Posts Tagged ‘justice system’

When criminals are brought before judges for sentencing, judges should weigh factors including the severity of the crime, public safety, losses to the victims and their family and a defendant’s efforts to change.

We have all heard news stories of repeat offenders who often go on to commit even more violent crimes:

http://www.omaha.com/news/crime/fugitive-killed-in-shootout-was-known-gang-member-with-a/article_efc37eb3-a1cd-51d9-a1e4-5bacdacd1fe4.html

http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/2016/10/11/palm-springs-cop-killer-suspect-shot-officers-assault-rifle/91895578/

http://www.kmtv.com/news/local-news/timeline-eswin-mejias-arrest-and-eventual-release

Judges Refuse To Protect Children

Cases like this happen all too often. And as disturbing as cases like these are, it has become even more common for judges to hand down probation to those convicted of child sexual abuse. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18! According to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, 3 out of 4 adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well! (Step-parents, siblings, caretakers or relatives) Sadly, only a fraction of those who are arrested and convicted of child sexual abuse are sentenced to jail. Most are only sentenced to probation!  http://www.stopsexoffenders.com/childsafety/articles/childsafetyarticles12.shtml

The silent pandemic

As of October 5, 2016 there have been 3,818 cases of people infected with the Zika virus in the United States. (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html) The CDC and WHO have both listed Zika as either an epidemic or a pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the infectious diseases branch of the National Institutes of Health, told CBS News, “You have multiple countries in South America and in the Caribbean, so by anybody’s definition that would be considered a pandemic.” And yet, at least 300,000 children are sexually abused every year! (http://www.pingchong.org/assets/files/1/files/some-facts-about-child-sexual-abuse.pdf)

So by Dr. Fauci’s own standard, childhood sexual abuse should be listed as a pandemic! And yet, childhood sexual abuse is often not even talked about!  Many depend on the Sex Offender Registry law (SOR) to keep sex offenders away from schools, playgrounds or places where children play. This is a common misperception. In most states the SOR law does not have the legal jurisdiction to prevent an offender from attending events, limiting employment, restricting an offender from entering any facilities, or refrain them from living with or socializing with children or other vulnerable persons. The SOR law can only mandate that the offender register his or her required information at the sheriff’s office within the required time. (Usually 72 hours)

I wrote to Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and 18 Nebraska senators voicing my concerns about the SOR law in Nebraska. The only response I received was a letter from Governor Ricketts telling me that he had to wait until the issue was brought up in legislature, and  conversations with senator John McCollister, who in the end, told me that there was nothing he could do. The other 17 senators failed to respond at all.

What Can We Do?

A judge must run for retention in office in the first general election that occurs more than three years after his or her appointment, and every six years thereafter. If there are more votes to retain a judge than to remove him or her, then the judge remains on the bench for an additional six years!

We can send a strong message in November by voting “NO” to retain judges.

voteWhen criminals are brought before judges for sentencing, judges should weigh factors including the severity of the crime, public safety, losses to the victims and their family and a defendant’s efforts to change. But all too often judges hand down light sentences to repeat offenders who often go on to commit even more violent crimes.

Consider the case of Marcus Wheeler-Cop Killer

Marcus Wheeler had a criminal record dating back to 2008 and on May 20, 2015 officer Kerrie Orozco was shot and killed by Wheeler who was being served a warrant by the Omaha police department’s Fugitive Task Force. Officer Orozco left behind a husband and his two children as well as their newborn baby. The woman who was an accomplice in Kerrie Orozco’s murder by purchasing the gun for Wheeler, was sentenced by an Alabama judge to only probation!

Eswin Mejia—Vehicle Homicide

Eswin Mejia was driving with a suspended license and was in the country illegally when he crashed into an SUV, killing 21-year-old Sarah Root. Mejia was street racing and driving drunk before crashing into the back of Sara’s SUV. Police say his blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit when he was street racing near 33rd and L streets. The loss has left Sarah Root’s friends and family with profound grief.

To make matters worse, Mejia was scheduled for a preliminary hearing, but never made it to court after the judge set Mejia’s bond at only $50,000! The judge revoked Mejia’s $50,000 bond when he failed to appear after a relative posted a $5,000.00 cash bond.

Cases like this happen all too often. And as disturbing as cases like these are, it has become even more common for judges to hand down probation to those convicted of sexual child abuse. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused in their own homes by family members, step-parents or caregivers!

Judges Refuse To Protect Children

In 2014, state agencies identified an estimated 1,580 children who died as a result of abuse and neglect. That’s between four and five children a day—roughly ¼ of your child’s elementary school class! Sadly, only a fraction of convicted perpetrators of physical or sexual abuse of a child are sentenced to jail. Most of those convicted of child abuse are only sentenced to probation!

What Can We Do?

A judge must run for retention in office in the first general election that occurs more than three years after his or her appointment, and every six years thereafter.  When a judge runs for retention in office, the question presented on the voters’ ballots states: “Shall Judge ___________ be retained in office?” If there are more votes to retain a judge than to remove him or her, then the judge remains on the bench for an additional six years!

We can send a strong message to these lenient judges by voting “NO” to retain judges.

 

 

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Man’s Broken Justice System

When criminals are brought before judges for sentencing, judges should weigh factors including the severity of the crime, public safety, losses to the victim and a defendant’s efforts to change—But all too often judges hand down light sentences to repeat offenders who often go on to commit even more violent crimes.

