Author: Michael Rushford

Public Order is Gone in California

A Canadian woman visiting Los Angeles got a first hand look at the everyday violence happening in the nation’s largest “woke” city earlier this month.  Carl Samson of NextShark reports that Jennifer Chen was sitting alone waiting for a friend in her car in a parking lot near Beverly Hills at 4:25 p.m. on September 15,  when a middle aged white man walked up and slugged her in the face while saying “f***ing Asians.”   Chen chased him down and when confronted, he denied hitting her.  Parking lot video had captured the incident but under current California law the assault is misdemeanor battery, carrying little of no consequences.   Down the road a couple of miles, CBS News reports that a neighborhood in the beachside community of Venice has become home to a large homeless encampment where drug addicts, gunshots, screaming and threats of violence have become common.

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Bad Policies, Not Racism or Covid-19, Are Causing the Spike in Murder

A good example of the mainstream media narrative regarding the unprecedented surge in homicides, which started last year and has continued unabated this year, is this June article from the Washington Post which reported that racist police,  inequality and the economic and social impact of the pandemic are the root causes.   “Experts have attributed the increase to a variety of new and long-standing issues—-including entrenched inequality, soaring gun ownership, and fraying relations between police and the communities they serve—all intensified during the coronavirus pandemic and widespread uprising for racial justice.”  It’s guns and racism that’s causing all those murders folks.  Virginia lawyer Hans Bader has this piece in Liberty Unyielding debunking this claptrap.

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Gascon Punishes Deputies for Following His Policy

Two deputies district attorneys (DDAs) in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office have been punished for following a parole policy announced last December by newly elected District Attorney George Gascon.  The reason;  following his policy to allow the release of a serial rapist would have made Gascon look bad.  Shortly after his election last fall, Gascon issued a group of “Special Directives” that prosecutors in his office were required to follow.  Directive 20-14 states; “This Office’s default policy is that we will not attend parole hearings and will support in writing the grant of parole for a person who has already served their mandatory minimum period of incarceration…However, if the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) has determined in their Comprehensive Risk Assessment that a person represents a “high” risk of recidivism, the DDA may, in their letter, take a neutral position on the grant of parole.”   There are no exceptions for violent criminals, including murderers and rapists, in the written policy.

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Bloody Weekends in Chicago and NYC

The  Chicago Sun Times reports that 64  people were shot in Chicago last weekend (9/3-9/5) with 9 killed.  There were more deaths last weekend than over the three-day Labor Day weekend.  Among those shot with nine children ranging in ages from 12 to 16.  There were two mass shootings including a random attack at people leaving a birthday party Saturday night, killing a woman and injuring three others.  Hours earlier another mass shooting killed a 24-year-old man and injured three others.  According to the New York Post, New York City fared better over the weekend with only 35 shootings and no deaths so far.  In one incident two shooters fired randomly into a group of roughly 100 people listening to music outdoors at a housing project at about 12:30 am Monday morning.  Six were injured.  At least 15 people were shot in 11 incidents Friday,  13 in 9 incidents  Saturday, and 7 in 4 incidents Sunday.   Shootings in New York are up from 1,087 at this point last year, to 1,163 this year.   Weekends in these “woke” cities are more dangerous than a month in Beirut.

The Human Cost of Zero Bail

In 2020 California voters resoundingly rejected a state law eliminating cash bail for most people arrested for crimes.   Yet in Los Angeles and San Francisco thousands of arrestees are routinely released without bail.  A piece by Thomas Elias in the Napa Valley Register discusses the no-bail policy implemented by Los Angeles DA George Gascon.   Under Gascon “Offenses legally defined as nonviolent and non-serious including things like solicitation to commit murder, many felony assaults, felony domestic violence resulting in a traumatic condition, resisting a peace officer, molesting a child over 15 and sexual penetration of a mentally or developmentally disabled person” will be released without bail.  “Most Californians would consider any of these crimes both serious and violent,” notes Elias.  “Most folks would probably also believe a suspect arrested for sucker-punching an elderly Asian woman in a hate crime may have committed a serious offense.  But that suspect would be freed pending trial if deputies follow Gascon’s orders.”

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Declining to Prosecute as Crime Rises

Crime, particularly violent crime, has increased by historic levels in Los Angeles and New York City over the past two years.  As noted in many recent postings, in both cities broad daylight assaults, carjackings, robberies and murders are a routine part of daily life and often captured on video.  District Attorneys in the New York boroughs have responded by declining to prosecute thousands of criminals as reported by Bruce Golding in the New York Post.  Last year prosecutors dropped all charges for more than 6,500 suspects, an increase of just under 17% compared to 2019.  A law enforcement source told Golding that while the retirement of veteran prosecutors has contributed to the problem, District Attorneys worried about reelection in the Black Lives Matter era are simply letting suspects off.  “Throw in a bucket of woke and no one is getting prosecuted.”

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The Impact of Progressive Crime Policies

Since my college days in the 1960s when I began paying attention to such things, I noticed that whenever liberal/progressive/socialist policies had failed, the default response from proponents was always that the resources and time devoted to these policies were inadequate.  This kind of deflection remains standard practice among liberals today.  But there are a couple of places in the United States where the government’s investment in progressive criminal justice policies has been substantial and carried out for over a decade.  No state has taken progressive sentencing and police reforms further than California, beginning in 2011 with Governor Jerry Brown’s groundbreaking Public Safety Realignment bill AB109.  That bill qualified roughly 30,000 prison inmates for  early release and eliminated state prison sentences as an option for car thieves, fraudsters, and most burglars and drug dealers.

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Victims’ Groups Join Lawsuit to Block Cal. Inmate Releases

In a court filing today (August 18), two victims’ groups, Crime Victims United and Citizens Against Homicide, joined a lawsuit by district attorneys to block new regulations announced on May 1 by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) making 76,000 inmates eligible for early release.  A video of the press conference is here.  The new regulations would allow the early release of criminals convicted of both violent and non-violent crimes, including murderers and sex offenders. Inmates that prison officials determine have behaved well or participated in rehabilitation programs would be eligible for release after serving one-half of their sentences.

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Under Gascón, Defense Attorneys Serve as Prosecutors

The family of an elderly couple brutally murdered by a habitual criminal in 1996, have asked a Los Angeles County judge to remove the prosecutor in a hearing where double-murderer Samuel Zamudio is seeking to overturn his conviction.  Scott Schwebke of the East Bay Times reports that Diana Teran, the deputy Gascón assigned to the case, was a defense attorney until last April 1, when she went on loan to the DAs office and is still receiving a $218,000 salary from the Public Defender’s Office.  The attorney representing the victims’ family told the court that having a defense attorney serving as a prosecutor presents an “inherent conflict of interest.”

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The Total Breakdown of Law and Order

If you read major U.S. newspapers or watch the network news lately you have been informed that while homicides increased in some American cities over the past two years, overall crime is down.  This Associated Press story by David Klepper and Gary Fields is a typical example of this narrative.  Nationally homicides last year increased by 25% with roughly 20,000 people killed.  Preliminary data from police departments suggests that the homicide spikes were much higher in urban centers last year and will increase even more this year.  We have also been told that these increases have occurred in some places that did not defund their police, so we can’t blame the anti-police progressives or politicians like President Biden who, last year labeled police as racists.  The problem with this narrative is that it is false.  Two years of double-digit increases in murder is evidence of a serious breakdown in law enforcement.  In urban centers the homicide increases are much higher than national numbers reflect.  Murders in Los Angeles County are up by 95% over last year’s decade high.   In Chicago murders were up 22%, in Minneapolis 56% and in Portland an astounding 800% according to the AP article.  Other crimes went up as well.

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