Patterico's Pontifications


Sure, Save Money by Excusing Parole Violations. Just Understand That Some People Will Die as a Result.

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

As the state plans to save money by excusing parole violations, a parolee has been arraigned for murder in a case that might have been prevented if his parole had been violated. The L.A. Times reports:

A transient accused of abducting and killing teenager Lily Burk was charged Tuesday with murder, kidnapping and robbery — charges that could make him subject to the death penalty.

A hulking, handcuffed Charles Samuel, 50, was led into Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon.

. . . .

Burk, 17, never returned to her family’s Los Feliz home Friday after running an errand for her mother at Southwestern Law School in the city’s Mid-Wilshire area.

In the afternoon, she made two odd calls to her parents asking how to use a credit card to withdraw cash at an ATM. About 7 p.m., they contacted police to report her missing.

Later that night, police tracked Burk’s cellphone and ATM activity to the skid row and Little Tokyo areas, but a search into the early hours of Saturday morning turned up nothing.

At dawn, however, Burk’s lifeless body was discovered in the passenger seat of her Volvo in a downtown parking lot. Her head had been beaten and her neck slashed.

Lily Burk

Suspect Samuel was apparently arrested on April 23 for a parole violation, but was not returned to prison. The precise extent of his record has not been made clear; we know he was convicted of home invasion robbery in 1987 and has since been back to prison many times.

This comes at a time when the state is considering saving money by not returning parolees to prison for many parole violations:

An expert panel convened by California officials said the state could save more than $800 million a year by not sending parolees back to jail for technical violations and making it easier for convicts to complete classes for early-release credit.

What could go wrong?

68 Responses to “Sure, Save Money by Excusing Parole Violations. Just Understand That Some People Will Die as a Result.”

  1. But the miscreant was ‘homeless’ and in too many parts of America today that made him a ‘living saint.’ It is society’s sin that he don’t have a grand place to live. Where I live Denver, Colorado the social service toads would have hooked him up with an apartment and his own computer and email account so he could stay in touch.

    This would have been done of course by people who live in lilly white gated communities all of whom likely had/have financial ties to the agencies who run this crud population. Nice work if ya can get it.

    David Brown (b23017)

  2. Susan Estrich has an interesting column on this. She can certainly identify with the victim and her family since she has daughters of roughly the same age. She writes of some her “formerly liberal” friends, and of her ongoing liberal friends who are struggling to make sense of this.

    Of course the old definitive of a conservative as a “liberal who has been mugged” comes to mind.

    But there’s no joy in this sad case for anybody.

    Mike Myers (674050)

  3. Is it the money (or lack thereof) that is driving this, or the philosophical resistance of the parole establishment to put violators back in prison? It isn’t as if they were put back in prison back in the days when California’s finances were in better shape, is it?

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  4. I say form a new panel that will decide how to save $800 million a year on prison expenses without releasing anyone.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  5. In California, It seems that the Democrats want to put law abiding people in prison through their hate crime nonsense, criminalizing disagreement with the big statist, socialist mentality of the Democrat party, and their hate for people who don’t need government running their entire lives.

    Now, Criminals are just misunderstood saints who haven’t been given enough by government because the law abiding are too selfish and stingy.

    PCD (02f8c1)

    1. Money tight? How expensive is a single bullet?
    2. At what point will a civilized society decide it can’t have savages occupying the same space as civilized people?

    @ #2: can you provide the link to the Estrich article?

    Jack (a9896a)

  7. Perhaps some money could be saved if Ca. resumed executing it’s death row inmates…

    But instead, y’all are going to let criminals back out on the street, so most can step up another rung on the career crime ladder…

    And innocents will suffer; Because of the Fairness!

    By which I mean that years of budgetary excess to support an entire subset of society living off the state…

    And now, to quote a famous clergyman, “The chickens have come home…To Rooost!

    Bob (99fc1b)

  8. This the kind of blackmail that the politicians are engaged in. Forced to cut spending, they cut essential services first as blackmail.

    Given their voting habits, California is getting the government that they deserve.

