Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rant: (In) Justice Plea Bargains

Just idly reading the bird cage liner before I put it to a more practical use, I discovered the ending to this story. It seems that four choir boys who were on their way to Church ah... undocumented entrepreneurs - alright, here it is. Four scum bucket drug dealers forced their way into a retarded woman's apartment and used it as a kiosk for the distribution of recreational controlled substances - a sort of drug dealer's 7/11. The neighbors saw nothing unusual in this. The four kept their new business location for about four days. The victim, Tishie Bozeman, was eventually able to leave and call police who proceeded to bust the four criminals. Read the particulars from these four links, as you like:

In summary, there is plenty of evidence. The four criminals hid upstairs in the attic and had to be rooted out by police. Initially Dominique Davis, 19, Sean Johnson, 20, Dashawn L. Belcher, 21, and Jerome M. Hornbeak, 20 were charged with kidnapping and drug trafficking. Pretty much open and shut, right? Wrong. Check this:
4 Sentenced In $400 Theft Of Disabled Woman'S Rent From the article:
Four men who authorities believe took advantage of a disabled woman by using her apartment were sentenced to probation in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Tuesday after they acknowledged stealing her rent money.

Dominique Davis, 19, Sean Johnson, 20, Dashawn L. Belcher, 22, and Jerome M. Hornbeak, 20, each pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor theft.
Misdemeanor theft? What about drug trafficking, kidnapping and burglary?
Under the negotiated plea, Judge Myron Duhart dismissed one count each of aggravated burglary and kidnapping against each defendant.
Remind me about this if I ever get a speeding ticket - I can probably plea bargain it down to spitting on the sidewalk or something. These four were ordered to pay $100 each in restitution (man, that's a lot of pot they'll have to sell!) and stay away from the victim. But it gets better.
In addition to restitution, the men were each ordered to obtain their high school equivalency diplomas and obtain gainful employment.

The four men were scheduled to be released from custody Tuesday [January 25, 2011].
Oh well, since the Honorable Judge Myron Duhart has so ordered, I'm sure that these four will run right out and in a year or two have obtained their GED and be working at a legitimate job somewhere. Of course, Judge Duhart failed to tell them not to break any more laws, so I'm not so sure this plan will work as His Honor envisioned.

This is bullshit. These four little scum bags broke into a retarded woman's apartment, a woman who can't defend herself and who is likely incapable of articulating just what happened to her, and who gets through life with the aid of a social worker who is supposed to help protect her. They terrorized her, they trafficked in drugs out of her home and her neighbors are so fucked up that not one saw anything unusual going on. Putting these four in prison is a good beginning. What's even worse yet is that the police see all this happen, know what's going on here, do their job right and the prosecutor bitches the case.


Older School said...

You know, MJ, nothing surprises me any more. They just want to shuffle the exorbitant case load out the door as quickly as possible.
As for the scum -
It's all a joke to them...and there's nothing to stop them from doing it again to her, or any other handicapped individual.
I just can't understand how a couple of major felonies can result in probation.

Mad Jack said...

I don't understand it either. This is a major crime and the prosecutor has just ignored it. What really got to me was the neighbors reaction - the poor woman's apartment is invaded and turned into a drug house, and they see nothing wrong? Man, that's cold.

Beat And Release said...

I wish I could say this was unusual. During my career I have investigated more serious cases than I can remember. For every ten violent crimes I have investigated, I may have ended up testifying in one or two of the group. Plea bargains are sometimes necessary but most are not.

Mad Jack said...

I had lunch with my attorney the other day. In addition to a professional relationship he and I are good friends in spite of our differences of opinion on certain things. Anyway, he was surprised by this as well and indicated that the charges might have been hard to prove given the homeowner's cognitive disability. For my part, the case makes me angry. I advocate taking the little bastards out back and shooting them.