The Lethal and Racist Dishonesty of the Defense Bar

In the post immediately preceding this one, Amber Westbrook wrote of “Another Violent Felon Released from Prison Early to Commit More Crimes.”  The piece I bring you now is in the same vein but much worse.  It’s from the pro-criminal justice “reform” Washington Post.  Its title is, “Released early after a murder conviction, D.C. man is charged in new homicide.”  It’s yet another story of dishonest lawyers, both white, one an advocate and one a judge, who worked hand-in-hand to secure the early release of a violent thug in the prime of his criminal life.  The released convict, Darrell Moore, went on to commit another murder a scant nine months later, by shooting his victim six times in the chest.  The evidence suggests that the victim was black, as Moore’s first victim was.

What we have here is the nauseating combination of the poisons that have been taking over our criminal justice system  —  strutting elitist attitudes and shameless lying masquerading as compassion.  But it’s not compassion.  It’s the opposite.  It starts with self-congratulatory virtue-signalling by elite-type lawyers (the great majority of whom are, as in this case, white).  The next step is pro bono representation of a violent hooligan to obtain early release, thus to shortcut his supposed accountability for an earlier brutal crime.  It proceeds by patently false representations about his New Life and Now Peaceable Character.  The final chapter is another black man in the morgue.  The white lawyers who made it all possible have  —  you guessed it  —  no comment.

Here’s how the WaPo story begins:

Darrell Moore was 16 when he and a gang of young robbers barged into a Northeast Washington apartment in 1994 and terrorized a group of women and children, fatally shooting a teenage girl as she knelt in prayer…

Although Moore was not carrying a gun in that predawn attack, he severed a phone line with a knife, slashed open sofa cushions in an apparent search for drug money and suggested to his companions that they “cut these [females] up,” authorities said. His involvement in the home invasion made him legally culpable for the gunfire.

Prosecuted as an adult, Moore was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in 1995 and sentenced to 66 years to life in prison.

Here’s where a gruesome but avoidable second murder starts to take shape.  Remember to thank “criminal justice reform.”

If not for a D.C. law that allows for the early release of offenders who committed their crimes when they were young, he would not have been eligible for parole until 2053, around the time of his 75th birthday.

Instead, he was freed last summer after 26 years behind bars.

And now, at 43, he is charged with murder — again.

In an affidavit made public Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court, a homicide detective said Moore fatally shot a 37-year-old man during an argument the afternoon of April 3 in the 300 block of 18th Street NE, not far from where the 1994 home invasion took place. He was arrested this week and pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Superior Court.

After reviewing the affidavit, which lays out the police investigation of the April 3 shooting, Magistrate Judge Shelly A. Mulkey called the evidence against Moore “extremely heavy.” And after listening to a prosecutor’s synopsis of the 1994 mayhem, she ordered Moore held in jail pending prosecution, saying, “I find that there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant poses a danger to the community.”

Hey, nothing like figuring it out, even if a bit late for the most recent victim.

The killing of Julius Hayes, who was shot six times, occurred nine months after another Superior Court judge, Robert D. Okun, granted Moore’s request for early release.

The “horrific” home invasion had “caused lasting damage to the victims and their families,” Okun wrote in his July ruling after hearing testimony from survivors of the crime. However, based on records of Moore’s good behavior in prison and a lawyer’s account of Moore’s traumatic childhood and adolescence, Okun said Moore “has significantly changed” as an adult after a quarter-century of incarceration.

“More specifically, the Court finds that Defendant does not currently pose a danger to the safety of any person or the community,” Okun said in ordering his release.

Let’s stop right there.  Note that Okun did not say that he “believed” or “predicted” that Moore does not “pose a danger to the safety of any person or the community.”  He stated it as a fact, indeed as a finding, although he could not possibly have known it and it was, of course, flagrantly false.

Judge Okun, incidentally, is a graduate of Harvard Law School and an Obama appointee to the bench.  He plays with people’s lives because he thinks, almost certainly correctly, that (1) there will be no cost to him when he gets it wrong, and (2) his own life will continue on its own comfortable and well-heeled way.

Moore was a beneficiary of the District’s Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act, known as the IRAA, passed by the D.C. Council in 2016 and signed by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D). The law initially allowed judges to release inmates whose crimes occurred before they were 18 and who have served a minimum of 20 years. The age cutoff has since been increased to 24 by the council and mayor and the amount of time behind bars reduced to 15 years.

Let’s stop again there.  This sort of law is at the heart of “reform.”  The problem, under reform theory, is not crime; it’s incarceration.  The incontestable fact that we’re certain to have more crime when criminals are released early is irrelevant, as is the fact that the victims of that recidivist crime  —  especially when it’s violent  —  are disproportionately black.

