Author: Michael Rushford

Chicago Criminals Celebrate New Progressive Mayor

On April 4, Chicago voters doubled down on woke criminal justice reform by electing Brandon Johnson as Mayor.  Out-of-control crime has been the city’s leading policy issue for several years, with most believing that former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s defeat was due to her failure to effectively address it.  Johnson’s recently-announced policies are even more anti-law enforcement than hers.  He is erasing the street gang database that has helped police identify violent offenders, calling it racist.  The Sun Times reports that instead of filling the hundreds of vacancies in the Chicago PD, Johnson is closing down police stations and wants to hire non-police “trained professionals” to respond to 911 calls.  He had vowed to address the root causes of crime (poverty, housing, education) rather than aggressively going after the criminals.  Last weekend, the criminals responded by shooting 35 people with 8 fatalities.  Two of the victims were shot when hundreds of teens took over the Millennium Park area, smashing windows and setting cars on fire.  The previous weekend 20 people were shot with three fatalities.  It looks like the open season in Chicago will continue.

Gaslighting the Public on Recividism

A story posted in the online edition of the Sacramento Bee reports that after California’s 2016 adoption of Proposition 57, “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act,” recidivism went down according to a report from state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The initiative allowed criminals convicted of so called non-violent crimes such as drug dealing, car theft, grand larceny and burglary to be released from prison early based upon their behavior while incarcerated.  The criminal’s prior convictions, even for murder or rape, were not required to be considered in the CDCR process to determine who was eligible and how much time off they would receive.  The Bee article notes that the measure was opposed by law enforcement organizations like the San Francisco Police Officers Association, Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and the California District Attorneys Association, who warned that it would allow the release of dangerous violent offenders resulting in increased crime.  But in the three years after Proposition 57 passed, the CDCR reported that the conviction and return-to-prison rates for released inmates declined.

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Expelled Tennessee Lawmaker Indicted For Assault in 2020

Justin Jones, the Tennessee legislator expelled last week for active participation in a protest (insurrection?) that shut down proceedings in the statehouse, was indicted for assaulting a motorist during a George Floyd protest in the summer of 2020.  Caroline Downey of National Review reports that Jones was caught on video blocking a street outside the state capitol and attacking the driver of a pickup with a traffic cone as he attempted to leave.  The video was shown to a Grand Jury, which indicted Jones for assault and reckless endangerment.  Jones claimed that his actions were “peaceful” and that the police and prosecutors were “pushing a false narrative portraying me as violent.”  The video clearly shows Jones’s carrying out the assault, but my favorite is the protester in the yellow shirt who does an NBA flop when the silver car he’s blocking touches him.  He would be ejected from a game for such a blatant fake.  It is terrifying to be caught in one of these road blocks and swarmed by protesters.

CA Bill Releases Death Sentenced Murderers After 20 Years

This article was published in the  April 11, issue of the California Globe.

The California Senate Public Safety Committee will hear a legislative proposal Thursday which would give the state’s worst murderers, who have been sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole (LWOP), the opportunity to have their sentences invalidated and make them eligible for parole.  SB94, introduced by Senator Dave Cortese (D-Santa Clara), specifies that criminals  convicted of murder with special circumstances before June 5, 1990 and sentenced to death or LWOP would be provided with a public defender to petition for recall and resentencing.  The bill would authorize the court to modify the petitioner’s sentence to impose a lesser sentence and apply any changes in law that reduce sentences or provide for judicial discretion, or to vacate the petitioner’s conviction and impose judgment on a lesser included offense.  Among the murderers who could apply for a sentence reduction and possible release is Tequon Cox, who in 1984, went to the wrong address for a gang-revenge killing and murdered a mother, her daughter and two of her grandchildren.  Cox was sentenced to death for these crimes.  In 2004, while on death row, Cox stabbed another condemned murderer and, along with three other murderers, cut a hole in the San Quentin fence and nearly  escaped.   UPDATE:  SB94 passed out of the committee by a vote of 4-1.  It now goes to the Appropriations Committee.

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Florida Set to Execute Two Murderers

Barring a last-minute stay, Florida will execute Louis Gaskin, dubbed the “Ninja Killer” for the murders and burglary of a Palm Coast couple.  Naomi Feinstein of the Miami New Times reports that Gaskin’s execution will be carried out on April 12.  Another Florida murderer, Darryl Barwick, is scheduled to be executed on May 4.  A unanimous Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding Gaskin’s conviction and death sentence describes the random killings five days before Christmas in 1989.  That evening Gaskin drove through a of Palm Coast neighborhood and spotted a house with a light on.  He parked and walked around the house several times.  Looking in the windows he saw Robert and Georgette Strumfels sitting in their den.   He shot Robert twice through the window.  When Georgette attempted to leave the room, he shot her, then shot her again as she crawled down a hall.  Gaskin then climbed through a window and executed both victims with shots to the head.  He left after stealing several items from the home.  UPDATE:  Gaskin was pronounced dead at 6:15 pm, Wednesday.