    SPQR (5811e9)

  9. $800 million. At roughly $40,000 per inmate per year, that’s 20,000 criminals.

    Yeah, nothing could possibly be bad about that.

    Steverino (69d941)

  10. I wonder why LAT removed the picture of the suspect?

    phil fah (a0cbc4)

  11. Good question, phil. It suggests to me that the LA Times supports the new policy–since attractive young white women are at the very top of the public’s “do not murder” list, the picture will increase the outrage.

    tim maguire (5d1060)

  12. As a parent, my heart aches for for the loss and grief Lily’s parents must feel.

    And as a parent, I’m angered that their irresponsible upbringing of this child may have bred in her a naïveté that got her killed. I read Lily volunteered at a homeless shelter handing out condoms, lubricants, needles and other “safety supplies”. Mom did pro bono work fighting evictions and other “quality of life” issues for skid row denizens.

    This poor, foolish, misled girl probably believed this transient just need a little help and understanding, and wouldn’t harm her if she was kind and supportive. I suspect she still believed that when she calmly called her mom and dad seeking money.

    Parents – tell your children there are BAD people in the world that no amount of kindness will reform. If you or your kids want to help, offer to call someone – from a safe distance.

    TakeFive (7c6fd5)

  13. How much did it cost to run Manzanar?

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  14. Here’s a link to the Susan Estrich piece.

    Old Coot (83c1d1)

  15. It suggests to me that the LA Times supports the new policy–since attractive young white women are at the very top of the public’s “do not murder” list, the picture will increase the outrage.

    Is that not what we need- to increase the outrage?

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  16. A few extra murders are a small price to pay for lower taxes, right?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (0e82fc)

  17. To bad we can’t abort criminals before they are born.

    Thank the Passer (810241)

  18. Why is everyone so upset? I mean, it’s not this was a hate crime. Those are REALLY bad.

    Bubba Maximus (456175)

  19. I live across the country from California, so I have little personal stake in how California spends its tax revenue (except for several relatives in the L.A. area). But it seems pretty obvious that the number one reason state government exists is to protect its citizens. And any state should first — first, before anything else — provide what is necessary to imprison dangerous felons. Only after the state has adequately funded the prison system should it fund any other services or engage in frivolity, like paying the salaries of the governor and state legislators. The prisons shouldn’t be the first place to look for spending cuts; they should be the last.

    Attila (Pillage Idiot) (ea8503)

  20. Could it be required that every extra person so paroled spend the first month in a half-way house? Since the legislators who vote for it have declared them not to be dangerous, I propose each legislator who voted to approve be required to host them in their spare bedrooms, dens, and living rooms.

    I suspect it would lead to special elections.

    jim2 (6482d8)

  21. #

    A few extra murders are a small price to pay for lower taxes, right?

    Comment by Andrew J. Lazarus — 7/29/2009 @ 9:14 am

    Right, you mendacious ass, that’s the only choice.

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  22. I’m not sure I buy this argument. The price people are willing to pay for insurance is generally under $8 million per person (if there is a 1 in a million chance of dying, people are not willing to pay more than $8 to avoid it). If we’re saving $800 million per year and only a few (less than 100) people die per year because of that, we’re probably coming out ahead. To those who say that calculation is heartless, let’s remember that we’re not liberals — we don’t think we can will money into existence and we know life is full of hard choices. If we say that it is a moral imperative to spend $800 million to save a couple lives, then we can’t object to massive government spending on healthcare, etc because *that* will save many lives as well — just not at an acceptable price.

    Ben (7d5ee1)

  23. Note in the story the suspect is identified as a “transient”. In news stories whenever a homeless person should be identified with or pitied the news writer will use the term “homeless”. However, whenever a homeless person stands accused of a crime, they are never called homeless. In that circumstance they are a “transient”. It’s just another way to maintain the simplistic narrative that homeless are largely blameless.

    bonhomme (8b73ba)

  24. Isn’t this it sort of Monday morning quarterbacking, Patterico? I mean, it’s true that if he’d been sent back to prison for possessing a crackpipe, he wouldn’t committed a murder, but who could know the guy was more dangerous than the average crack addict at that point?

