Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sheriffs, Judges, & District Attorneys attack criminal justice "reform" bill.

Several Sheriffs, judges, politicians, and Rankin-Madison District Attorney Michael Guest issued the following press release on the criminal justice reform bill. Rankin Sheriff Bryan Bailey also suggested some revisions on the bill as well.


Johnny Weir said...

The really sad part is that 99% of the general public is totally clueless about House Bill 585. Me included. Thanks JJ for exposing this public danger. In a nutshell House Bill 585 is a money saving bill which will put everyone at greater risk of the criminal element.

Anonymous said...

Many will die at the hands of violent offenders if this appalling bill continues to sail through the legislature.

Anonymous said...

This bill is being pushed by our RHINO GOP lawmakers like Speaker Gunn. When will people wake up and realize he is the weakest Speaker in state history.

someoneinnorthms said...

What we really need to do is double or triple our current sales and income tax rates and incarcerate everyone for the remainder of his life if he is convicted of any feeling criminal offense at all. That would solve the problem completely.

And, while we're at it, institute caning for misdemeanor offenses.

Anonymous said...

3:58; Please define a 'feeling criminal offense'.

Anonymous said...

Guest is on a power trip. It is not the job of law enforcement or prosecutors to see that offenders are held accountable, that is the purview of the judges. LEO and prosecutors are to enforce the laws enacted by the Legislature and signed by the governor. Civics anyone? On what does Mr Guest base his premise that he knows the public's thoughts on monetary limits to criminal offenses? Focus groups, surveys, good ole boys drinking coffee?

Johnny Weir said...

someoneinnorthms, (3:58 PM) I invite you spend a week in inner city Jackson & you will be singing a different tune.

Anonymous said...

So the change Guest et al. wants changes the felony threshold by $250 dollars? Whoooah! Yeah without that "extra" $250 lives will be at stake! More misdemeanors means municipalities will be making a killing off of the court costs etc.. Guest and his ilk stand to take a huge monetary loss due to the fact that nearly everyone convicted of property crimes valued under 10k end up in pre-trial diversion with Richard Simms which fills the DA's coffers.. Last stat I heard was somewhere to the tune of hundreds of thousands a year.. It's all about the money..

Anonymous said...

Don't steal and this will not affect you.

Anonymous said...

Note the circuit and county judges did not sign.

someoneinnorthms said...

FELONY criminal offense. I'm sorry that I did not catch the autocorrect mistake.

And, Johnny, I actually spend quite a bit of time in Jackson, despite my handle. I even spend time there AFTER DARK. And I still feel the same. Raise our taxes and incarcerate all felons for the rest of their lives. That kind of policy decision is merely the end game in this middling policy advocated by Guest and his ilk.

Anonymous said...

The author of HB 585 has stated that he doesn't want to take discretion away from judges, but HB 585 does take discretion away from a judge.  Under current law, on a 1st or 2nd conviction for many crimes (e.g. shoplifting), the judge could send the defendant to the county jail for up to 6 months.  Under HB 585, however, that discretion is taken away from the judge.  HB 585 ties the judge's hands and requires that on a 1st conviction AND on a 2nd conviction, the judge has to let the defendant try probation first assuming the defendant is smart enough to say "Yes" when the judge is required to ask the defendant "Are you willing to do probation to avoid jail?".  (Now, who would be stupid enough to tell the judge "No"?)

When this is mentioned to the author of HB 585, his response is that there is an "organized theft" provision in HB 585.  However, the "organized theft" provision in HB 585 DOES NOT change the following facts about 3rd (and 4th, 5th, 6th, etc.) convictions for shoplifting and other crimes where the value is less than $500:

Rather than a felony, they are misdemeanors with no stated penalty.  If there is no stated penalty, two rational arguments about the penalty would be:  (1) up to six months in county jail (not state penitentiary) and a fine up to $1,000 (based on general misdemeanor statute -  §99-19-31); or  (2) the same penalty for a 2nd offense under HB 585 - probation for up to one year (NO jail unless defendant violates probation).

Which penalty does the CRIMINAL prefer? Option 2.

Even if HB 585 were amended to put in a specific misdemeanor penalty, these 3rd (and 4th, 5th, 6th, etc.) crimes would still be a misdemeanor rather than a felony.  How many repeat offenses do you allow a career criminal before he/she goes to prison?

HB 585 will significantly affect businesses (and EVERYONE else when business prices increase to offset shoplifting or other theft losses) and the city courts and justice courts because now that career criminal will not go to prison and 1st and 2nd offenders won't go to jail unless they violate probation.  This should outrage all of us, but the judge's hands will be tied by HB 585.  Crime increase!

It is apparent that the true purpose of HB 585 is reduce the budget for the department of corrections (while crippling the cities and counties from a financial, public safety, and crime standpoint).

There is such a push (by some) to pass HB 585 without working out the problems that it reminds me (and others) of former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comment "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

Kill HB 585 and next session reintroduce a clean, well thought out version that does not cripple the cities and counties.

Anonymous said...

Another example of those who govern not bothering to find out why some things are the way they are before they go changing it.

The problem with suddenly acquiring power, especially when the newly empowered don't speak to those who once held power, is that institutional memory and knowledge is lost.

Anonymous said...

90% of sales are under 2 grams? So you spend all your time locking up the lowest level dealers? Yeah Prohibition!

Great job getting the big important people.

Don't question the teat that is the War on Drugs, America.

Anonymous said...

