Saturday, June 14, 2008
Amazing, Petty "Slap On The Wrist" Sentences For North Side Criminals
So I went through the City Attorney's website and I sought out examples of sentences dished out to criminals...the very same criminals citizens can submit "community impact statements" about using the functions of the website.
I only wish what I'm going to tell you about was the exception, not the rule, but from what I'm seeing....
...paltry "slap on the wrist" sentences are the norm. Ask yourself why citizens should submit community impact statements at all, when the offenders will serve two days, or no time at all, and will pay less money for loitering to buy crack than productive, generally law-abiding citizens will pay for a traffic violation?
Furthermore, though some judges and prosecutors are busier than others, the pattern appears to hold true no matter who the judge or prosecutor. In Minneapolis, generally, you get a "slap on the wrist" for North Side crime.
See if I lie. Here are the criminals, and here are their sentences. Judge for yourself if these are mere "slaps on the wrist" compared to what the criminals did.
* Monique Marie Johnson, age 29, pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia in a public place, 2647 Penn Ave. N. The report says the Chief of Police has labeled this area a "hot spot" for criminal activity. She walked toward officers holding a crack pipe in her hand, so stupid is she. She also has no place to live. She has been arrested before for loitering with intent to buy narcotics IN THE SAME AREA.
Prosecuted by Karen S. Herland in the court of The Honorable Judge H. Richard Hopper, this criminal received a 2 day jail sentence (which she had apparently already served while in the system) and a fine of $50, ALL OF WHICH WAS SUSPENDED.
* Donnie Gary Straub, 34, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for interfering at the scene of a stabbing, 2230 6th St. N. He interfered "several times."
Straub was Tasered and taken to jail. For this he was fined $50 and sentenced to 30 days, but all 30 days were stayed.
Prosecuted by Nnamdi A. Okoronkwo before the Honorable Thomas W. Wexler.
* Kevin D. Holt, 29, caught fornicating in an alley (near 22nd Ave. N. and 3rd St. N.) and was charged with indecent exposure/conduct. Pleaded guilty. (Herland was prosecutor, Hopper was judge) Received a $50 fine and a suspended sentence of 30 days.
Why not just sell licenses for $50 for the right to fornicate in an alley?
* Henry Coleman Smith, 27, loitered with intent to sell drugs. Walked away from officers, threw a bag of marijuana, but was arrested. He pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to no time in jail. He paid a $100 fine.
Why not just sell licenses for $100 for the right to sell marijuana on a public street?
* Kathleen Margaret Croud, 43. I strongly suspect this is the identity of "Kathy the Prostitute," who constantly hangs around with Khameron NMN Lake and makes life difficult in our neighborhood with her constant druggie and prostitution activity. We can't seem to get rid of her.
And after seeing the sentence dished out by the court system, I can understand why. For loitering at 31st Ave. N. and 4th St. N., where the officers said she often loiters, with a crack pipe sticking out an inch from the top of her jeans pocket, she was fined $50 and sentenced to 90 days in jail--all of which was stayed.
She was also credited for 2 days. Does that mean she has a credit balance for her next jail sentence?
The prosecutor was Eileen J. Strejc, the Honorable Judge was Jack S. Nordby.
*Richard Lee Taylor, 40, was caught at 430 30th Ave. N. (This is on my block) The officers went to that address with a person to "retrieve his property," and upon entering the building found three people inside, including Richard L. Taylor.
The house was full of items which did not belong to the victim, including stuff the officers described as tools "commonly used for burglaries" along with jewelry, electronic items.
Taylor pleaded guilty. The Judge was the Honorable Lloyd B. Zimmerman. The prosecutor was Kristi M. Lassegard. Taylor was fined $50 and sentenced to 60 days, all of which was stayed.
Why not just sell a license? $50 to live in somebody else's house with your burglary tools.
In an entirely different incident of trespass at 3023 4th St. N., (again in my area) Taylor pleaded guilty before Judge Hopper, prosecuted by Laufele Murphy. He paid a $50 fine and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all of which was suspended, with "2 days credited" for the time he spent in jail.