    It’s not as if the parole officer overlooked said “Bah, it’s just a bloody knife, I don’t think this guy’s a threat.”

    So I have no idea what it means without more stats.

    David (e0b8ba)

  25. Is there a link between the recent contretemps in Cambridge, Mass? Of course.

    Gates little outburst was simply a continuation in real life, agitprop if you will, of one side of his whole career. That side, making “privileged” white kids feel guilty that their folks work hard, help them into good schools, that their ancestors built a country were blacks have it far better than they have ever had it in any country, any time. People like Lily Burk’s parents — Lily Burk herself — are quite susceptible to this message.

    The problem is, this constant guilt mongering has its effect until people ignore reality. They ignore the crime stats that tell you that blacks commit a lot of violent crime, way out of proportion to their numbers. And, contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming amount of interracial crime is black perp, white victim.

    Instead, the good-thinkers want to be non-judgmental. Their natural instincts and their ability to think straight about race and crime comes up against their not wanting to be ‘racist’ and profile in case they fall afoul of “Skip” or one of his sub-minions, they fail to see danger in a large homeless blackman coming towards them. They want to help, they want to reach out.

    They get killed.

    hortense (aka horace) (411ef0)

  26. Oh, the other side of Henry “Skip” Louis Gates Jr Ph.D? He is one helluva scholar whose made real contributions to the understanding of his people’s history.

    hortense (aka horace) (411ef0)

  27. I’m sorry to say it but this is just another signpost on the road for California to the third world where the rich live in secure gated communities and rarely venture out. From reading WEB Griffin’s recent novels, it sounds like Argentina has arrived. Next come LA then the suburbs. So far we have been pretty safe behind the Orange Curtain but I worry when my kids go to LA.

    It’s pitiful that these parents taught this kid such unsafe behavior. My girls all learned to shoot by the time they were 12.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  28. Perhaps we, as a society, need to rethink what is, and is not, worth locking people up for, and what kind of conditions in prisons we are willing to allow. Cost/benefit analysis and all that.

    One thing is clear, though: We have so many people locked up we are unable to lock up all those we wish to lock up. County jail time is discounted 10-1 or worse. Felons are paroled to save money. It has become something of a joke.

    This will take some thought and I doubt it will get it. So, lurch on to the next crisis.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  29. I was a parole officer in South East Texas in the early ’80s and returned many felons for technical violations as well as new charges ranging from rape to escape from jail. This is an absolute travesty and I truly hope the family of this unfortunate young lady take the entire parole commission to task for the senseless death.

    Shame on these poor excuses for public servants.

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  30. I might also note for those bleeding hearts that returning a parolee is based on the liklihood of the parolee committing a new crime. Obviously this guy had no intention of going straight!

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  31. Henry “Skip” Louis Gates Jr Ph.D? He is one helluva scholar

    Or maybe not so great as he thinks he is. He has trouble with Shakespeare for example.

    I confess I’ve been wary of taking Henry Louis Gates at his word ever since, almost two decades back, the literary scholar compared the lyrics of the rap group 2 Live Crew to those of the Bard of Avon. “It’s like Shakespeare’s ‘My love is like a red, red rose,'” he declared, authoritatively, to a court in Fort Lauderdale.
    As it happens, “My luv’s like a red, red rose” was written by Robbie Burns, a couple of centuries after Shakespeare. Oh, well. 16th century English playwright, 18th century Scottish poet: What’s the diff?

    I don’t care if the guy doesn’t know Burns or Shakespeare but wouldn’t you think, if he was testifying as an expert, he might just check to be sure he wasn’t spouting BS ?

    Is that what a scholar does these days ?

