Exploding crime and low prosecution has law enforcement in one area on the brink of collapse

Exploding crime and low prosecution has law enforcement in one area on the brink of collapse

It’s no secret that law enforcement in many American states are having crises of high crime rates, low prosecution rates, and failed bail reforms.

The way the criminal “justice” system is heading, we will be on par with South Africa before we know it.

The South African National Prosecution Authority (NPA) has released its annual report, stating that the prosecution rate for serious crimes have been at 2%. 

NPA Advocate Shamila Batohi points to several factors serving to keep the rate so low.

First, there are simply fewer criminals being caught. 

But even worse is the fact that the courts have all around not been performing as they should. 

For whatever reason, cases have been poorly investigated or bungle to the point where 103,760 cases have had to be dismissed.  This represents a 9% increase over withdrawn cases the year before.  The country has seen an increase in plea deals and “alternative dispute resolutions.”  Despite this, there has been a decrease of cases finalized by 14% over the year prior.

Three of the most feared crimes in South Africa are carjackings, home robberies and robberies at businesses, and these crimes appear to go greatly unpunished.  The NPA broke down the rates of the crimes being committed versus prosecuted.

For vehicle hijackings, 16,026 were reported. Only 3% of those were actually prosecuted.  Of those, the NPA secured only 382 convictions, which is 2.3%.

Home robberies showed 22,431 reported occurrences.  The NPA prosecuted 1,602 home robbery cases. Of those, 1,045 convictions were secured, or 4.6% of the total reported home robberies.

Business robberies had 19,991 reports. There were 771 prosecutions, and 601 of those were convicted, or 3%.

Murder is also a top crime in South Africa, and in that category, with over 21,000 cases reported, less than 20% resulted in a conviction.

Similarly, sexual assaults are rampant in the country.  Of the 52,450 sexual offences reported, just 4,724 convictions were secured, or 9%.

Batohi spoke out about the low prosecution and conviction rate.  She said, “The NPA also gets the feeling that the country is busy losing the fight against organized crime.”

The NPA also points to the lack of prosecutors as a major problem with the low conviction rates.  For example, she stated that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) reported 293 cases of corruption and fraud within local governments to the NPA.  Due to the lack of staff, only 9 of those cases were dealt with.

Apparently, a lack of funding in the system has resulted in vacancies for 25% of prosecutors, resulting in a grossly overworked staff.  The NPA has seen an increase in use of its health and wellness program, and a decrease in morale, due to the heavy workload.

In September of last year, the BBC reported a large increase in the already high crime categories of murder and sexual assault.  Protestors took to the streets with anger over the danger for women in particular, after the reports of several high-profile rape cases. 

Police are also discovering more sexual assaults as a result of proactivity, which means there are even less cases being reported without police intervention.

Crime has been steadily increasing since 2011.  Currently there are an average of 58 murders per day. 

Minister of Police Bheki Cele has said that part of his plan to decrease the crime rate is to recruit and train more female police, and also to add more specialty units that focus on gender violence and sexual assaults.   

Chairperson of South Africa’s parliamentary committee on police, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, said, “The trajectory of crime cannot continue at the current rate and requires a shift in the way we view policing, from being responsive to being more preventive.”

The committee has reported that increased spending on policing and harsher criminal sentences hasn’t been effective. 

Maybe that has something to do with only 2% of criminals actually receiving sentences at all, much less harsher sentences. 

Tina and the committee also stated it would like to see an increase in community services like after school care, parenting classes and training, and anti-bullying programs, because, the committee says, “most violent behavior is learned in the home or in communities.”

The United States has implemented many of those types of programs over the years, and they’ve done nothing on their own to change our crime rate.  The programs are great, but they just aren’t effective without adding in better police services and sending criminals to jail- and keeping them there.

But good luck with that, Tina.  Hopefully you can get some of those programs implemented before you get murdered.

In the meantime, take a close look at what’s happening in San Francisco.

Starting a new job can be intimidating, especially if it’s a position of some type of authority.  Taking a few days to ease into a position to get to know the system or business you’re working for, getting to know the people you work with, and what’s best for the job’s purpose overall is necessary.