Judges need to realize the risk that they pose to the public when they give offenders light sentences and be more concerned that the guy they release back on the street will be the next one they read about in the newspaper.

One of the reasons judges give offenders light sentences is because many states are under court orders to reduce its overcrowded prison population, which has led more criminals to be sentenced to probation or be held in local jails—which has also resulted in county jails being filled with a more serious class of criminals.

Consider the case of Jaquinn Ramone Bell.

Bell had already amassed more than a half-dozen warrants for probation violations by the time he pleaded guilty to DUI and hit-and-run charges in August 2014. And yet a judge sentenced him yet again to probation and 10 days in jail.

Two months later, Bell was back behind the wheel, accused of killing three 13-year-old girls in a hit-and-run accident in Santa Ana on Halloween night.

The victims’ family members were outraged.

Marcus Wheeler-Cop Killer

On Wednesday, May 20th Kerrie Orozco, 29, was shot and killed while trying to apprehend 26-year-old Marcus D. Wheeler, who was being served a warrant by the police department’s Fugitive Task Force at 1 p.m. Wheeler was also killed at the scene.

Officer Orozco leaves behind a husband, an 8-year-old stepdaughter and a 6 year old stepson. She was also the mother of a newborn baby who arrived premature on February 17th and was released from the hospital one day after Orozco was shot and killed.

In 2013, Wheeler was charged as an accessory in a June 2007 slaying. Wheeler was also accused of shooting at an inhabited home in March 2013, attempting to cause serious bodily injury to Ashley Bordeaux. Charges in both cases were dismissed.

Then in 2008, Wheeler was sentenced to five years in federal prison for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Wheeler got out on supervised release, but that was revoked in 2013. He returned to prison and was released in February 2014.

As disturbing as these cases are, it has become even more common for judges to hand down probation to those convicted of sexual child abuse.

In February 2015, Casey Cline was convicted of sexual assault of a child in Sarpy County, Ne. (A third degree Felony)  Even though a great many pages of documents were submitted to Sarpy County Judge Zastera proving that Cline had been physically and emotionally abusive for more than 10 years before he was arrested, the judge allowed Cline to plead guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor sexual assault and only sentenced him to two years probation and register as a sex offender.

Ten days after Cline was released on probation he was arrested again in Plattsmouth, Ne. on charges of child abuse—after throwing his daughter across a room and into a wall. The children were removed from the home and placed in foster care.

At Cline’s hearing on the child abuse charges Judge John Steinheider of Plattsmouth released Cline on a signature bond and also allowed him to have contact with his children! At his sentencing June 11th, Cline’s pre-sentencing report (PSR) stated that Cline was also charged with child abuse in two different states. In spite of the fact that the PSR revealed that Cline has a 15 year history of abuse, his public defender still recommended that Cline be given probation again and have contact with his children claiming that the children were in no danger!

Fortunately, this time the judge did not agree with the public defender and sentenced Cline to 180 days in the Cass County jail.

Cline is still awaiting sentencing on probation violations in Sarpy County—for being in possession of weapons, drug paraphernalia and pornographic material, and use of alcohol and K-2 Synthetic Marijuana while on probation.

Many communities wonder why individuals with such long histories of law breaking have not received longer and stiffer sentences. One of the reasons given is that sentencing offenders to probation or holding them in local jails is less expensive than sending them to the over-crowded state prisons. But this shift called “realignment” isn’t really saving much money—And public safety is put at risk as a result.

Biblical Criminal Justice

Imprisonment is littered throughout Scripture. As a young man, Joseph was thrown into prison in Egypt. (Gen. 39:20) Samson, after having his eyes put out, was made to work in a grinding mill prison house of the Philistines, (Jdg. 16:21) and Jeremiah spent many of his days in the “court of the prison”. (Jer. 32:2)

Also, throughout the New Testament, men such as Paul, James, John the Baptist, and Peter were incarcerated.

Prisons, however, are not God’s way of dealing with crime. The above examples all occurred in nations not governed by God.

When Israel was led out of Egypt, God gave the nation a civil code of laws that would cause the Gentiles to view Israel as a “great nation” that was both “wise and understanding”. (Deut. 4:6)  God included no provision for prisons. Instead, there were swift and sure punishments for each broken law.

In contrast to America’s current prison system, a broken law generally resulted in a predetermined punishment—with no gray areas. Once a man was sentenced, the punishment was quickly and publicly carried out—often with citizens helping to execute sentences.

In the 21st century, however, what and how long a sentence should be are often determined by how good the defendant’s lawyer is. (And the defendant’s ability to pay the higher cost) For the same offense, one man may receive years in prison, while another only a few months—or even none at all!

United States prisons cannot produce real rehabilitation or change in inmates because modern prison systems are not based upon God’s Law, but rather the ideas of man. Because of this, prisons cannot get to the core problem of crime—human nature!

Establishing a New System

The Bible reveals that all of mankind’s systems of government will one day be wiped away. This will happen at the return of Jesus the Messiah, which is detailed throughout God’s Word.  “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Dan. 2:44)

Unlike our current government system, the kingdom of God will not be “left to another people”— it will not be based upon the ideas of man. This government—the kingdom of God—will be built upon God’s Law, which will be administered perfectly. This newly established kingdom will solve mankind’s most persistent problems, which stem from its flawed systems and governments.

That is our great hope—when the Earth will one day be free from man’s broken system of justice and be replaced with a system ruled by God’s Law.