    Mike K (2cf494)

  32. We would have the money and jail space if we deported the illegal alien criminals.

    Seems like someone mentioned this a time or two before…

    TakeFive (7c6fd5)

  33. To bad we can’t abort criminals before they are born

    Freakonomic’s author Steven Levitt says we do and have, partial explanation for the drop in the 1990s

    hortense (aka horace) (411ef0)

  34. And the site still won’t refresh under Firefox. Updates fine with Internet Exporer.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  35. Sadly, there is no room for violent criminals, see 17 Year Old Lily Burk killed due to War on Drugs

    bernie (395754)

  36. I wonder how much more room there’d be for people if we actually decriminalized/regulated a number of drug laws along with Prostituion. Why does America have a percentage of prisoners that is much higher than the thuggiest of dictatorships? It’s not because America is a thuggy dictatorship, it’s because we’re too busy throwing the book and throwing people in prison for non-violent crimes that are effectively victimless.

    (From Wikipedia, yes I know, but unless you can find countervailing numbers, I’m willing to accept these as fact.) As of year-end 2007, a record 7.2 million people were behind bars, on probation or on parole. Of the total, 2.3 million were incarcerated. More than 1 in 100 American adults were incarcerated at the start of 2008. The People’s Republic of China ranks second with 1.5 million, while having four times the population, thus having only about 18% of the US incarceration rate.

    If we didn’t have so many people behind bars, maybe there’d be room to keep the dangerous criminals behind bars for their full prison term.

    Until society changes and stops criminalizing victimless crimes, Society is going to get more people killed.

    bloodstar (c9dd5d)

  37. Perhaps they should look for a middle ground, and only apply the program to non-violent offenders, like the million or so Americans in the judicial system who got that way for simple possession of pot.

    I doubt potheads go on a lot of murder sprees, right?

    Taktix® (c97f04)

  38. bloodstar,

    part of the reason America has more criminals is that we are tremendously diverse in a way most of the world isn’t. In class, race, and religion, we’re a huge pot of differences.

    Drugs aren’t victimless, though if there was some way to protect people from them until they were old enough to make their own informed minds up about them, I wouldn’t mind too much if they weren’t imprisoned for anything short of selling drugs.

    But people selling drugs at the cocaine/meth level and worse should be charged with murder and executed.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  39. tak, if we executed cocaine and meth dealers, and only give tickets for pot possession, I’d be happy. Is that a good deal?

    Juan (bd4b30)

  40. Perhaps they could find a middle ground and simply use the program for non-violent crimes, like the million of so Americans in the justice system for simple possession.

    Potheads don’t tend to go on murder sprees, no?

    Taktix® (c97f04)

  41. Nobody is talking about the fact that jails are full of mentally ill because the state hospitals closed in the 1960s and 70s. There is one area where a lot of money could be saved and the culture improved but it would require serious thought about mental illness. For example, 31% of female prisoners are mentally ill.

    Opening a couple of state hospitals would cut the jail crowding, and even state prison crowding, by a lot. Of course, you will have to fight the
    mental illness=civil rights” crowd.

    More here.

    Of course it won’t happen because people still remember a couple of movies that depicted conditions before psychoactive drugs.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  42. Yeah, keep censoring my completely rational post!

    Taktix® (c97f04)

  43. one new source of revenue would be to charge for issuance and yearly renewal of CCW permits for law abiding citizens.

    this would also cut down on crime, and reduce the number of criminals entering or reentering the penal system.

    call it a win/win.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  44. Will someone please fix the cache, perhaps automaticly once an hour? The article says 42 comments, but it only serves up 12.

    htom (412a17)

  45. Oh, so that’s the trick. Post, and the cache will then serve up the previous comments. Error.

    htom (412a17)

  46. To those who want to decriminalize drugs, I respond this way:

    Our society, as a simple majority, has decided not to allow drugs to be legal in some instances. If those who want to live in our society would simply obey the laws, they would not be in the justice system, and there would be room in prison for those who are breaking other laws.

    This is no different than speeding: get enough speeding tickets, and do enough damage, break enough speeding laws, and you too can end up in prison. The answer: don’t speed.

    The answer to the drug problem is not to break the laws.

    I like to drive fast, but, I don’t.