Unless you’re Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s brand new District Attorney. 

Then you jump right in headfirst, doing stupid crap right off the bat.

He did warn everyone that he was going to essentially make crime legal and rip justice away from victims, so at least we know he keeps his promises.

Chesa was in office as DA for an impressive two full days before he fired seven senior prosecutors, one of whom boasted over thirty years of experience.  Why?  Because he promised a “new style of justice,” and what better way to do that than have no one to prosecute the criminals?

In a statement after the firings, Chesa said:

“I had to make difficult staffing decisions [Friday] in order to put in place a management team that will help me accomplish the work I committed to do for San Francisco.”     

We can all read into the meaning behind his words: 

The people he fired actually wanted to do their jobs and seek retribution for criminals and justice for victims, which is so not Chesa’s jam.  Although the prosecutors said they were “absolutely willing” to do things Chesa’s way, he kicked them to the curb. 

Interestingly, the types of prosecutors kicked out Friday line up with his attempt to fix a “broken justice system” as he called it.  So far, the fired personnel are:

-Kara Lacey, a felony trial lawyer

-Ana Gonzalez, managing attorney in the office’s Gang Unit

-Linda Allen and Todd Barrett, managing attorneys in the General Felonies Unit

-Michael Swart, managing attorney of the office’s Homicide Unit

-Tom Ostly, a trial attorney in the Crime Strategies Unit

-Craig Menchin in the Writs and Appeals Unit

Apparently, prosecutors are at-will employees, meaning they can be fired at any time without reason.

Oh, Chesa had a reason: He wants to keep criminals out of jail.

While I agree with his statement that the criminal justice system is broken, we have very different opinions on how to go about fixing it.  For example, my method would start with actually holding criminals accountable for their actions and demanding retribution, as well as justice for victims.

Chesa’s method includes firing prosecutors and letting all the criminals out of jail.

Several of those fired will be seeking legal repercussions, although it’s not reported which of them or on what grounds.  They are reportedly in fear of retaliation if they speak out against Chesa, who could blacklist them and prevent their employment elsewhere if they aren’t careful.

“There’s an awful lot about our criminal justice system that is dysfunctional,” Chesa told SF Gate.  “Everyone who sets foot in a criminal courtroom will see myriad ways the system is dysfunctional.”

Well you’re making damn sure of that, aren’t you Chesa?

Chesa does have a little bit of a personal vendetta for wanting criminals to be given get out of jail free cards: Both of his parents were arrested and charged for murder during a robbery. 

His mom, Kathy Boudin, served 22 years in prison for the crime.  His father, David Gilbert, is still there.  It’s been reported that he may spend the rest of his life in prison (unless, of course, Boudin has anything to say about it.  We’ll stay tuned to that).  The victims of the murders were 2 police officers and a security guard.

“Growing up, I had to go through a metal detector and steel gates just to give my parents a hug,” Chesa said in his campaign video. 

He went on to say that he experienced the “destructive effects” of mass incarceration, which is what has been his motivation for this criminal justice reform he so desperately seeks.

Um.  Chesa?  Any chance that maybe your life of metal detectors was thanks to your parents, you know, killing 3 human beings, all dedicated to lives of service to the public, when you were a toddler?

Let’s ask Officers Waverly L. Brown and Edward J. O’Grady, and Brinks employee Peter Paige.  Oh, wait.  We can’t, because they were murdered on October 20, 1981.  By your parents.

Revenge is a dangerous thing, San Francisco, and you’re about to see how far Chesa is willing to go to get it.

In case you missed it earlier this week, we broke down what Chesa’s new role looks like for San Francisco:

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Exploding crime and low prosecution has law enforcement in one area on the brink of collapse

 

Hold on to your poop, San Francisco:  Your streets are about to get a whole lot crappier.

The new district attorney, 39-year-old Chesa Boudin, was sworn into office on Wednesday. And after the announcements he’s made about overhauling the criminal justice system, now California residents are bracing themselves for the lawlessness that will ensue.

