’s access to TV is none of a federal judge’s business, and a federal judge that comments on the matter is clearly unaware of his limited role. Overcrowding can be a constitutional issue, but recent stories on early release programs instituted to address such concerns shows that the competing concerns are, on the one hand, the need to keep criminals in jail and not killing/robbing/raping people, and, on the other hand, the need for inmates not to live in conditions that many illegal aliens find acceptable on a daily basis.

    I am very troubled by your response that while doing Habeas reviews you dismissed many cases but when you decided to fight you “never lost.” That is damning. Prosecutors are charged to do justice, not to win. But in the adversarial system where they confront defense attorneys whose obligation it is to do everything ethical to serve their clients, unfortunately winning becomes an objective. And being evaluated on conviction rates makes it worse.

    Let me elaborate. I believed I was doing justice at all times in the habeas unit. When I fought a case, I believed that the conviction was supported by evidence that was untainted by testimony from dishonest police. This is why, when I contested a habeas petition, I always prevailed in court — because I was doing justice. My cases came before Judge Fidler, who saw hundreds of similar cases, and had a good sense of which claims were valid and which weren’t. He never ruled against me.

    Interesting that you “never saw” the article about Zamora. Front page of the LA Times metro section, which you seem to peruse with a fine-tooth comb for anything you can discredit.

    Well, I missed it. Believe it or don’t believe it, as you like — but if you are going to call me a liar, I am going to call you an asshole. I have to get to work very early nowadays, and we have had visitors for the past week and a half or so (and will for the next week). Between that, working a full-time job, and caring for children, I am lucky to stay as informed as I do.

    I recently posted on the weekend about a David Savage article on Brett Kavanaugh that had appeared on Tuesday. I had missed it — even though judicial confirmation wars are one of my top topics. By your logic, I am going soft on Democrat unfairness towards qualified conservative nominees. But I’m not. I’m just not superhuman. I miss things.

    I often depend upon readers for tips. If you had tipped me to this in a polite way, I would still have written a post. I just wouldn’t have thought you were a jerk.

    But let me stop being an asshole –

    Too late. You persist. You experimented for a few lines with not being one, but it passed.

    Patterico, do you think he’ll be charged?

    Do you think he’ll be convicted?

    Do you think he’ll serve time?

    How the hell should I know?

    All I can say is: if the charges are true, he should be convicted and sent to prison. That’s my personal opinion.

    How many complaints and what kind of proof do you think had to occur before the LAPD even considered doing an investigation or sting?

    Finally, do you think Zamora will spend even one second in cuffs and in custody if charged before he is released on bail?

    There are plenty of bogus complaints against cops. And, as this case shows, there are some valid ones. Stings like this are very important for distinguishing between the two.

    As to whether Zamora will bail out if charged, again, how the hell would I know?

    All of this, like everything I say on this blog, is my personal opinion.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  35. Nosh,

    I have been personally involved in the case of a police officer, from a large city, who is now serving a life sentence. LA is not Mexico City. I have every expectation that the case will be handled by the numbers. Whether he will be charged will depend on the strength of the prima facie evidence. Whether he will be convicted will depend on the totality of the evidence. Whether he will serve time will depend on the sentencing guideliens and factors in aggravation and mitigation. Just as if it was you or me.

    nk (06f5d0)

  36. P.S. If I were his judge, and I am not, he would neither be remanded nor serve time over this. We need the jail and prison space for worse criminals. And before you jump on me, if guilty he could never be in law enforcement anywhere in America again and that’s not a small punishment for a 44-year old policeman.

    nk (06f5d0)

  37. Patrick,

    I know you can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but do you ever wish you hadn’t revealed your name?. I’m amazed how may people attack you *by name* yet do so anonymously. What freakin cowards. In a letter to the editor you have to at least put your name and your city. Here, “nosh”, “drummaster” or “zuma hans” have no problem taking personal shots while hiding behind their keyboards. Pretty juvenile. None of them, of course, have the courage to state their names.

    You are a better man than me for putting up with it. Keep up the good work.

    Jeff C (428193)

  38. Thanks, Jeff. I have a feeling that nosh is a defense lawyer, based on his past comments. But who knows for sure? He said that the prosecutor in the Wempe priest/molestation case had committed prosecutorial misconduct. Well, I know that prosecutor. He’s a good guy. And Wempe is now going to prison.

    Nosh can make his points, and we can discount them due to his failure to stand behind them. That’s all fine. I agree that people who want to be nasty and attack people have more credibility when they put their money where their mouth is and stand behind their words with their name. But it’s not necessary to comment here. Make your own judgments.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  39. I was under the impression that once incarcerated, you had lost your rights as a citizen?

    paul from fl (464e99)

  40. I was under the impression that once incarcerated, you had lost your rights as a citizen?

    The rule differs from state to state, but by and large that’s only for a felony — and in many states the restoration of civil rights occurs immediately upon the end of the sentence imposed by the court.

    As I was growing up in California, an ex-felon had to petition for a pardon or some such to get his civil rights restored. I tend to think that’s the right way to do that. And as a point of information, a close relative of mine was convicted of a felony in California, and has been a model citizen AFAIK since then, but doesn’t feel strongly enough about his right to vote to seek its restoration.

    McGehee (5664e1)

  41. Where was the public review and debate over the decision to circumvent judges, juries and prosecutors and return criminals to the streets? Why didn’t someone ask Philadelphia?

    Two weeks ago the Los Angeles Times published Releasing Inmates Early Has a Costly Human Toll. The article described LA County’s early release program and the disastrous results of putting convicted criminals back on the street prior to serving…

    Independent Sources (dd41d6)

  42. […] Remember: it’s your fault for continuing to vote these people into office. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » More on Early Release (421107)

  43. […] I told you that the County Supervisors (who are responsible for allocating enough money for law enforcement in L.A. County) are primarily to blame — and so are you voters if you keep re-electing them. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » (421107)


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