    If I needed recreational drugs to live, I’d have to move to a country which allowed them, because they’re not legal here.

    reff (ee9f7a)

  47. The important thing is that California mitigates as much as possible any hit public employee union members might have to take. If a few kids have to take one for the team I don’t think you’re going to find many politicians here that have a problem with that.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  48. I don’t remember there being a vote on whether to legalize drugs or not. Unlike pot, cigarettes and liquor actually kill people, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Also, how does this nutjob make all homeless people murderers? Give the girl some credit for following the teachings of Jesus who I don’t believe in.

    Thank the Passer (810241)

  49. Parole violations should not be excused, but sentences overall should be made shorter. Mandatory minimums should be halved or eliminated altogether. For about thirty years politicians have been giving us the “tough on crime” snake oil by increasing prison sentences while not increasing prison space.

    nk who wrote The Ballad of Kathryn Johnston (57e995)

  50. Thank the passer, Marijuana may not be the killer harder drugs are, but if you consider cigarettes to be dangerous, than you have to consider pot to be as well. And that’s not counting the psychological trauma pot inflicts on many brains. Schizophrenia and many other ailments are linked.

    If you want pot legalized, the last thing you should do is pretend it’s not harmful. I would feel better about legalizing it if I thought people understood the risks and could make an informed decision. If someone wants to do that to their brain, and are an adult, I don’t really have a problem with it… but if someone thinks it’s harmless, then I have the opposite view.

    And Reff is right… we as a society don’t want these drugs to be legal. That’s proven when we vote for representatives who promise to get tough on drugs.

    NK’s point about the tough on crime promises without the full planning required is valid. I wouldn’t mind shorter prison terms + a very harsh parole system that was enforced without any exceptions + excellent mental health care in prison.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  51. “Oh, so that’s the trick. Post, and the cache will then serve up the previous comments. Error.”

    That doesn’t work all the time, which is why I don’t comment as much.

    Taktik, I doubt you’re being censored here unless you’re saying something pretty damn awful. It’s just the site’s gremlins.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  52. Yes, I’m sure the CA prisons are overflowing with first-time offenders with clean records doing time for dime bags of maryjane..

    This case is almost as big a travesty as Willie Horton was.

    Techie (482700)

  53. If we’re saving $800 million per year and only a few (less than 100) people die per year because of that, we’re probably coming out ahead.

    Yeah, there’s a big hole in your logic here: criminals on the loose do more than just murder people.

    So, you have the murders and the rapes and the armed robberies and the burglaries and the assaults & batteries. And there’s the losses to insurance companies (medical and property) over the claims, and the productivity lost due to these crimes. All of a sudden, saving that $800 million doesn’t seem worth it.

    Steverino (69d941)

  54. An $800 MM lawsuit against the state by the victim’s family will nullify that savings pretty damn fast.

    Ray (3c46ca)

  55. This is directed to the folks who want to make “certain” “drugs” legal:

    If “drugs” are legalized, drug use will increase. A certain percentage of these “drug” users will be irresponsible in their “drug” use. (What percentage … 5? 25? 50? 75? I have no idea.)

    An example of irresponsible behavior would be “getting high” on your “drug” of choice, and then getting behind the wheel of an automobile, thus putting innocent people in jeopardy.

    So, my question to the pro-“drug” people is this: how many innocent people are you willing to sacrifice so that you can “get high” legally?

    (It goes without saying that everything I just wrote applies to alcohol, which plays a role in many traffic fatalities each year. However, as we learned from Prohibition, there’s no putting THAT cat back in the bag. I just don’t see the sense in encouraging even more irresponsible behavior by legalizing various and sundry drugs.)

    Bubba Maximus (456175)

  56. Can we agree all drug users be the first to be denied health care when comparative analysis says so?????????

    Also people who engage is risky sex, like male on male anal, can also be denied. Comparative Analysis you know.

