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

· October 12, 2018  
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President Trump in the Oval Office
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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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On the very day of Nathan’s re-sentencing hearing, the Heritage Foundation – yes, THE “conservative” Heritage Foundation – is holding a briefing on promoting the very federal bills that will accomplish the same outcome as in California. One thing proponents will never discuss is how their effort, which is just the lead ship in a massive armada of pro-criminal advocacy, will impact victims. There is something particularly corrupt about retroactively reducing sentencing rather than at least limiting it to new offenders. “We are allowed a victim impact statement through Marcy’s law, but it is just a formality,” said Devin of the resentencing hearing. “It is a very small consolation prize for what we’ve gone through. Not even our justice, the warranted sentences given to our offenders, is ours to keep. One of my brother’s murders received life without the possibility of parole, and now my own government is threatening to take that from us.”

For reasons only Allah knows, Jared Kushner and Chuck Grassley have made jailbreak their priority – yes, their very first policy priority after confirming Kavanaugh. Their prize for confirming Kavanaugh against the onslaught of anti-due process from Senate Judiciary Democrats is to pass their bill on releasing convicted criminals! Kushner has convinced Trump to violate what he campaigned on and support the bill even over the objections of his attorney general. The Bureau of Prisons has warned that this bill will cause chaos and the release of violent criminals, including criminal alien gang members.

There is one thing that the leniency complex hates, and that is sunlight. Whenever the mellifluous-sounding labels like “criminal justice reform” and “prison reform” are stripped down to “early release bills,” the public strongly opposes them. It’s just that nobody realized that this is happening because Trump campaigned on the exact opposite agenda. According to a brand-new poll, voters oppose jailbreak bills by lopsided margins, most prominently suburban families who decide most elections.

At what point will we the people rise up and take back our government from this bipartisan oligarchy that puts the desires of political hacks and C-level Hollywood figures ahead of law enforcement, public safety, and the concerns of crime victims?

For more reading:

Busted: The 10 most dangerous myths about criminal justice reform

On crime: From the party of Reagan to the party of … Kim Kardashian?!

Sen. Kennedy: People are being killed because of so-called criminal justice reform

How criminal justice ‘reform’ will cause more Parklands

Yes, the House-passed jailbreak bill releases criminal aliens from prison

DHS/DOJ report: Thousands of avoidable crimes committed by foreign nationals in Texas alone

The jailbreak movement is not only wrong but too late

Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.