* "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU GUNNA DO?" shouted Ray Charles Hinton to police officers. The answer, as it turned out, was. "Fine you $300 and make you spend 3 days in jail for obstructing legal process, disorderly conduct, and 5th Degree assault. If that's not too much bother, sir."
You know, I've got some people in my life who are upsetting to me, and this sounds like a real bargain, I must say! To whom do I write out a check?
Here's the incident at 2917 4th St. N. as described by the police. Police were called because Hinton was "pounding on the vehicle" of his girlfriend, while the girlfriend--afraid--was locked in her bathroom. When officers arrived, Hinton shouted his statement, above. At this point the victim came out, yelling for officers to "take him to jail." Hinton threw his cigarette at the victim and then "lunged at officers." Officers threw him back up against the vehicle.
Hinton tried to hit Officer Powell in the face with his left elbow. Officers fought Hinton, repeatedly advising him to stop resisting, and used a Taser on him. It took "several officers" to restrain Hinton, even after being Tasered. He was finally handcuffed and put in the squad car.
Based on what I know of human nature, I'm guessing the lovely couple got back together. The Honorable Judge in this case was Patricia Kerr Karasov, the prosecutor was Eileen J. Strejc.
* Marcus NMN Townsend. For loitering to buy drugs at 2027 2nd St. N, trying to swallow suspected crack cocaine, and being in possession of a crack pipe, Townsend was sentenced to ZERO days in jail and NO FINE.
He did, in fact, actually spend 10 days in jail. The prosecutor was Christopher J. Dixon, the Honorable Judge was George F. McGunnigle.
* Antonio Lamaurs Porter, 22, loitered to deal narcotics near Stand Up Frank's with a rock of suspected crack cocaine inside his blue stocking cap. (2027 2nd St. N.) For this he paid a $50 fine and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but all 90 was stayed and he was credited for 8 days. The prosecutor was Strejc, the judge was Jack S. Nordby.
I have an idea. Let Antonio L. Porter pay his $50 fine with five "rocks" of cocaine. When in court, he has to take off his stocking cap, anyway. He could reach in the cap and say, "I have it right here, Your Honor, sir."
* Anthony D. Vanlear, 44, trespassed at 1504 Irving Ave. N. Prosecuted by Herland before Judge Lloyd B. Zimmerman. Sentenced to 30 days, but 28 stayed, 2 executed, 2 credited)
Oh, and a $50 fine. Did I mention that whole "pay in convenient rock cocaine" idea?
* Sergio NMN Scott, 25, trespassed to occupy a locked, posted building at 2024 Willow Avenue North. Pleaded guilty. Heidi L. Johnston was the prosecutor, Hopper was the judge. Sentenced to 60 days with 56 stayed, 1 day credited, and a $50 fine.
* Dervon Chantoine Smith, 20, not old enough to drink but plenty old enough to loiter to buy/sell narcotics at the intersection of Lowry Ave. N. and Dupont Ave. N. The prosecutor was Flavio S. De Abrue, the judged was Zimmerman. Smith was fined $50 and given a 90 day suspended sentence, apparently doing no jail time at all.
* Maurice Levell Cooper, 25, ILLINOIS DOESN'T WANT HIM BACK.
This guy was in a parking lot at 26th Ave. N. and Penn Ave. N., loitering to buy/sell narcotics. He saw a squad car and tried to flee on his bike, then dropped the bike and fled on foot. He had marijuana in his possession and a felony warrant from Illinois, though he had no identity and could not be positively verified for that reason. He was booked but Illinois didn't want him back, wouldn't extradite for the felony warrant.
My idea: drive him to Illinois and call the local police to take him into custody.
* Terrel Shavon Lewis, 23, case dismissed for "insufficient evidence" by the county attorney. Apparently, the sworn statement of officers was not enough evidence. Here is what the police swore happened at 2406 Lowry Avenue North.
Officers were dispatched to the listed address on a domestic assault abuse in progress. Upon arrival, officers encountered a very hostile family with over a dozen people inside the house. While officers were attempting to find the victim in the house, the family was being verbally abusive with officers and requested that officers leave because they didn't have a warrant.