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LA Supervisors Drop Bid to Empty Jails

A proposal by Los Angeles Supervisors Lindsey Horvath and Hilda Solis to release thousands of convicted criminals from county jails has been tabled after pushback from the public and law enforcement according to reporter Bradford Betz of Fox News.  The board had scheduled a hearing on the proposal for Tuesday, but that hearing was cancelled.  The proposal would have required the Sheriff to release all inmates with bail amounts of $50,000 or less, and re-establish the zero bail policy implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Progressive activists have been pressuring the board to close the county’s central jail for years, citing “horrid and inhumane” conditions.  This comes as police report that a drug dealer has been arrested for gunning down four people in a Trader Joe’s parking lot last Saturday afternoon, leaving one dead.  Did the shooter get released without bail after his last arrest?   This is a good bet under District Attorney George Gascon’s criminal-coddling policies.

Transgender Rage

The March 27 killings at the Christian Covenant School in Nashville were not a random event.  Enough evidence has become available to conclude that the attack that killed three children and three school employees was carefully planned by the 28-year-old woman who identified as a man.  The shooter, Audrey Hale, was being treated by a doctor for an emotional disorder, and her parents did not know she possessed several guns.  The state of Tennessee had recently passed laws to ban drag shows for children, the sexual mutilation of children (called gender transition surgery) and biological males from competing in women’s sports.  This was probably enough to trigger Hale, who left a manifesto which has yet to be shared with the public.  It seems fairly clear that the attack was in retaliation for injustices she believed she, and others like her, suffered.  The Christian school was likely targeted because it teaches children that there are two genders, as do biologists.  The attack came one week before an April 1 rally called the “Trans Day of Vengeance” is scheduled to be held on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court according to the Daily Mail.  The violent anarchist group Antifa and the Trans Radical Activist Network have organized the rally “stop trans genocide.”

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New Progressive CA District Attorney Losing Deputies

Progressive Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price who, shortly after taking office, announced that she would require deputies to seek the shortest sentences possible for offenders, is beginning to lose her most experienced prosecutors.  Bailee Hill of Fox News reports that two of the offices most experienced deputies are quitting over concerns about Price’s radical policies.  Earlier this year Price negotiated a plea bargain to reduce the sentence of a triple-murderer Delonzo Logwood from 75-years-to-life down to 15 years.  Fortunately the judge rejected the plea deal, insisting that an Oakland jury determine his sentence.   As deputies leave the office, victim’s families are stepping up to demand that Price be replaced.  Brenda Grisham, whose teen-aged son was gunned down in 2010, told reporters she had talked with Price; “We had a couple of conversations, and so I know where she stands, and she knows where I stand, and I’m not backing down.”  Progressive billionaire George Soros help bankroll Price’s election.  Alameda County covers a large part of the East Bay including the cities of Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, and Piedmont.

San Quentin to be Converted Into Scandinavian Rehab Campus

Earlier this month Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the oldest prison in California, and the most expensive to maintain, will be transformed into a rehabilitation center.  Nigel Duara of Cal Matters reports that the Governor’s vision is to copy the rehabilitation campuses in Norway, where inmates can wear their own clothes and cook their own food while attending classes to get college degrees and licenses in trades like plumbing and truck driving.  A bill to allow similar programs in other, more modern prisons was vetoed by Newsom last year because it was too expensive.  According to the Governor, the price tag for this transformation will be $20 million.  In 2021 the state spent $1.6 billion just for maintenance of San Quentin.  This follows the Governor’s plan to close three other California prisons and his decision to allow the early release of over 70,000 violent and serious inmates, some after serving less than half of their sentences.   Two of those inmates were arrested for raping teen-aged girls in an El Cajon motel last week.

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Racial Justice in New York City

In a recent story the New York Times reported that while homicides fell in New York City last year, major crimes were up by 22% compared to 2021.  The increases included burglary up 23%, robbery up 25.8%, grand larceny up 26%, auto theft up 23% (over 23,000 more cars stolen), assault up 14% and rape up 8.4%.  The city has been hemorrhaging police officers, with NYPD currently short 1,700, but arrests have increased especially in high crime boroughs.  One explanation in the drop of homicides and shootings has been the department’s emphasis on criminals with guns, with the arrests of 4,627 last year.  John Jay Criminologist John Herman told the Times that this drop has not been felt in many of the city’s minority neighborhoods.   But even with targeted policing and more officers, until the state abandons its zero bail law and short sentences for repeat offenders, crime will continue to rise.

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