This article contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
CHICAGO, IL- Democrats are desperately trying to find a “gotcha” to trip up Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Sadly for them, she is the smartest person in the room.
On Monday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill), who has been in Congress seemingly forever, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was concerned about felons’ ability to acquire firearms in Chicago. Coney Barrett, who is a judge in the Seventh Circuit wrote a dissent in a case which Durbin apparently believes allows felons to acquire firearms.
“These gangbangers and thugs fill up the trunks of their cars with firearms and head into the city of Chicago and kill everyone from infants to older people,” he complained.
This, while alleging that Coney Barrett had supported opinions which make it easier for gang members to bring guns into the city from out of state.
The only problem with Durbin’s argument is that in complaining about gang members acquiring firearms, he needs only to grab a mirror, look at it, and see the face looking back at him. That is who is to blame in part for the spate of gun violence that has rocked the Windy City this year.
Writing for The Blaze, Daniel Horowitz identified Durbin as one of the leading reasons why guns are coming to the area, calling Durbin to task for spending his “entire career” working to free such felons from jail.
In this case, Durbin was the lead sponsor of the so-called First Step Act, which is an early release program for hard-core drug dealers and career criminals. In fact, Durbin had voted for an earlier version of the bill which actually reduced penalties for federal gun felons. So, when you point at someone else as Durbin did, remember there are three fingers pointing right back at you.
Horowitz noted that the act was advertised as a bill which would only allow so-called “low-level” offenders who had been locked up for too long unjustly out of jail. It was not supposed to be a prison release bill since a judge would need to sign off on the release of any prisoners.
However, an analysis by the Chicago Sun-Times found that judges had indeed been signing off on the release of career criminals, which included top gang leaders, much to the dismay of prosecutors who have been struggling to get the carnage under control.
The newspaper’s analysis looked at 200 early release cases in Chicago under the First Step Act. It found that over 60 percent of those who applied received a reduced sentence from judges, including it said from “some of the nation’s most notorious criminals.”
The paper found that so far 75 applications for reduced sentences were granted, 45 denied, and the rest are shown as still pending.
Horowitz noted that he had warned that expecting judges to keep criminals confined defeats the purpose of mandatory minimum sentencing.
He noted that in the 1960’s and 70’s, liberal judges had a field day releasing criminals, which led President Reagan to fight for tougher sentencing laws.
Last April, U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo, who was appointed by Bill Clinton, reduced the sentence of one James Yates from life to time served after 22 years in jail, despite objections of prosecutors.
In addition, three of his former co-defendants were also released, with Larry Hoover, a co-founder and former chairman of the Gangster Disciples scheduled for a hearing under the First Step Act coming up.
Hoover, according to Horowitz was “the unquestioned leader of a gang that was responsible for a murder rate that, you know, was over double the unacceptable murder rate we have today,” according to the prosecutor in the case.
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It isn’t just about drugs, Horowitz notes, bemoaning the fact that people lose sight of that. In the case of the above men, they were not “young college kids caught possessing some small quantities of drugs.”
Instead, he noted they were gang leaders who were responsible for much of the murder and violence in Chicago. He said that they were able to be put away be federal agents under gun, drug, and racketeering charges, while noting it led to a significant decline in the crime rate for twenty years.
The reversal of those policies, he says, are what is behind the current spike in crime.
Thus far in 2020, Chicago has over 600 murders with over ten weeks left in the year, and is on a pace to more than double last year’s total. Among the victims this year are three times the number of children who have been shot year to year over 2019.
The Chicago Tribune notes that:
“Gang-related shootings have remained a persistent problem all year long. Dozens of children 17 and younger have been fatally shot, often in gang crossfire in neighborhoods.”
With the current explosion in violent crime in Chicago, Horowitz says that this is the worst possible time to be releasing gang members.
According to the Sun Times, there are other top gang leaders who are scheduled for early release, and even noted that some corrupt police officers who had turned into career criminals and committed high-level crimes are also scheduled to be released.
The Sun Times said that federal prosecutors had objected to 60% of those already released under the act by Illinois federal judges to date.
Horowitz notes that the current gang structure in Chicago lacks organizational and leadership skills, and releasing people with that skillset into the city is “the ultimate exercise in pouring lighter fluid on a raging forest fire.”
These are not exactly Boy Scouts being released from prison, Horowitz said, with those who are sentenced to significant time behind bars in federal prison for drug offenses likely being a gang leader.
He addressed the case of a man named Joel Francisco, who in October 2018 was charged with murder in Providence, Rhode Island just months after being released under the auspices of the First step Act.
He had been serving a life sentence for a third drug trafficking charge, under the “three strikes” law. Francisco received the heavy sentence not because of the drug trafficking charge but because he was a known member of the Latin Kings, which was responsible for violence in the city, which included shooting a man in the back of the head execution-style in 1997.
Francisco pleaded no contest for that crime, so he was able to avoid a significant penalty in that case in the state system. He was specifically targeted by federal law enforcement for just that reason, however he was released under the First Step Act.
Horowitz notes that when Durbin talks about “gun violence” instead of gang violence it takes the magnifying glass off the fact that he is in fact aiding in the release of gang members from prison.
As Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass so succinctly put it, “gun violence” is “a politically correct term that gives politicians wiggle room,” as if a gun is violent on its own. As an inanimate object, a gun cannot be “violent.” It takes a “violent” person to make a gun work, a fact lost on the anti-gun crowd, most of whom are Democrats.
“It’s not gun violence. It’s street gang violence,” Kass said. “If we really cared about these victims and their memories, we’d have the decency to call what happened to them by its real name: gang wars.”
Horowitz related the case of a man named Laroy Battle, who was charged with shooting two teenagers at a candy store. He had been sentenced to probation 18 months ago for a gun felony, and despite his prior record received no jail time, which allowed him to remain on the streets to gun down the two teenagers who did nothing wrong.
This past July, Teantun Davis shot a 5-month-old in the eye, yet in June 2019, he had been arrested for illegal possession of a firearm. Somehow he never served prison time, and received probation. This is another case of another person who should have been in jail, but was not due to soft-on-crime judges and a soft-on-crime District Attorney Kimberly Foxx, a George Soros stooge.
While Democrats in particular try to lay blame for the crime problem in Chicago on criminals obtaining guns from outside the city, clearly the major problem is criminals who abuse guns INSIDE the city being released from jail.
Since 2013, the incarceration rate in the state of Illinois has been cut in half, dropping 52% in seven years. While a political hack such as Durbin might be happy with those numbers, the carnage on the streets of Chicago can be rightly laid at his feet where it belongs.
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