Arrested Party Phillips was yelling at the other family members to make the cops leave. At this point, officers located the victim and while officers were attempting to have the victim step out of the house into a safer environment, Phillips stuck out her arm and said, "Nuh, uh, you ain't leaving and these police can't be here."
Phillips continued to summon other family members including several large men into the room and asked them to remove my partner from the house. Fearing that (Phillips) would be starting a riot and endangering my partner and I, my partner attempted to escort (Phillips) from the house. At this time, Phillips pushed back and my partner and pulled away from my partner.
Phillips pushed my partner back several times, and another male, Lewis, layed [sic] on top of (Phillips) to prevent officers from picking her up off the couch. Due to the fact officers were surrounded by several angry subjects and that Phillips was not cooperating with officers' orders, Phillips was warned several times she would be Tased if she did not comply. Phillips did not comply and she was Tased.
As Phillips was being Tased, Lewis began to pull the Taser probes out of Phillips. Phillips then attempted to get up off the couch and came at me in a threatening manner and she was Tased a second time. Phillips was booked for obstruction of legal process with force.
* Bryon Kieth Lloyd, 32, who kicked Officer Steward in the leg (twice) during a domestic incident at 3415 Oliver Ave. N. was fined $375 and had a 90 day jail sentence stayed, though apparently did 8 days, for which he was credited. In the course of this incident, children were crying and officers saw Lloyd pushing a female up against a wall.
The prosecutor was Jennifer A. Saunders, the judge was Regina M. Chu.
* Bobby Earl Johnson, 44, according to the sworn statement of an officer tried to take a swing at officers in an incident at 2900 Queen Avenue North. Johnson is a known crack cocaine user and this was a suspicious vehicle stop.
The prosecutor was Paula J. Kruchowski and the judge was Hopper. The matter was dismissed by the County Attorney for insufficient evidence.
* Lee Bradford Wright, 22, ran away from officers responding to a 911 hangup who observed "5 fresh bullet holes" through the front window. There was another arrest at the scene and a .40 semi automatic pistol and a 12 gauge shotgun were recovered.
Johnston was the prosecutor, Hopper the judge. The penalty for this good clean fun with firearms was a suspended 45 day sentence and a fine of $50.
Perhaps Wright could pay his fine in bullets. You know, in early colonial America, bullets were sometimes used as currency! And--take my word on this--$50 won't buy you too many bullets to conveniently carry around.
* Rafael Joseph Peil, 24, paid a $50 fine and had a 45 day sentence--all suspended--for drunkenly banging on the door of a terrified senior citizen who lives alone, saying he thought the house belonged to his "home girl." It was nighttime, and he also kicked on the door. Peil was intoxicated and uncooperative with police.
I'm sure a $50 fine and no jail time taught him a harsh lesson about terrifying a senior citizen. The prosecutor was Cantu, the judge was Hopper.
* Kenyatta Antonio Hartfield, 33, was found inside a vacant house (2718 Queen Ave. N.) with three other persons, two of which had felony warrants. He was charged with trespassing. The charge was dismissed for "insufficient evidence." The prosecutor was Clair F. Cole, the judge was Zimmerman.
* Loren Dean Ratka, 29. What is the penalty for being involved with a burglary, and attempting to flee police? Apparently it is a rather confusing fine, as follows:
60 day sentence: 5 executed, 55 stayed, 1 credited. $50 fine, $125 executed, zero stayed, zero suspended.
I'm all mixed up, here. The police owe this man $75? And he had another four days to serve?
It's an amazingly minor sentence for being caught supposedly dead-to-rights in the middle of a burglary, and trying to get away from police.
* Antione Antonio Jones, 27, tried to kick in the rear door of a victim's house and was arrested for "domestic assault 5," but apparently charged with disorderly conduct. His 30 day sentence was all stayed, though he was credited two days, and fined $50.
Prosecutor was Jennifer A. Saunders, the judge was the Honorable Janet N. Poston.
In my experience, $50 isn't enough to buy a decent door.
* Louis Redus Jordan, 52, apparently doesn't believe in paying for things, not even "penny candy" at Cub Foods, 701 Broadway Ave. N.