    They love railing on fat people, hypertensives and diabetics ….. just trying to see how this floats past ObamaTards.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  57. Michael Dukakis call your office.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  58. Ray, “soveriegn immunity”.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  59. Its amazing how the Left can always find a reason to excuse criminal activities and cut funding for prisons but can’t find it in their hearts to cut funding for welfare or allow a law abiding citizen to own a gun.

    Its also amusing to see the druggies arguing that drug use is harmless. We see Mexico collapsing before our eyes because of drug activity and yet the tinhat brigade tells us why bother putting drug users in prison.

    Most convicted marijuana dealers in prison were convicted with over 100 pounds in their possession. These are not first time users. The mind boggles at how one accumulates such an amount of drugs.

    To save money we ought to drop all these felons into a prison colony in say Saipan. They are responsible for living any way they wish. They would have no communication with the outside world nor be allowed off till their sentence was served.

    California might also start executing their murderers. But the Left can always excuse murderers, just so long as the PC.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  60. Crap like this murder has nothing to do with taxes or the state’s current budget mess. The revolving door of the judicial and prison system goes back a long, long time.

    As for the idiots on the left who were so bothered by the Three Strikes law several years ago because they heard guys were being sentenced under that provision after having stolen bubble gum, pizza or what-not. Well, when there are so many variations of career felons like Charles Samuel loitering around in public, the only thing people should be — or should have been — incensed about is a Three-Strikes law still not forcing enough reform on the system.

    As for “leftys” who get caught in the vise grip of a senseless murder, I bet too many of them, after shuddering and crying over the situation, will pick themselves up, move to some secure neighborhood far, far away, and at the next election still nonchalantly, if not happily, vote for clowns like Barack Obama or any of the thousands of liberals who occupy most job slots in city halls throughout America—or crime-gone-beserk Mexico, for that matter.

    Mark (411533)

  61. Taki:

    So how many convictions have you for drug selling?

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  62. Horrible crime.

    Two things bother me about the Times coverage. First, how does “a collision between two worlds” cause her death? A career criminal leaves a drug “rehab” house in LA and robs and kills someone for drug money. This rehab program being one of those unsupervised flop houses that we are supposed to welcome in our neighborhoods.

    The LA Times also still promulgates the lie that all homeless are downtrodden nice guys. I see young girls dropping dollars into their hands on the street, or talking them up and giving them food like they are part of some vibrant city scene. More will die until someone is willing to admit that it’s a lie.

    Patricia (48ec63)

  63. People will also die as a result of cutting Domestic Violence programs. Good thing the GOP stood firm on taxes and that prop 13 survived.

    imdw (1b1354)

  64. @Ray, an $800M settlement for a wrongful death lawsuit, even if it could be brought despite sovereign immunity, seems about 2 orders of magnitude too large AFAIK

    @Steverino, the point is that saving the lives of just a few people is not worth $800M. I’m sure it’s true that murders are not the only effects (as you say); I would be interested in seeing your cost/benefit study that puts the total social cost of the parolee program at more than $800M. My point is that this post seems to suggest that this truly regretful $8M cost (the death of one person) clearly justifies an $800M expense. That’s the predominant argument approach used by liberals and I think that most of us should agree that it’s wrong.

    Ben (7d5ee1)

  65. The state needs to deal with the core problem: too many state employees with too liberal benefits and pension plans.

    Fire the redundant, and cut benefits and wages on the rest. Problem solved.

    cubanbob (121ef1)

  66. #64

    Does that mean your domestic partner has to fear for his life?

    Don’t you ever tire of broadcasting such banality packed as bombast?

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  67. […] Patterico notes that Samuels was arrested on April 23rd for parole violation and had not been returned to prison which would have saved Lily’s life, also that Samuels had already committed three strikes yet he was walking the streets free to kill and rob. He also notes the deep irony that California is planning to release 40,000 Charles Samuels to rape and murder to save money. If that doesn’t make clear the immorality of the government meeting its obligations then nothing possibly could! Lakeland Rapper Goes To Prison For a Song […]

    Nation of Cowards » Blog Archive » Blacks In America = White Genocide & Lawlessness! (d89d4f)

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