We train our police. We talk about gun control. We talk about justice ‘reform’. But what about criminal control?
The scenarios continue… and I can’t bite my tongue any longer.
A repeat offender crawls back into the news after committing some horrific act in the public eye. A dangerous criminal who was let out of jail for one reason or another changes the lives of others forever.
This exact scenario rings true for the Philadelphia shooting that unfolded on Wednesday night, where a gunman took hostages and shot six cops.
It seems as though shooter Maurice Hill has spent nearly half of his life in the criminal justice system, repeatedly going in and out of jail.
So why wasn’t he still there?
The Philadelphia Inquirer listed his lengthy history with the police.
‘Hill’s history in the adult criminal justice system began in 2001 when he was 18 and was arrested with a gun that had an altered serial number.
Public records show that he has been arrested about a dozen times since turning 18, and convicted six times on charges that involved illegal possession of guns, drug dealing, and aggravated assault. He has been in and out of prison; the longest sentence handed him came in 2010, when a federal judge gave him a 55-month term.
In 2008, Hill was convicted of escaping, fleeing from police, and resisting arrest. Along the way, he beat criminal charges on everything from kidnapping to attempted murder.
Hill also spent time in federal prison. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to federal firearms violations after he was caught with a Smith & Wesson .357 and later a Taurus PT .45 semiautomatic. His prior felony convictions should have barred him from owning those weapons. U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond sentenced him to four years and seven months in prison.
More recently, Hill was convicted of perjury in 2013 and sentenced to seven years of probation. He appeared before Common Pleas Court Judge Rayford Means for three different alleged violations of probation — at least two of them related to new cases, which he later beat.’
This is insane. A man who has spent nearly half of his life in and out of a jail cell was able to stockpile dangerous weapons and then shoot six police officers during a standoff.
How often are these crimes being committed by a seasoned criminal? How often do we see dangerous convicts walk free back into the communities as part of a ‘criminal justice reform’ effort to reduce crowding in prisons? How often does a lenient judge or prosecutor push for a lighter punishment just to see that same individual back on the street committing another crime?
We train our police. We ‘reform’ our laws. Isn’t it time we start looking at it from another angle?
Instead of lighter sentences, throw the book at violent offenders. Instead of cashless bail or PR “promise to appear” bonds, keep dangerous people behind bars. Instead of politicians trying to get votes for reevaluating who should be locked up and who shouldn’t, stand firm with the law.
How can we continue to ask officers to run into life-threatening situations for criminals who should have never been back on the street in the first place?
Let’s dive into a few recent scenarios in which these exact type of situations played out.
Pasadena Police Chief Josh Bruegger recently condemned judges for releasing dangerous criminals back into the community.
Bruegger says this was the exact case with Texas resident Alex Guajardo.
Court documents show Alex Guajardo, 22, of Pasadena was released from custody on a PR bond recently after he was charged with assault of a family member during a domestic dispute.
To provide some context, a “PR Bond” is a personal recognizance bond Basically you get out of jail on your promise to appear in court. A “get out of jail free” bond, if you will. These types of bonds are usually reserved for very minor misdemeanors and first time offenders.
“My outrage and alarm has to do with Mr. Guajardo’s past,” Bruegger said in a video.
But when Guajardo got out… his violent streak continued.
Police say they received a 911 call from Guajardo, where he claimed he had just stabbed his wife and needed help.
Guajardo’s wife, Caitlynn Rose Guajardo, 20, was four months pregnant. When emergency crews arrived at the scene in the 1900 block of Southmore Avenue, authorities said Alex Guajardo came out covered in his wife’s blood.
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Police say the woman was brutally stabbed at least 20 times during Guajardo’s tirade. She was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.
Now the death of the 20-year-old woman and her unborn child lies at the feet of the Texas judges who let him out of jail and back into the home where he was able to kill.
And get this. On May 5, Alex Guajardo was arrested and charged with DWI — second offense and failure to stop and give information. He was released on a PR bond, according to jail documents.
July 29: Alex Guajardo allegedly assaults Caitlynne Rose Guajardo
July 31: Harris County DA requests $50,000 bond and protective order
August 1: Defendant receives a personal (free) bond from the court
August 3: Alex Guajardo murders Caitlynne Rose Guajardo and her unborn child pic.twitter.com/gBVC2agaTe
— 𝐑𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐥 𝐇𝐨𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐫 (@RAPHoop) August 5, 2019
Then again in the days prior to the attack, police arrested Guajardo after discovering that he had hit his wife repeatedly in the face. When authorities took him into custody, they also found a dead pet cat in a bag of liquid. Guajardo admitted to killing it.
That’s twice that Guajardo was in jail in the last few months — and twice that he was released on a promise to appear.
These judges knew they were dealing with a violent repeat offender.
So why wasn’t he behind bars? Why was he allowed to be released into the community to commit more violent acts?
So many warning signs. This woman’s family clearly feels the justice system in Harris County failed them. Just days after being released from jail without having to pay a penny for bail, Alex Guajardo is now accused of murdering his pregnant wife. #abc13 https://t.co/UckWUbFklH
— Steve Campion (@SteveABC13) August 6, 2019
This so-called ‘bail reform’ is responsible for the death of innocent lives.
“I am shocked. I am outraged. And I am saddened by these cases,” Bruegger said.
Let’s look at another recent crime spree in California that could have been prevented if a state law hadn’t prevented a criminal from being sent back to prison.
The bill is called AB 109 and it was passed back in 2011 to help reduce California’s prison population. The measure was to allow nonviolent and non-sex offender inmates to be released early from state prisons and then be supervised by local county probation officers.
But it also prevented felons who violated their parole from going back.
The suspect from Wednesday’s killings had reportedly already spent two years in prison for drug possession and weapons charges and had been jailed 14 times previously for multiple probation violations.
“This person should have been in prison, and not allowed to be in our community committing these violent acts,” Garden Grove Police chief Tom DaRé said. “As a police chief, I implore our policy makers to reevaluate their policies on criminal justice.”
Zachary Castaneda was recently arrested after murdering four people and severely wounding two others with ‘machete-knives’, police said.
The California Department of Corrections said that while the AB 109 bill did not release him from prison before he served his full sentence, it did prevent him from being sent back.
Garden Grove police said that AB 109 kept Castaneda from being sent back to prison because it did not jail people for a minimum of a year for parole violations, like the law had prior. Instead, AB 109 allowed Castaneda to be on probation as part of Post-Release Community Supervision, serving short stints in county jail each of the 14 times he violated parole, CBS 2 Los Angeles reported.
A report from KTLA 5 confirmed that the 33-year-old assailant allegedly stabbed a woman at an insurance business, two men at the Garden Grove apartment complex where he lived and a man at a gas station. The crimes spanned a period of two hours from Garden Grove to Santa Ana. They say that during the string of criminal activity, the suspect violently robbed his victims.
Police commented that he was “full of anger.”
Garden Grove CA-Hispanic 33yo man filled w Hate Rage Anger Kills 4 Hispanics Robs 8 stores in 2 hour Wave of Violent Carnage he Angrily Stabbed, Murdered, Slashed & Robbed—Weapon: Machete Knives @SpeakerPelosi @SenKamalaHarris @POTUS https://t.co/nZFYRFwhTe
— Que (@que_peace) August 8, 2019
The two men from the Garden Grove complex were killed, along with a security guard at a 7-11 convenience store and a Subway employee, police said.
And these are just three cases that happened within the last few weeks. Imagine how many more there are…
So, we have a message for the prosecutors, judges and lawmakers that handle these cases.
When did the rights of dangerous criminals become more important than the rights of innocent civilians?