For the past few years there have been virtually no legal consequences for selling or using drugs in San Francisco. To address the thousands of addicts living and dying on the streets, city leaders have funded programs which visit the places where addicts congregate and hand out Narcan, a fentanyl antidote, and counsel addicts to shoot up with a partner to prevent an overdose. As reported by Amy Graff of SF Gate, fatal drug overdoses in San Francisco increased by 70% from 2018 to 2019, and by over 50% in 2020. Over the first quarter of 2021 fatal overdoses have increased by 39% as the city heads for another record-breaking year . Most of these deaths were caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pouring across American’s southern border and is sold on the streets in every part of the country.
Author: Michael Rushford
LA Times reporter Maura Dolan has this comprehensive piece on the California Supreme Court’s oral argument in People v. McDaniel. The question before the court is whether or not the law requires that a jury decide beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant should get the death penalty or life without parole, and the jury must also be unanimous in deciding the reasons for a capital verdict? This requirement has never been part of the law or any accepted precedent. If the court agreed, a ruling would probably throw out hundreds, if not all, previous death sentences in California. An important takeaway from yesterday’s argument was the questioning of the murderer’s lawyer by Justice Goodwin Liu, a key liberal member of the Court, who asked if it is possible “that this issue has simply been missed this entire time? For 150 years, we have missed this issue?”
Assaults on Asians became the major media’s crime de jour around the time that Joe Biden was sworn in as President. For months now, we have been treated with almost daily news stories about Asians being attacked, beaten and robbed, often with very disturbing video. The way the narrative was supposed to work was that President’s Trump’s labeling of Covid-19 as the Chinavirus led the ignorant white supremacists who voted for him to attack all Asians, because they are too stupid to single out just the Chinese. But that narrative was debunked almost immediately when government statistics indicated that most of the attacks on Asians are committed by blacks and that this has been going on for decades. It also turns out that most of the recent attacks are by habitual criminals left on the streets by bail and sentencing reforms championed by progressives and the major media.
44 elected District Attorneys filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court yesterday seeking to block the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from granting early releases to 76,000 of the state’s most dangerous criminals. In a press release, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who is leading the effort, noted that on Friday, April 30, 2021 the CDCR announced “emergency regulations” to award increased good time credits to the bulk of inmates currently in prison. On May 17, 2021 the District Attorneys sent a letter to the head of CDCR asking her to repeal the regulations and follow normal state rules for implementing a policy of this magnitude. CDCR did not respond to the letter.
With everything in bloom and temperatures in the 70s New Yorkers went out to enjoy the city last weekend and violent criminals were there to greet them. Fox News reports that thirty-one people were shot from Friday, May 21 thru Sunday, May 23, with six fatalities. One victim, a 34-year-old woman eating at a restaurant in Prospect Heights was hit in the face by a bullet fragment from an apparent gang shootout on Washington Avenue. The New York Daily News reports that a 31-year-old man walking past the restaurant with his wife was also shot during the same incident. There were fifty shootings in the city last week, a 257% increase over the same week a year ago. Over 2020 as we watched news broadcasts of cell phone video showing multiple incidents of NYPD officers being attacked while trying to make arrests or sitting in patrol cars, city leaders were busy releasing arrestees on zero bail and emptying out jails to protect criminals from Covid 19. Earlier this year, as part of a police reform package, the City Council eliminated qualified immunity for police accused of using excessive force. So-called criminal justice reform is increasing crime in New York City.
For decades, anti-sentencing advocates have blamed poverty, economic conditions, demographics, racism, and firearms for increases in crime rather than on the criminals themselves and weak policies that enable criminal behavior. After 2020, the pandemic has been added to the list. As reported in Hans Bader’s article in Liberty Unyielding, Professor John Pfaff, “America’s most famous advocate of cutting sentences for violent criminals,” suggests that one reason for the unprecedented increase in shootings in New York City was the pandemic which upended the economy. Professor Pfaff was responding to a recent article in Politico which noted that “gun violence escalates throughout the city (of New York) one year after anti-police protesters occupied the street.”
A Tennessee man convicted of murdering a young mother and her daughter is asking a state court to overturn his death sentence due to his claimed mental disability. Travis Loller of the Associated Press reports that Pervis Payne’s execution was halted by the Governor last November, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Payne filed his claim one day after the Governor signed a bill into law which prohibits the execution of “intellectually disabled” murderers. Payne had raised the same claim unsuccessfully in his 2014 appeal in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals which upheld his conviction and sentence.
During 2020, 774 mostly black people in Chicago were murdered, a 50% increase compared to 2019. Shootings were up by over 52% with 3,237 shot. Those numbers should have raised questions among voters about reelecting progressive States Attorney Kim Foxx, who, according to the Chicago Tribune, dropped charges against over 25,000 felons in 2019 and ran on the promise not to prosecute so-called low level criminals like drug dealers and thieves. But with $2 million from George Soros, as reported in the Sun Times, Foxx won reelection last November by over 180,000 votes. Apparently the voters are willing to tolerate more crime because they like her politically correct anti-police and pro Black Lives Matter messaging.
In a unanimous ruling yesterday, the California Supreme Court overturned the death sentence handed down 23 years ago for a woman convicted of killing her four young daughters and attempting to kill her 14-year-old son. The Mercury News reports that Nikolet Amber Nieves’ boyfriend had recently left her pregnant, which she aborted a week before setting fire to her home killing her four daughters and nearly killing her son by two previous marriages. The girls, ranging in age from 5 to 12, died from smoke inhalation. In a note to one of her ex-husbands she wrote, “Now you don’t have to support any of us.” A defense expert testified that he believed she had taken enough drugs to be unaware of what she was doing when she set the fire, but she did manage to call 911 to report it. The jury did not buy it.
The Black Lives Matter protests last year, characterized by the national media as “mostly peaceful” and called “critically important” by then-Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, regularly devolved into riots causing an estimated $2 billion in damages and at least 25 deaths. Joshua Rhett Miller of the New York Post reports that, at least in Minnesota, some of the rioters are receiving consequences for their crimes. On Wednesday, a federal judge sentenced 23-year-old Dylan Shakespeare Robinson to four years in prison and $12 million in restitution for helping to set fire to a Minneapolis police station during rioting on May 28, 2020. Three of his buddies, also caught by security cameras setting fire to the station, are awaiting sentencing. Robinson stupidly bragged about his involvement on Snapchat.
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