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Horowitz: More insane examples of our under-incarceration problem

Op-ed
Matthieu LE Mauff/Getty Images

Victims of crime often don’t get second chances. But criminals in California get endless chances. The California criminal justice system is so weighted toward the criminal that the most violent criminals who are caught committing gun crimes are released. The case of the mass shooting in Sacramento on Sunday that killed six, allegedly at the hands of a career gun felon who used an illegal weapon, is a perfect example of the old adage, “Guns don’t kill, bad people kill.”

Smiley Allen Martin was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Jan. 12, 2018, after being convicted of domestic violence and assault with great bodily injury. He already had a big rap sheet beforehand, dating back to when he turned 18 and likely when he was a juvenile. Yet he was arrested this week in connection with a mass shooting in downtown Sacramento early Sunday morning, after police say he was caught illegally possessing a handgun modified to fire as an automatic weapon and was injured in the wild shootout.

You might be wondering how a man sentenced to 10 years in 2018 can be out in 2022 to allegedly be involved in a shooting, but you have to remember this is California. Math works differently, at least when it favors the criminal.

According to court documents obtained by the Sacramento Bee, Martin was caught illegally with a rifle in 2013 but was given probation. Ten months later, he was apprehended after committing multiple robberies in Walmart and Target stores. He was sentenced to just two years and likely got out earlier. He was caught while on parole giving false information to police and leading them on a foot pursuit. Shortly thereafter is when he was arrested for brutally beating a prostitute at his home and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, because of the convoluted good time credit system, he was already up for parole three and a half years later. Although he was initially denied release, he was eventually released in February of this year after serving just four years.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert wrote a letter to the Parole Board last year beseeching them not to release Martin. “As shown by Inmate Martin’s pattern of conduct, he is an assaultive and non-compliant individual and has absolutely no regard for his victims who are left in the wake of numerous serious offenses,” Schubert wrote last April. “He has no respect for others, for law enforcement or for the law. If he is released early, he will continue to break the law.”

Schubert and 44 other district attorneys have sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation over its new policies of calculating early release credits, which they say could lead to the early release of 76,000 inmates. She is now running for attorney general as an independent.

Martin is not an anomalous criminal. He has the quintessential rap sheet of a career criminal. The reality is that for all the tough talk on gun violence, the anti-incarceration crowd has no desire to lock up gun felons. They get more than second chances. It’s among that pool of criminals that you will find most of the murder and violent crime committed in this country.

The reality is that in blue states, only law-abiding citizens can’t carry guns. New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently admitted about his city, “Here’s a climate on the street that carrying a gun is no longer an illegal act and we have to stop that.” But whose fault is that? He correctly observed, “We have to look at repeated offenders. There’s only a small number of people driving crime in our city and in country. They’re repeat offenders.” Yet his party supports policies that ensure repeat offenders are not locked up because liberals hate prison more than they hate guns.

Lest you think this is only a New York and California problem, though, check out how they punish child molesters in the red state of Ohio. Lamont Baldwin, a former wrestling coach and security monitor at Princeton Middle School in Cincinnati, confessed to fondling four boys with the most satanic subterfuge imaginable. According to Sharonville Police Detective Brad Hondorf, Baldwin would give each kid a dollar bill and tell him to hide it on his person, after which he would fondle him everywhere as if to pretend to find it. Hondorf also believes there were numerous other victims during the time Baldwin spent as a security monitor in the school.

What do you think is the appropriate punishment for a demon like this? I doubt zero time in prison was on your mind, but then again, you don’t work in the corrupt judicial system. Hamilton County probation officials recommended no prison time, and Judge Alan Triggs sentenced him to just probation and community service, along with the requirement to complete a “behavioral intervention program.”

Clearly, this was not an anomaly but a mindset among both the probation staff and the judges. They have all been brainwashed into the notion that we have an over-incarceration problem, but the opposite is true.

By refusing to fund more prisons, courts, and prosecutors to accommodate the growth of the population – as we’ve done with every other policy issue – lawmakers have been faced with a false dichotomy of backlogs or jailbreak. Well, it’s time for another “infrastructure project” to build jails and prisons and to start filling them up with the people who belong there.
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