This is from the people, mind you, who never tire of telling us how much they believe that black lives matter.

Apparently an appreciation for irony has been another casualty of the defense bar’s willy-nilly arrogance and deceit.

“I say that law is terrible,” said Nancy Slaughter Jr., who was a child hiding under blankets during the 1994 shooting. Her brother also hid as her sister was killed and her mother and aunt were shot and wounded.

At court hearings on the [IRAA] release requests, prosecutors have objected in every instance, arguing that reducing the sentences of convicted violent criminals causes victims and their families to lose faith in the punishments imposed by judges. Advocates for the IRAA say the law offers hope to young people who mature in prison, inspiring them to become active participants in their own rehabilitation.

Well, “their own rehabilitation” or their next murder, look, whatever.  Anyone voicing a degree of skepticism is just one of those Puritanical Reagan/Bush/Jeff Sessions types.

The law requires a judge to consider a long list of factors in ruling on an early release, including the defendant’s age when the crime occurred; family background, personal character and mental health; rehabilitative progress; and how victims and prosecutors feel about the release request.

In Moore’s case, Okun ruled that all but a few of the factors weighed in Moore’s favor, such as the psychic trauma he suffered as a youth, that he “has taken responsibility for his actions” and that he did not have a gun during the home invasion.

Well that’s cool!  He didn’t have a gun!!  He only had a knife, which he used to terrorize his defenseless victims.  But still, in this other-worldly way of “reform” thinking, you get a star on your sentencing chart because it was a mere knife (the first time).

Honestly, you cannot make this up.

Prosecutors who opposed the release wrote in a court filing that the “cold and callous nature of this crime reflects the defendant’s depravity.” They said that “the government isn’t opposed to second chances, just the premature release of violent offenders who have yet to establish their maturity and rehabilitation.”

Kristin G. Koehler, the lawyer who helped Darrell Moore gain his freedom, did not respond to an interview request.

Imagine that.  Defense counsel has no comment.  This is from the defense bar that’s constantly yelling at you about how callous you are and how caring they are.

Police said in 1994 Moore and several companions broke into the apartment across the hall from where they had been smoking marijuana mixed with PCP, a powerful hallucinogen known to induce violent behavior. They planned to rob a reputed marijuana dealer who lived there, but he was not home when they barged in.

In the apartment were young Denise, her mother and aunt, and two small children who cowered under blankets as the gang terrorized the others, police said. Slaughter and her brother were those children.

At one point, authorities said, the assailants held Denise and the women on a floor at gunpoint and talked about how they would kill them. Denise rose to her knees and prayed, saying she was ready to die, and asked God to spare the children. Denise’s mother then tapped a shoe of one the attackers, saying, “Please, if you believe in God, don’t hurt my babies.”

Each of the three was then shot in the head. The women eventually recovered but Denise died instantly, police said.

Prosecutors argued Moore did not meet the criteria for early release, noting that he had not earned a high school equivalency diploma behind bars, had not completed vocational training and had no housing or job lined up. They said his “reentry into society will increase his likelihood of re-offending.”

Those prosecutors are just such a bunch of stuffed shirts.  We need second chances, dontcha know.

Moore’s attorney, Koehler, filed a voluminous document describing her client’s troubled upbringing with alcoholic parents and a learning disability that left him, at 15, with the functional intelligence of a 7-year-old. She said those problems had made him susceptible to peer pressure, leading to his participation in the home invasion.

Moore “has spent time on personal reflection” and “expresses remorse for his participation in the crime,” Koehler wrote. She said he “wishes he had the strength and willpower as a young child to stop the terrible chain of events.”

Question:  Do you think Moore actually spent time in “personal reflection” about his brutal home invasion?  What’s the evidence for that?  Do you think he felt anything identifiable as authentic remorse?  And what’s is the evidence for that?   Do you think there was merely a dropped-out-of-the-sky “chain of events” to which he was a mere helpless spectator?

This is the kind of casual lying and defense-speak tripe upon which, courtesy of criminal justice reform, we are now going to gamble future victims’ lives.  Most of the lives we’ll throw away will be black lives.  And don’t kid yourself:  To the “reform” crowd, those lives don’t matter and never did.  It’s not like we don’t know that incarceration and sober sentencing save lives.  We have more than 50 years of data to prove it.  It’s not that they don’t know.  They don’t care.

The data don’t matter.  The black lives don’t matter.  The rest of the lives don’t matter, either.  What matters is the ideology of the New York Times, Mother Jones,  the faculty lounge, and the legions of others on the Hard Left.

It’s late in the day for the rest of us to start fighting back.  But because black lives do matter, just as all lives matter, we have no choice.