I thought there were DA's, Circuit Judges, and Sheriffs all appointed by their associations on the committee that adopted the language for this bill. So to say that all are against is not necessary true. I agree the bill is not perfect but I think it is a good start. The fact is that a judge has no idea how long a criminal will serve once he renders his verdict at sentencing. The MDOC has discretion and a 3 year sentence equates to 6 months served. The MDOC costs are ridiculously high and in my opinion something needed to be done.

Anonymous said...

I see where Sheriff Lewis signed the letter opposing the bill. Does anyone know what DA Smith's position is?

Anonymous said...

Policing for profit needs to stop. Incarcerating people in record numbers has only worked to further destabilize struggling communities.

Calling Bullshit On 12:17 said...

Please give examples (with citation) of 'incarcerating for profit'. I know it sounds trendy and meets the paradign 'you people' pretend exists and the illusions you enjoy laboring under, but ....

Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested, was looking online

H Committees amended bill, amended again on the floor. Passed house 106-7. 7 Nays were Denton, Dickson, Huddleston (30th), Perkins, Rogers (61st), Smith (27th), Stringer. Absent or those not voting were Espy, Harrison, Holland, Myers. Those who only voted Present were Banks, Clark, Evans (91st), Evans (70th), Oberhousen.

Motion to reconsider, amended again, house floor vote passed 114-4. Nays were Dickson, Huddleston (30th), Rogers (14th), Stringer. Absent or those not voting were Hines, Holland. Those who only voted Present were Banks, Young.

Senate committee amended bill, sent to the floor. Passed senate 49-3. Nays were Browning, Harkins, Kirby.

House doesn’t agree with Senate amendments, invited conference. Conferees were Gipson, Dixon, Taylor (house) and Jackson (32nd), Wiggins, Tindell (Senate). Conference report filed here

Its over 200 pages long.

Anonymous said...

We have a winna! 6:32 takes home the prize.

Anonymous said...

Lock 'em up and throw away the key has been tried. It doesn't work. First offenders of drug and non-dangerous crimes deserve a second chance. Tax money spent on job training and mental health treatment is better spent than money spent incarcerating people for years.

Anonymous said...

Lock 'em up and throw away the key has been tried. It doesn't work. First offenders of drug and non-dangerous crimes deserve a second chance. Tax money spent on job training and mental health treatment is better spent than money spent incarcerating people for years.

Anonymous said...

OK, lets see if I got this -- Rankin County is against the bill (except for almost all of their legislative delegation), and the sheriff in Madison and Hinds.

But, the State Sheriff's Assn (consisting of 79 other sheriffs) and the State Prosecuting Assn (consisting of 81 other DA's) worked to put together this bill.

Anybody that can say with a straight face that changing the felony threshold by $250 is going to make a major difference. While I am an admirer of Guest, he has to realize this bill is to cover the entire state, not just Rankin and Madison Counties.

And to the idiot at 3:25, to call Speaker Gunn a RINO loses all credibility. Obviously your TP ass disagrees with him on an issue - that's all it takes for one to be labeled a RINO by the idiots that love calling everybody they disagree with as one.

Anonymous said...

9:56, interesting comment until you got to the end. Now it just sounds like it came from the republican party.

Anonymous said...

I agree with DA Guest & the Sheriffs that these are violent and should be punished by jailtime on the state dime:

Gratification of Lust - 97-5-23
Assault on a Policeman
Offense Domestic Violence - 97-3-7(3)(b)
Felony Child Abuse 97-3-73
Robbery 97-3-73

Anonymous said...

I guess the good DA is hiring more assistant district attorneys and not proofreaders.

Note that the letter is addressed to Tater and says "Dear Governor Bryant."


Anonymous said...

To 9:56 pm,

You said "Rankin County is against the bill (except for almost all of their legislative delegation)".  All of the Rankin legislative delegation opposed the bill, except Andy Gipson who "represents" a small part of Rankin County.  No surprise what Andy did since he has no problem lying to achieve his desired result.  I respect someone zealously representing a position, but zealous should NOT include lying. Zero credibility for Andy.

You also said, "Anybody that can say with a straight face that changing the felony threshold by $250 is going to make a major difference."  You obviously didn't read all the concerns or listen to Mark Baker's opposition speech. (And NO, this is not Mark Baker writing).

Anonymous said...

This bill decriminalizes theft. What no one is mentioning is the fact that value of property crimes is determined by fair market value the time of the theft.

Example, you save your money and purchase a nice $2500 barbecue smoker. You use this smoker and cover it after each use for 2 years. There is nothing wrong with the smoker but someone steals the smoker that you spent $2500 to purchase.

The thief will now receive a misdemeanor with NO JAIL TIME because the court must make a finding (too bad there is no record in municipal court or justice court) that there is no other means to keep the public safe other than to put you in jail.

Go check the kbb or nada value of your 4 wheeler, your kids dirt bike. The spec value of the gold in your home. Mississippi just legalized theft.

Anonymous said...

Also there were four members of the MPA on the "blue ribbon committee" they were basically outvoted by Epps. The Mississippi Prosecutors Association never voted to accept this bill. Anyone that says otherwise is lying.

The sole MPA vote went on the books against this bill. Most judges are not going to be happy either when they realize all they can do to someone on probation is to revoke them for a maximum of 90 days to a revocation center.

Anonymous said...

Conf reports were adopted.

Bill is being held by a motion to reconsider. Both senate and house entered motions.

Bill will either be called up on the house and the senate and get to the gov where he will sign or veto it OR house and senate will let bill die on the motion.

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