The narrative that gets all the news media attention, the story that Madison alders subscribe to, the article of faith among our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances is this: the criminal justice system is more draconian than Les Miserables.
Prosecutors and judges are eager to fill our jails and prisons with the victims of economic injustice, or so goes the meme. Especially if they be of minority race.
That it just ain’t so bothers our pollyannas not at all. Take these recent cases:
Not two blocks from the Stately Manor, authorities extracted three neglected children from a drug house. The two “parents” were charged with felonies for drug possession, misdemeanor child neglect, and resisting an officer. They were back in that house the next day on a signature bond.
The landlord, a good friend of mine, responded to a church appeal to help a homeless family. He cut the rent in half and didn’t get even that. As he told me Wednesday, as police surrounded the house on Hammersley Road, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Now it transpires that a 25-year-old man died of a drug overdose in the home, with all four children present, a month earlier. The children are being tested for evidence of drugs in their system. (According to an excellent report from Rob Schultz.) Were those innocent lives at risk? You tell me.
Then there is the fellow who has made a specialty of burglarizing homes here on the southwest side — 37 by one estimate. That and bail jumping. It didn’t make the news but this week he was given 90 days in jail — with credit for time served — and five years probation. He also has to complete his education, do 100 hours of Community Service, get a job, and set aside some of that pay for restitution.
We’d say Hooray for Hazel if we thought the fellow would turn his life around but he’s had his chances, as his extensive court record indicates.
We quoted Madison Police Lieutenant Lori Beth Chalecki before Monday’s sentencing:
Roderick Williams, the prolific burglar from the west side, has a sentencing hearing on April 10 at 1:30 pm. Roderick is the suspect that burglarized a number of Westside homes, was arrested, incarcerated, and released. Upon his release on bail, he immediately went back burglarizing homes, again in the west district.
Good luck, Mr. Williams, because if you burglarize one more home, it may be your last. Some of us are armed and dangerous.
We’re not happy. WISC-TV 3 has the story.
Castle doctrine is the law
Like the resident of a suburban Tulsa home who dropped three armed home invaders last month. (The grim details.) The young getaway driver, who got away only briefly, was charged with their murders — not the residents of the burglarized home. That’s how it works in Oklahoma. And how it should work in Wisconsin, given that we have been a Castle Doctrine state since 2011.
According to the Wisconsin Bar Association: The Castle Doctrine “affords a presumption of immunity in civil and criminal actions to individuals who use deadly force in self-defense against persons unlawfully or forcibly entering their home, motor vehicle, or place of business. It also prohibits consideration of whether the actor had an opportunity to flee or retreat before he or she used force.”
Before Scott Walker and the Republican legislature, Wisconsin homeowners had to show they tried to escape their own homes while they were being burglarized.
UPDATE: State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, and State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, are promoting their Victim Prevention Package, “with a primary goal of removing violent offenders from our streets.”
Sanfelippo: “Recent stories have shown us once again that our justice system is failing to protect innocent citizens from becoming victims of crime. Last month, a Milwaukee city employee was murdered during an attempted carjacking by three individuals with extensive criminal records. One of the individuals was arrested multiple times on gun-related charges yet our broken criminal justice system allowed for this violent felon to remain on our streets.”
The legislators say that 40% of violent criminals release from prison commit new offenses. Leniency was fatal to the Milwaukee municipal home inspector who was shot and killed during an attempted carjacking. The young men arrested in his death all had criminal records.
Meanwhile, Madison alders are investigating the police!