Our Justice System has turned into a merry-go-round of madness.
I really enjoy writing for the Gazette. Yet, with a weekly column there is always a need for new ideas, research, and analysis, along with the responsibility to come up with a relevant topic each week. Normally, I have plans for the next several columns in mind, when “shazam,” something I read, see or hear, sends me running off in a different direction. That is just what happened on Thursday morning, when I sat down at my dining room table, to enjoy a cup of coffee, and read the current issue of The Signal.
What got my attention was an article concerning a male Newhall resident who had been arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure for the fourth time in the past 18 months. In fact, he had been arrested twice for indecent exposure in January of this year. Which gave him a grand total of nine arrests since August 2016. In summation, he had been arrested four times for indecent exposure, three times for resisting arrest, once for molesting students at an adult school and once for possessing a controlled substance.
How does a person get away with so many times in “chrome bracelets” and still be out walking our streets, free as a bird? If any normal, god fearing, hardworking, law abiding citizen had a similar “rap sheet,” they would probably have lost their job and been bankrupted with legal expenses. But, this individual was reported as a transient, sometimes unemployed, which sounded to me like the politically correct way of saying he was homeless and broke. So, the only thing he had to lose is his freedom, and why didn’t that happen?
Well, according to Ricardo Santiago, spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, who explained the timeline, the indecent exposure charge stemming from his August 4, 2016 arrest was dismissed on November 14, 2016. On the charge of molesting students, he pleaded “No Contest” and was sentenced to 3 years summary probation. However, his probation was revoked, but then reinstated two weeks later, when he was sentenced to 20 days in jail. Shortly after, he was accused of resisting arrest in September 2017. He pleaded “No Contest” and was again sentenced to 3 years summary probation. As with the previous resisting arrest charge, his probation was revoked and reinstated at the same time he was sentenced to 33 days in jail. On the drug offense stemming from his arrest on September 19, 2017, he pleaded “No Contest” and was sentenced to 3 years summary probation. Then, on January 18, his probation was reinstated, and he was sentenced to 90 days in jail. On January 6, he was again arrested for indecent exposure. He pleaded “No Contest” and was sentenced to 3 years summary probation and 90 days in jail. In connection with his recent arrest on January 31, he was arraigned on one count of a misdemeanor, engaging in lewd conduct.
All this legal mumbo jumbo sounds like a lot more than it really is, because, when sentenced to summary probation, the person is under inactive supervision. While they must follow the conditions of probation, they do not have to check in with a probation officer or the probation department. Does that sound like an effective deterrent or punishment to you?
Summary Probation is supposed to be granted when an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor crime and deemed to not be a danger to the community. I just wonder, how many times an individual has to be arrested and brought before a judge for violating the law, to be considered a danger to the community. It is no wonder our courts are overwhelmed and the financial cost to our community is so high. What ever happened to a perpetrator having to do the time, for doing the crime. Plus, just imagine the additional workload, and frustration, placed on our brave men and women of law enforcement, who go out, day after day, and arrest the same perpetrators, time after time, only to realize the legal system will continue to simply release them back into the community.
It is no wonder crime is on the rise. While our Santa Clarita Valley law enforcement team is doing their part to keep our community safe and crime free, our court system has become hamstrung with laws and procedures which prevent them from keeping criminals off our streets.
So, if you want to help change the way our court system almost works and keep criminals off our streets, please write, call, email, and text our California elected officials and tell them to stop the madness, ask them to take action to protect their constituents and fix California’s revolving door judicial system.