Some quick changes right off the bat would be to stop pressing any formal charges in cases like public urination, prostitution as well as a laundry list of others.

Make no mistake – law abiding Californians and especially the cops that patrol the area are in trouble.

Chesa Boudin for San Francisco DA, 2019

Courtesy: YouTube Screenshot from Chesa Boudin for San Francisco DA, 2019

 

His campaign platform promised a “new style of justice,” and his message is, “We aren’t going to criminalize poverty.” 

In an interview with KCBS Radio, Boudin said, “I ran on a platform that was very explicitly engaging with some of the breakdowns in trust between law enforcement and the community, and between what happens in the courtroom and the perception of what happens in the courtroom.  We have a lot of work do to.”

Well doesn’t that just sound nice?  Who doesn’t want trust to be built back up between law enforcement and the community? 

Chesa Boudin.  Chesa Boudin doesn’t.

Boudin also said, “Setting up a tent to stay out of the rain, for example, I’ve seen those cases prosecuted.  Those are the kinds of cases that I think are so problematic.”  He commented that 75% of the people booked in San Francisco jail are “either drug-addicted, mentally ill or often both.

“It doesn’t mean that being poor or homeless is a free pass to break the law,” he continued, “but it does mean that we’re not going to criminalize poverty.  In some instances, that’s going to require prosecution. In others, a diversion approach, where we redirect people towards appropriate services is going to be far more effective and far more humane.”

While he coats his words in warm, soft rhetoric, his proposed plans for his “new style of justice” are better explained as “no justice at all.”

Law Enforcement Today has been reporting for weeks on the plans that Boudin has announced for the tourist city, and none of them have been good.

Exploding crime and low prosecution has law enforcement in one area on the brink of collapse

Courtesy: YouTube Screenshot from Chesa Boudin for San Francisco DA, 2019

 

For example.  Boudin is clearly on the “criminal justice reform” bandwagon.  As such, he has the genius idea to promise less jail time to gang members.  Why? Because of racism, obviously.

Apparently the gang enhancement for jail sentencing has negatively affected the Hispanic and black population greater than it has that of the white.   So, obviously the answer is to just not keep gang members in jail.

Never mind the fact that 58% of gang members on the West Coast are Hispanic, which is likely why they are more heavily accounted for as recipients of gang enhancement charges.  Never mind the fear and instability gangs bring to communities.  Never mind the insane acts of violence they inflict upon the innocent. 

In response to these arguments to keep gang enhancements seeking to keep gang members behind bars longer, Boudin has said, “I want to focus on holding people accountable for what they’ve done — not who they are.  People are seeing their families impacted by overzealous uses of these gang allegations.”

I’m willing to bet those people wouldn’t be as impacted if their family members didn’t commit heinous crimes.  But that’s just my two cents.

Eric Siddal, an LA gang prosecutor and VP of the Association of LA Deputy District Attorneys has stated:

“Getting rid of the gang enhancement assumes that there’s no gang problem.  The law was created for a very specific purpose with a very specific target and for very specific violence.”

But Boudin maintains:

“My commitment over these next four years is to rebuild trust and restore that confidence, so that people feel good using the word justice after the word criminal.”

I’m sure people will feel great using the word ‘justice’ as they attend their fellow community members’ funerals because Boudin refuses to participate in the “racism” of actually holding someone accountable for their actions.

In a statement following his victory, Boudin said:

“The people of San Francisco have sent a powerful and clear message: It’s time for radical change to how we envision justice.”

Yes, Chesa.  Criminals do want a radical change.  They don’t want to go to jail and you’re just the man to bring that change to them.  Congratulations.


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About The Author

Leah Anaya

Leah Anaya is a medically retired police officer. She served for three years at the Oakland Police Department, and just under five at the Vancouver Police Department in Washington State. She is now a stay at home mom living with her husband, who is still serving as an officer, and their three children. She also grew up as the daughter of a police officer in California. Leah is a peer support advocate for The Wounded Blue as well as Serve and Protect. You can find her on social media @leahmsanaya or at www.leahanaya.com.

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