Really, Governor Lee? You want to empty the jails the way other states have done rather than emphatically promising your residents you won’t become like the blue states? Well, here is what it looks like to empty your jails when the system is already too weak on holding, prosecuting, and sentencing even repeat violent offenders.
Jonathan Armand Flores-Maldonado, a 27-year-old resident of Long Island, was killed on Sunday, directly as a result of criminal justice “reform.” Jordan Randolph, 40, had 12 prior criminal convictions, including charges for numerous assaults, robbery, drugs, and three DWIs. He was arrested on January 1, the first full day of New York’s new pro-criminal laws, for not having a court-ordered ignition interlock device in his car. Yet the judge said he was forced to release Randolph without any bond, despite five prior failures to appear in court! The judge claimed that the law prevented him from even requiring Randolph to wear an ankle bracelet. Well, as habitual criminals tend to repeat the same crimes, Randolph was allegedly drunk driving this Sunday when he slammed into Flores-Maldonado, fatally wounding him. And then … he was released from jail again without bail!
While women can’t carry guns to protect themselves in New York City, violent criminals are free to viciously assault them. Eugene Webb, 26, one of the many violent homeless individuals now populating city streets, was arrested last Wednesday for seriously assaulting two women. He allegedly punched one woman in Greenwich Village so hard that she lost two teeth and punched and kicked another woman near Grand Central Terminal. Despite a massive criminal history, including recent assaults on women as well as forced touching, he was released without bail, even though he has a history of failing to appear in court. He was arrested again two days later for reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and obstructing governmental administration. Of course, he was released back onto the streets without any bail.
Gerod Woodberry was arrested for robbing four banks in Manhattan since December 30. He was released last Thursday, and the very next day he robbed a fifth bank … and was released.
Remember the man caught in the viral video sucker-punching a New York cop and then wrestling him to the ground? Well, Steven Haynes, 40, the suspect in the case, was supposed to show up in court on Monday after he was released under the new law. Of course, he failed to appear and was re-arrested, but of course he’ll be released again.
The jailbreak problem is statewide, not just in the city. In December, Dustin Parker was arrested in Seneca County for beating someone seriously enough to put the victim in the hospital for days. After being released on his own recognizance, Parker was arrested again for violating a protective order and confronting that same victim. Intimidation of victims is a big part of the jailbreak agenda, so that it will be harder for perpetrators to get convicted for the original crime.
Not only are the criminals out on the streets pending trial, but even after conviction, they get a slap on the wrist. Remember Courtney Thompson, the man pictured in the viral video this summer dousing two NYPD officers with water? Well, he just got sentenced … to 10 days of community service. And no, he was not a first-time juvenile offender just having some fun. He is a 28-year-old Crips member with 20 prior arrests. At the time of his attack on the cops, he was on probation for a 2015 robbery for which he barely served time.
I can go on and on from the cases I have in my notes, but you get the point. Even many Democrats are clamoring for political cover to save them from the fallout, but Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is holding up attempts to change the law. Heastie had his own personal experience with “bail reform” when his chief of staff’s husband was released after being charged with shipping large quantities of cocaine.
The amalgamation of no deterrent against crime, no enforcement of public order laws, and a de facto decriminalization of drugs has led to a rampant homelessness problem, making the city like it was prior to Giuliani’s mayoral tenure. A new report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development lists New York as the state with the highest rate of homelessness. The homelessness rate in the Big Apple is 46.4 per 10,000 people, nearly three times the national average.
It’s time for Republicans to push Reagan’s reforms – true criminal justice reform. As Rep. Chip Roy observed on Twitter, how about a criminal justice reform agenda in 2020 designed to “keep bad guys in jail”? With Democrats getting more and more radical on crime and incarceration, the American people deserve a bold contrast, not a faint and pathetic echo.
Author: Daniel Horowitz
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.