To Progressives, Deaths Due Low Bail & Early Release Are Acceptable

In a 2007 interview regarding his push for reducing cash bail for arrestees, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm told reporters “Is there going to be an individual I divert, or I put into a treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill sombody?  You bet. Guaranteed.  It’s guaranteed to happen, but it does not invalidate the overall approach.”  Rebecca Rosenberg and Michael Ruiz of Fox News report that this statement, and Chisholm’s success at implementing what one prosecutor call “the most lenient bail in all of Wisconsin,” has come back to haunt him in the aftermath of massacre at the Waukesha Christmas parade on November 21.  The suspect, habitual violent felon Darrell Brooks, was released in Milwaukee on $1,000 bail two weeks after his November 2nd arrest for running over his ex-girlfriend.  The the woman, the mother of Brooks’ child, was hospitalized with dislocated femur and fractured right ankle.

As widely reported, six people have died as the result of Brooks driving through the parade in his SUV, including an eight-year-old boy.  62 others remain injured, many severely.  The defense attorney who represented Brooks for numerous prior offenses is refusing to represent him now and, in the face of calls for his resignation, Chisholm has launch an investigation into why Brooks was set free on low bail.  But there was nothing unusual in the low bail Brooks received.  It was local policy.  Milwaukee serial bank robber Omarion Jones was arrested on September 23 in the getaway car fleeing a credit union robbery.  Jones, an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor, and released on September 28.  His charges were later upgraded to robbery and he was rearrested in a stolen car on November 10.  He was out on $1,000 bail a week later.  The story reports on other repeat felons in Chisholm’s jurisdiction arrested on firearms and assault charges who were released on low or no bail who went on to commit additional crimes.

In Los Angeles, a habitual felon who gained early release from prison in September, has been arrested for murdering liberal black philanthropist Jacqueline Avant after breaking into her Beverly Hills estate.  Isabel Vincent, Michael Kaplan and Dana Kennedy  of the New York Post report that the murder suspect, Aariel Maynor, was caught after the murder while burglarizing another home in nearby Hollywood.  The head of the Los Angeles Police Protective League told reporters that putting Maynor back on the streets under progressive District Attorney George Gascon’s policies is par for the course.  He told reporters “Bad guys are released quicker than we can finish the paper work, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg…..With this guy’s history, with prison priors, he absolutely should still be in jail.”   According to the Post story, crime in wealthy Los Angeles neighborhoods is no longer unusual.

Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said that liberal justice reform policies spurred by groups such as Black Lives Matter and Governor Gavin Newsom have made it increasingly difficult for police to do their jobs.  “The criminals know they can do whatever they want,” said Stainbrook.  “Then multiply that by all of the prisoners released from jail because of the coronavirus and the no-bail and it’s a nightmare and very frustrating from our end of it.”

Activist groups, along with celebrities such as Brad Pitt, John Legend and Jay Z  famously supported Proposition 47, which reduced grand theft felonies to misdemeanors arguing that African Americans were unfairly targeted for years and that the new law would help save the state tens of millions in incarceration fees for petty criminals.   DA Gascon, who co-authored the initiative, said in a recent speech “Our rush to incarcerate generations of kids of color,” has torn apart “the social fabric of our communities.  The status quo hasn’t made us safe.”

The takeaways from all of this are :  1) activist groups and progressive politicians are pushing an agenda more important to them than the lives of innocent people 2) celebrities are, like children, easily fooled and 3) even the wealthy supporters of righteous-sounding progressive reforms are not truly safe from their consequences.

2 Responses

  1. Brett Miler says:

    Hi Michael
    A couple of points –
    1. Mr. Chisholm’s statement in 2007 made an accurate point – the fact is that no state could afford to incarcerate all offenders for life (I know you would say you disagree with this, but it would be the ultimate conclusion of policies that would insist on incarcerating every law breaker in the name of public safety) and some people would be better served by being put in a treatment program rather than serving years in a criminogenic prison and then come back out with the same problems that led to the incarceration in the first place plus the very negative consequences of a felony record. I believe that most people can change and policies that seek to reduce incarceration should be encouraged, not discouraged which is what I fear will happen as more and more people start to absorb the narrative that policies that encourage less incarceration make us less safe.
    2. It does not appear that Mr. Maynor was on the streets as a result of either Gascon or Newsom policies – he appeared to have served all of his most recent sentences – and the full facts should be disclosed rather than distorted to fuel a narrative that would urge more incarceration.

    I believe that most people can change their behavior and every possible recourse should be pursued that minimizes the consequences of prison/felony records/community supervision rather than encourage policies that incarcerate and waste more human potential – I also believe that people may end up in prison due to adverse social forces that may not be of their own doing, and that the full individual (social factors, trauma, poverty and so on) should be taken into account when it is time to judge individuals and that we should also acknowledge that even though most of us do manage to escape the crime cycle, some of us are not so lucky and that we should try to help people grow and change and recognize that we are basically all flawed and that we should not judge people so harshly. A “tough on crime” policy would eschew these more positive and fulfilling goals.
    Thank you for reading,
    Brett Miler

  2. Mr. Miller: The suggestion that those who support longer sentences for repeat felons equates with incarcerating all offenders for life is absurd. Your compassion for offenders should be tempered with some acknowledgement of the feelings of their victims. How much human potential was wasted when Darrell Brooks killed six people and injured 62 more. If one of the victims was your grandmother, or the dead little boy was your son, would you still agree with Chisholm’s decision to turn him loose? How many lost lives are acceptable in the pursuit of his definition of social justice. Mr. Maynor was released after serving three years of a four year sentence for his second violent crime. Prior to Jerry Brown’s sentencing reforms in 2011, he would have gotten eight years. Instead he received “good time” for refraining from attacking other inmates or guards while serving his reduced sentence. Gascon has made it clear that no offender convicted in Los Angeles County should have to serve more than 15 years. Is that the correct sentence for a habitual violent felon who commits murder during a home invasion? Would it be acceptable if the victim was your mother?

    Incarceration currently serves two purposes; it provides justice for a society which depends on the government to deal with criminals, the alternative is anarchy; and it incapacitates the criminal. In my 45 years studying different approaches to criminal justice it has been a rare occurrence to find a rehabilitation program that actually worked for some meaningful cohort of offenders. In every case. these programs were required for incarcerated offenders. The key features were a requirement to do a full day’s work, apprenticeship-style training of employable skills, required basic education in reading and math, strict enforcement of good behavior, and assistance with job placement after release. The younger the offender the more likely programs would work. I actually know people who turned their lives around in programs for high-school aged offenders in the 1960s. For decades, politicians have refused to set aside the money to pay for programs like this, often due to the opposition of labor unions. The hard fact is that many offenders will not rehabilitate and will, instead age out of serious criminal behavior, but that does not mean society should not fund such programs. Millions of Americans experience social factors such as poverty, trauma, broken families, discrimination and poor educational opportunities yet only a small percentage of them become criminals. While these so-called root causes of crime many contribute, the major inducement to criminal behavior is cultural. If you are serious about understanding what motivates criminal behavior, I suggest you take the time to read “The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America,” by Professor Barry Latzer: