Monday, May 30, 2016

A Sane Rant for a Crazy System: Part I

It should, at least in theory, be impossible to shock a police chief.

It should be impossible for anyone with over 20 years in law enforcement experience to be surprised by the insane things that happen in the world of crime and the criminal justice system.

But it’s not.

Because when you combine a runaway gun culture with a lack of judicial accountability, it seems like anything is possible.

And it must be, since our criminal justice system just keeps on breaking records for dangerous absurdity.

Every time I think, "okay, this particular piece of nonsense has got to be rock bottom", the sheer madness of our criminal justice system jumps up to surprise me once again by taking things down to an even lower low.

Every time I think “okay, surely now common decency and common sense will intervene to stop things from getting worse”, something comes along and shocks me again.

Case in point:

Back in February, we delivered to the justice system an armed criminal, 18-years old with suspected ties to gang activity – who, just for good measure, gave further evidence of his violent intentions by resisting arrest.

What decisive action did our courts take in response to this proven threat to public safety?

They sent him HOME with an ankle bracelet to await trial.

And what lesson did that leniency teach him?

Apparently, he learned the criminal justice system is only kidding when it comes to matters of crime and punishment. About a month after being released on bond, he was back in court for violating the terms of his bail. What did the courts do? They sent him home again.

What did he learn? He learned not to respect the law. He learned the judges were ineffective in holding him accountable and his contempt for the system was validated. 

He learned that because no one in the judicial phase of the justice system was really serious about stopping him, it must be okay to keep doing what he’s been doing.

And that’s just what he did...only more so. 

On May 22, the 18-year old was riding in car involved in a fatal auto accident where one individual fled the scene. 

Our suspect was arrested AGAIN, only now more heavily armed than ever before. In the car he was occupying, there were TWO STOLEN ASSAULT RIFLES and a .45 CALIBER PISTOL whose serial number he defaced.

Do you know why a criminal files the serial number off a gun? Because it is stolen, because it is being used in violent crimes and often because they plan to use that instrument as a murder weapon. That’s why.

I wonder what will our illustrious judges give him for that? Time served plus community service?  Plead him down to a fine for unlicensed metalworking? No television for a week, and this time we mean it?

Outrages like this force us to confront two hard truths about our society:

1. Guns are ridiculously easy to get. Buy, borrow or steal – they’re everywhere. Even a suspect under indictment for Unlawful Use of a Weapon who is dragging around a jailhouse ankle bracelet can build himself a lethal arsenal in no time flat.

2. Judges are accountable to virtually no one. They make the decisions and we get stuck living with the consequences. And no matter how bad those decisions turn out to be, they hold on to their jobs and their power.

To win the long battle against crime and violence in America, we probably need to see both of those facts change. But at the moment, I’d gladly settle for modest progress with either.

Because the arrangement we have right now is crazy enough that sometimes I think we couldn’t do worse if we just put a gun shop right outside the justice center and left the doors open at night.

And if that idea sounds shocking to you…well, now you know how I feel.

The presiding judge in the City of St. Louis is Bryan Hettenbach. Tell him how you feel.


P.S. Do you know what the bond is for our suspect for having a defaced firearm while awaiting trial for possession of a gun and resisting arrest? $2,500. SERIOUSLY. Thank Judge Calea Stovall-Reid.  Sarcasm intended. She wants a promotion. SERIOUSLY. 



The two stolen assault rifles and .45 caliber pistol with a defaced serial number seized from the vehicle the 18-year old criminal was occupying. 



Original arrest.



Original bond. 



Bond for most recent arrest. 


38 comments:

  1. Chief: We have both a broken law enforcement system and a broken judicial system. More needs to be done in the downtown area of St Louis. Last Saturday evening was good PR for the police department on Washington Street. We have all seen this before. In two weeks time, we expect a lack of patrol officers on the streets. This morning, an attempt to attack me was commited by a homeless person. I called 911 and gave the info to them to send out an officer. 15 minutes later I received a call back by the dispatcher asking where I was located. The dispatcher obviously failed to write down my location. Approximately 25 minutes later, two bicycle officers appeared and I relayed my information to them. I'm a retired Federal Law enforcement officer who believes STLPD does not do it's job in providing safe streets in the downtown area of St Louis.

    Respectively submitted.

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    1. Chief, my sister and I are right behind you and thank you for naming the judges who keep causing problems! You're the best thing that's happened to our St Louis Police Force in a long time. A while back, Antonio French had written something derogatory about you and I e-mailed him back and said "Have you lost your marbles?" Keep up the great job! mary anne molloy and sister

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  6. I believe you should continue to shame the ineffective judges who are making your job more difficult. Regardless, I worked downtown for over 35 years, but I won't go near there now.

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  8. Chief: Felons running around your streets illegally in possession of stolen firearms hardly amounts to a runaway gun culture. You are no different than any other part of the burocratic high archly rolling the blame down hill. Scared to do your job, that you might actually be held accountable.
    You bow to today's liberal mentality and trends, concerned only with political correctness.....out of fear.
    A true mover and shaker would embrace a legally armed citizenship, especially when your police force is out numbered by criminals and cannot effectively protect residents or visitors to St. Louis City.
    Your own officers disagree with your assessments and views. They bare the brunt of your ineffective leadership and ideals. They are as much victims as the people shot, car jacked, and murdered on your streets......under your administration.
    A legally armed CCW holder should be embraced by you the Mayor and other St. Louis City politicians.
    While I agree that CCW holders should never bring weapons to any events venue and leave them in their vehicles. You completely neglect that thieves run like rats looting and pillaging vehicles at these events and only see the problem as CCW owners bringing guns.
    Where are the security measures that prevent criminals from breaking into cars at these venues in the first place?
    A parrot on the shoulder of the Mayor is not what the St. Louis City citizens, or visitors need.
    I pray for the St. Louis City Police officers that are crippled by your administration and thrown under the bus by the very municipal government that is suppose to support and bolster them.
    While I agree with the assessment of the judicial system, it appears "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones".
    You are part of the problem!

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    1. Yeah, brilliant theory here. We've had concealed carry for *years*. Now we have open carry. Yet gun crime is far worse than it's ever been. It's at epidemic levels and you really truly believe that the answer is now guns? I generally disapprove of gun control legislation but, seriously, this isn't working. In fact, it's turning out very, very bad.

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    2. How can we believe in our chief of police and our mayor when they or crooks with badges .

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    3. These "judges" are just taking their ques from the Obama DOJ. They believe all the ills of the black community are caused by white people and the only thing that will even the score is letting these thugs terrorize the streets.

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    4. "Yet gun crime is far worse than it's ever been." What? Over the last 22 years, carry rights have boomed across the nation, along with firearm sales. Concurrently, the firearm homicide rate is down by 50%, other violent crimes with firearms are down 70%, and accidental deaths with firearms are down 58%. I don't know what the numbers for St.Louis are, but I seriously doubt "gun crime" is "far worse than it's ever been." Let's see your stats.

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  9. It's refreshing to see a post from you not blaming the victims for getting their weapons stolen.
    Your failure to police this city is the reason people take their guns with them and subsequently leave them in their vehicles.
    Also, I don't see any "Assault" weapons in your photos. Looks like an AR rifle, AR pistol, and a 1911. Words have meanings.

    Lastly, I agree with your sentiment 110%.
    It's probably the most overlooked point of your whole anti 2nd amendment stance.

    It's not just the judges, obviously the parole board that gave the baby killer from last week parole after serving 6.5 months of a 5 year bid ( should have been more as his sentences were being served concurrently) is also to blame. If he were still in prison that baby would still be alive.

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  10. It's just sad that the judges not keeping some of these criminals locked up a it's a shame that the jails are just a revolving door for them they continue to commit crimes

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  11. It's just sad that the judges not keeping some of these criminals locked up a it's a shame that the jails are just a revolving door for them they continue to commit crimes

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  12. I am sick of people blaming the cops, when it is apparent they have made prior arrests, just to have those offenders put back on the streets by judges. It is not the judges, who live in a lifestyle much above cops or people like us who have to pay for these criminals coming back on the streets. I do blame the judges and agree with this blog.

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  13. Chief...Last week you were on the news walking around Washington Avenue shaking hands. Have you ever stopped and listened to the bar that sits behind the police station at 1911 Locust ? That's where trouble starts on Saturday nights after 1am ! Why dont you go there ? I came home with my grandaughter and could hardly get down the street and someone rapping the "F" word over and over! On a loyd speaker ! What kind if bar is that ??? Engines revving up, motorcycles racing east on Washington ..I couldn't even go out or open my windows on Saturday ! Or any Saturday !! What can be done about that ???

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  14. Chief...Last week you were on the news walking around Washington Avenue shaking hands. Have you ever stopped and listened to the bar that sits behind the police station at 1911 Locust ? That's where trouble starts on Saturday nights after 1am ! Why dont you go there ? I came home with my grandaughter and could hardly get down the street and someone rapping the "F" word over and over! On a loyd speaker ! What kind if bar is that ??? Engines revving up, motorcycles racing east on Washington ..I couldn't even go out or open my windows on Saturday ! Or any Saturday !! What can be done about that ???

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  16. Don't mind the gun nuts. This stuff is out of control and the rational citizens of St. Louis support you.

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  17. Don't mind the gun nuts. This stuff is out of control and the rational citizens of St. Louis support you.

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  18. I hope the Feds come in and clean house and take a couple of high up lt.or even a chief of police to jail .St.louis is tired of bad cop

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  19. If you carry a badge you have to be able up hold the law .Not up hold your career. So many people getting hurt for what?

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  20. The Judges have to administer whatever laws on the books, Judges hands are tied behind there backs. Chief Dodson is tired of his Officers putting there life on the line everyday. But he do have a rescue line in the Federal Government. Because State Judges don't have the power of Federal Judges, which most cases the FEDS are picking up giving time after the state sentence is complete. Now criminals can start adding months with a mandatory sentence. So there's hope in the FEDs for Chief Dodson.

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  21. The Judges have to administer whatever laws on the books, Judges hands are tied behind there backs. Chief Dodson is tired of his Officers putting there life on the line everyday. But he do have a rescue line in the Federal Government. Because State Judges don't have the power of Federal Judges, which most cases the FEDS are picking up giving time after the state sentence is complete. Now criminals can start adding months with a mandatory sentence. So there's hope in the FEDs for Chief Dodson.

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  22. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for you to see your officers bust people like the kid you describe, only to watch them face no real consequences to such a serious offence. It sounds like you simply need more police, and the city that has money to throw away on the ridiculous attempt to keep the Rams can't come up with money to support law enforcement. It's a matter of priorities.

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  23. On December 28, 2015, 911 was called for the police to come to my home. My husband , who is a retired St. Louis Police Officer, slapped me hard and then pointed his revolver at my head, drew a red beam on my forehead, and then told me he was going to kill me. He said he could get away with it, because he would say I drew a gun on him first, which was not true. He said he could get away with it, because he is a retired officer. Two female police officers arrived. I told them what happened, and then they talked to my husband. He told the officers that I was crazy and had
    Alzheimer's. He told them I was out of my head with grief over my son, who died in 2013. None of this is true. He is the one on two or three psych. drugs. The two police officers told me to get some counseling and suggested nicely to him that he "might want to leave for the night". No report was made. I went to the DART unit, and they seemed sympathetic. A week or two later, I received a phone call from the female detective, and she sounded like she was accusing me of being the perpetrator, saying that my story and my husband's were totally different and that he accused me of pointing the gun at him first. I felt like I was being threatened. I had told the DART detectives that my husband had been abusing me for a long time mentally, and then he started getting physically abusive starting in July 2015, first throwing things at me and calling me filthy names. He then progressed to shoving me on my chest, whee I had just had a pacemaker inserted. He started putting his hands around my neck and telling me he was going to kill me. The, on November 12, 2015, I was a little late getting home, so his dinner was not on time. He put his hand around my neck, threatened to kill me and then started pushing me where my pacemaker is. When he stomped to the other end of the house, I quietly removed my gun from my purse, laid in my lap, and covered the 2" revolver with my purse. He could not see me. I did not tell him I had a gun in my lap, and I never drew it and pointed it at him. He raged for two hours, leaving me sitting in the kitchen, praying that I would not have to defend myself, because I did not want to harm him. On November 25th, he pulled his revolver on me, and I did not pull a gun on him. Your officers are not doing their job.

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  24. U r right about some of the judges not doing the jobs n preventing crime.But u really need to look at some of ur officers.district one specially.i wish i can be on the board to supervise them.My area does not see much crime but when something does happen some officers are not doing their jobs or trained too.i wish i can discus things with u.they do not need to be offericers.

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  25. I tried to get a hold of you but i was told you r too busy to take such calls and i had to go through chain of command.WOW.another issue maybe if police had more power to handle these juveniles like from 12 and up without having to wait for juvenile police.we cant do anything unless they what kill someone.criminals start crime when .they r young.nip it in the fn butt.

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  26. I tried to get a hold of you but i was told you r too busy to take such calls and i had to go through chain of command.WOW.another issue maybe if police had more power to handle these juveniles like from 12 and up without having to wait for juvenile police.we cant do anything unless they what kill someone.criminals start crime when .they r young.nip it in the fn butt.

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  27. U r right about some of the judges not doing the jobs n preventing crime.But u really need to look at some of ur officers.district one specially.i wish i can be on the board to supervise them.My area does not see much crime but when something does happen some officers are not doing their jobs or trained too.i wish i can discus things with u.they do not need to be offericers.

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  28. Lets talk about Jason Stockley bond being set at million dollars after he killed an unarmed black man. Never making excuse for no criminal but maybe he should start patrolling his officers and get the guns off the streets then we can probaly get somewhere. There are criminals everywhere even in the police dept.

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  29. The statute that permits ankle bracelet monitoring also requires the defendant to pay for the costs of the monitoring. A judge who releases an unemployed 18-year old couldn't have given one thought to whether he could pay for it or not. Judges need to FOLLOW THE LAW. When they don't, prosecutors need to call them on it.

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