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If Trump champions ‘criminal justice reform,’ he betrays crime victims

Conservative Review

In 1997, Devin Lombardi’s 16-year-old brother, Erik Ingebretsen, was savagely and ruthlessly murdered in Colusa, California, by his childhood friend, Nathan Ramazzini. Through the unimaginable pain of the ordeal and the endless time it took to finally secure justice, Devin and her family at least took solace in the fact that they wouldn’t have to think about Ramazzini again. Justice is supposed to be final. That all changed with the “bipartisan criminal justice reform” movement. With no regard for public safety, law enforcement, or victims, California passed, among a slew of pro-criminal bills, a law reopening sentencing for juvenile murderers like Ramazinni, and Devin will now have to face him at a new hearing on October 23.

You might think this is some fringe agenda confined to left-wing California, but this is, in fact, just a modest part of the “de-incarceration at all costs” agenda being supported in every state by politicians and outside groups of both political parties. And codifying these same provisions that California recently passed on the national level is a top priority of Senate Republicans if they maintain the Senate. They might even pass the sentencing reduction bill or the back-end jailbreak bill in the lame-duck session. Section 208 of the sentencing bill offers a rehearing for juveniles serving more than 20 years in federal prison. By definition, if they are in a federal prison (as opposed to state) for more than 20 years, they are likely MS-13 murderers.

To add Orwellian insult to this injury, Chuck Grassley and other top GOP leaders plan to work with the very Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who mercilessly vitiated due process with Bret Kavanagh to pass bills letting out juvenile murderers who were convicted with due process and evidence. So much for Democrats being concerned about justice for juvenile crimes.

With much anxiety headed into the re-sentencing hearing, Lombardi reached out to me because almost nobody else in the political system gives a damn about victims. The same Democrats on the committee who said we need to care about the feelings of an alleged victim from 36 years ago with no evidence refuse to exhibit a shred of compassion for victims of crimes that were definitely committed and the perpetrators convicted. Yet rather than calling out their hypocrisy on criminal justice, Republicans plan to reward Senators Durbin, Hirono, Booker, and Harris by passing their bill to unleash hell on victims of violent crime. Both parties just don’t care about victims of real violent crime.

In 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB9 as part of a series of pro-criminal laws to reopen sentencing for those convicted of life in prison without parole before they were 18. One of the biggest lies of the “prison reform” movement, particularly among pseudo-conservative apologists, is that this is just for the phantom “low-level, nonviolent offender.” They milked the case of Alice Johnson for all it was worth as a poster child for over-incarceration, while they ignored the hundreds of people that likely died from her top-level cocaine trafficking, the biggest case in Tennessee at the time. They ignore the fact that she had numerous opportunities to avoid the mandatories and cooperate with prosecutors. They ignore the fact that most of these drug traffickers commit other violent crimes.

This tactic of putting out home videos from people who are already elderly and sitting in prison is not limited to drug trafficking. Nathan Ramazzini and the political movement behind him are now doing the same thing even for murderers. As I warned before, Nathan Ramazzini is already out with a PR campaign to say he’s a changed man. This industry is bigger than any of us have realized, and Kim Kardashian West has now gotten Trump to empower it. This will set off a revolution to focus exclusively on criminals in a vacuum without considering the victims, deterrent, rising crime rates, or the spectacular failures of jailbreak.

And what does this do for victims? I can’t imagine the pain, but Devin Lombardi explained to me her feelings ahead of the October 23 hearing, which will likely last a full week:

When we are forced to go through these resentencing hearings and parole board hearings, when we've been living under the safety of never having to, we are sucked right back into our trauma. We suffer flashbacks, anxiety, depression, and debilitating triggers that affect how we function every day. I wasn't prepared as a wife and now mother to be thrown back into the anguish I experienced back in 1997. It's been a very rough time for my whole family, and we are all suffering because of it. None of us deserve this. We've suffered enough.

Devin was just 13 years old at the time of Erik’s murder and was his only sibling. Her parents suffer from depression over the murder and don’t have the energy to deal with seeking justice, so Devin is on her own. There were others involved in the murder, but they were released a long time ago because she lacked the capacity to fight so many battles. “I’m fighting alone an uphill battle; I don’t have the strength or mental capacity to fight the other offenders.”

As hard as it is to cope with the murder of a brother, it’s almost a full-time job to seek justice. Devin is a special education teacher with a two-year-old daughter, but has to find the time to fight this lonely battle so that her daughter can be safe from Nathan and those like him. Because she is not a politically correct victim, she doesn’t have endless funds, lawyers, Hollywood figures, and the media championing her cause. They are all on the other side.

So who is standing with law and order?

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