Jordan tried to swipe two handfuls of "bulk candy," but was apprehended by a store employee named Faulkingham and a security guard named Patterson, who had Jordan in handcuffs. It turns out Jordan had been "trespassed" from that location about three months earlier, and he also had a misdemeanor bench warrant for fleeing a police officer...oh, and he ALSO had a GM Bench Warrant for theft.
He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, but 59 days were stayed and he was credited for one day. In other words...he walked away. Really, it would have cost the system less if the police had given Jordan two handfuls of candy and said, "Just leave."
* Theresa Lynn Jordan, 49, caught red-handed stealing scrap metal by crawling through an opening in a fence at a scrapyard, 1728 2nd Street N. She also admitted stealing from this business in the past.
Prosecutor was Clair F. Cole, the judge was the Honorable Philip D. Bush. Jordan paid a $50 fine and got a 45 day sentence, all stayed.
Maybe the system could make itself more convenient by letting folks pay in stolen copper pipe.
* Dartanion Dwayne Hill, 20, was observed dealing narcotics (as he has a history of doing) at 2700 Plymouth Ave. N. The prosecutor was Cantu, the judge was Hopper.
The price for dealing narcotics (repeatedly) is, in this instance, 3 days in jail (with three credited) and a $50 fine, but the fine is suspended.
Thus, "catch and release."
* Kimberly Dawn Anderson, 44, is another great example of "catch and release." She was caught with a crack pipe and suspected marijuana cigarette at 2511 Penn Ave. N.
There was zero monetary fine for this, and a sentence of 30 days, but with 25 days stayed, 5 executed, five credited.
* Belinda Fay Blakemore, 51, is an example of inexplicable "dismissal for insufficient evidence."
Blakemore was found standing at an intersection, flagging down vehicles in a "high prostitution and narcotic activity area." (27th Ave. N. and Penn Ave. N) Officers made contact with her, and she admitted having a crack pipe in her purse. She placed it on the hood of the squad car, and officers saw two crack pipes in plain view.
Yet it was dismissed for "lack of evidence." Proof, perhaps, that the Crack Demon watches out for those who love and serve him all day long. The prosecutor was Jodi L. Furness, the judge was Zimmerman.
* Lee Van Lewis, 49, pleaded guilty to possessing drug paraphernalia in a public place and lurking with intent. Not to worry--! Prosecuted by Herland before Judge Hopper, good ol' Lee van Lewis was fined $50 and given a 30 day sentence, all stayed.
Perhaps some of these users could "pay in paraphernalia?" Really, $50 will buy--what? Basically 10 low-quality crack pipes? And five higher-quality crack pipes?
* Brandon Dontae Fondren, 30, pleaded guilty to loitering to buy/sell narcotics at 3534 Morgan Ave. N. The prosecutor was Heidi L. Johnston, the judge was Hopper. He was given a $50 fine (all $50 was stayed) and sentenced to 2 days, with credit for 2 days.
Catch--! And release!
* Here's a good example of a repeat criminal. Lorenzo Daniel White currently has 9 open cases against him. Eight of the cases are for trespassing, and one is for loitering to buy/sell narcotics. He also has a bench warrant for trespass. So that's 10 items in the system.
Here are the places where White likes to trespass or loiter.
40 24th Ave. N. (Twice). 2638 James Ave. N. (three times) 10th Street N. (Yeah, he likes to loiter to buy and sell on the whole street, apparently) 600 Hennepin Ave. S., 2116 Lake St. E., 101 9th St. N., and 950 Hawthorne Ave.
White appears to be a prime example of how "slap on the wrist" fines and "catch and release" just produce repeat criminals.
I don't know what to think about all this. It is disturbing. It makes me start to question the point of calling 911. Also, I can't say if this is really a "North Side" phenomenon. It just so happens I focused intensely on the crime in the Fourth Precinct, because that's where I have my property. Yet it may be "slap on the wrist" is the standard for all of Minneapolis.
In classes at the Humphrey Institute, I've heard caterwauling about the "stiffer penalties" for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine. And I ask...huh?!!! WHERE?!