Category Archives: crime

Austin is trying to deter crime the ‘Minority Report’ way

By shifting money from policing to encouraging abortions, Austin is fulfilling the eugenicists’ dream of a world in which no criminals exist.

The Minority Report was a 2002 movie (based upon a Philip K. Dick short story). The premise was that law enforcement had moved to a point at which it was able to arrest murderers before they committed their crimes. Tom Cruise was a police officer who found himself accused of a future murder.

It occurred to me that, in a weird way, Austin, Texas, is embarking on the same kind of futuristic law enforcement effort — and I mean “futuristic” as in it’s decided to use its money to deter future criminals rather than using its money to deal with present crime.

Austin, the most leftist city in Texas, is having a serious murder problem:

Analysis conducted by the Wall Street Journal found that homicides have spiked in 36 of the nation’s 50 largest cities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to WSJ’s data, Austin leads the country in percentage increase of total homicides compared to the previous year, ahead of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

In response, the city council made an interesting decision. Instead of beefing up it law enforcement budget, it cut that budget and channeled the money to beefing up abortion:

The Austin City Council voted unanimously Thursday to gut its police budget. The Austin Police Department, which is already about 200 officers below full strength, will have its budget cut by one-third.

[snip]

Not only will defunding police get innocent people killed, but the city council doubled down on that: Some of the funds that would have been devoted to law enforcement will be diverted to cover abortion in the city.

The proposal to cut police funding by about one-third of its total $434 million budget calls for immediately cutting around $21.5 million from the department. This would include reallocating these funds to areas like violence prevention, food access, and abortion access programs.

Margaret Sanger, racist founder of Planned Parenthood, undoubtedly would approve.

Bryan Preston, who wrote the above post, believes that it’s about money and power. Having relayed the facts about Austin’s financing decisions, he adds:

In crass political terms, the Austin City Council has moved public funds from police, who tend to be conservative, over to abortionists, who tend to pour millions of dollars into Democrat campaigns.

I’m sure that’s one element of the Council’s decision-making. However, I couldn’t help but think that there’s a Minority Report element here too. Think back to the single most quoted point from Steven Levitt’s and Stephen Dubner’s entertaining and thought-provoking book from 2005, Freakonomics.

In the introduction to their book, the authors talked about the massive drop in crime during the 1990s. They note that experts talked about a good economy, gun control laws, and innovative policing, which saw murders in New York fall from a high of 2,262 in 1990 to a low (as of the book’s publication) of 540 in 2005. These theories, though, say the authors, had a problem: “they weren’t true.” (p. 3.)

What really dropped crime levels, said Levitt and Dubner, was Roe v. Wade, in 1963, which made abortion legal:

So how did Roe v. Wade help trigger, a generation later, the greatest crime drop in recorded history?

As far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children are born equal. Not even close. Decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family environment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. And the millions of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of Roe v. Wade—poor, unmarried, and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get—were often models of adversity. They were the very women whose children, if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals. But because of Roe v. Wade, these children weren’t being born. This powerful cause would have a drastic, distant effect: years later, just as these unborn children would have entered their criminal primes, the rate of crime began to plummet. It wasn’t gun control or a strong economy or new police strategies that finally blunted the American crime wave. It was, among other factors, the reality that the pool of potential criminals had dramatically shrunk. (p. 4.)

Aborting criminals before they commit crime was a principle that Ruth Bader Ginsburg supported. During a 2009 interview, she made clear her belief that Roe v. Wade, had it been implemented equally all over America and had federal funds been used to advance abortion, that would have cut down on criminals (emphasis mine):

Ginsburg: The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.

Emily Bazelon: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

Ginsburg: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the Court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

Looking only at the highlighted language, people have accused Ginsburg of racial eugenism. That’s not a fair accusation. What she stands guilty of is broader than that. She supports the original eugenism. This was an ideology that hated everyone who destroyed the perfect world that America’s white, college-educated, middle- and upper-classes at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century thought was within their reach.

If you go back and read Sanger or any of the other American eugenicists, you discover that, while they were happy to lump blacks, Italians, and other races into the list of populations they wanted to shrink, their real goal was to get rid of crime. For example, Jean Webster, a Vassar-educated Fabian socialist, writing in 1915 in her epistolary novel, Dear Enemy, made the classic early-20th-century progressive intellectual’s argument for stopping the “feebleminded” (emphasis mine):

It seems that feeblemindedness is a very hereditary quality, and science isn’t able to overcome it. No operation has been discovered for introducing brains into the head of a child who didn’t start with them. And the child grows up with, say, a nine-year brain in a thirty-year body, and becomes an easy tool for any criminal he meets. Our prisons are one-third full of feeble-minded convicts. Society ought to segregate them on feeble-minded farms, where they can earn their livings in peaceful menial pursuits, and not have children. Then in a generation or so we might be able to wipe them out.

There you have it: Better living through science (and carefully targeted murder). Americans were receptive to these arguments phrased, as they were, for the greater betterment of society. In the first third of the 20th century, as Dinesh D’Sousa compellingly shows in The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left, progressives made a lot of headway sterilizing the “unfit”:

“America led the way in legalizing and promoting coerced eugenic sterilizations,” historian Angela Franks writes. [fn. omitted.] Progressives had their first success in 1907 when Indiana passed a law requiring sterilization of “confirmed criminals, idiots, imbeciles and rapists.” Over the next thirty years, twenty-six other states passed similar laws. In the early 1930s, when the Nazis came to power, American states were sterilizing 2,000 to 4,000 people a year. In all, around 65,000 people were sterilized against their will as a consequence of progressive eugenic legislation in the United States. (D’Souza, Dinesh. The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left, Kindle Locations 2579-2583. Regnery Publishing.)

There’s no doubt, as I said, that the eugenicists considered blacks and other “dark” races presumptively unfit, but the cultural purity that fueled their dreams went far beyond race. They imagined a world in which forced sterilization and abortion would prevent or end the lives of all babies whose mothers or fathers were criminals, alcoholics, drug abusers, or even “low-IQ” individuals.

I think that it’s this kind of cultural (not racial) purification that lurks behind the Austin City Council’s decision to divert money from policing to a radically backward form of crime prevention: As far as the Council is concerned, in a few years, Austin won’t need police. Through the city’s affirmative abortion policies (which sees the city actively pushing women into abortion mills), future policing will take care of itself. Austin has gone one step beyond the Minority Report. Rather than catching people before they commit a crime, the city is completely removing those people from the gene pool.

Image: A modification of Baby Face by Asvar Aras; CC Share Alice 4.0 International license.

Hillary Clinton: Everyone Has The Right To Immigrate To America!

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-8-52-45-pm

By: Mike McDaniel   The United States of America is without peer in generosity, not only of pocketbook, but of spirit. No nation in history has been as altruistic, and as willing to sacrifice blood and treasure for the welfare of others. We give foreign aid–at last count just under $50 billion per year–to 96% of all nations in the world. The amount is likely considerably larger as the means for determining what, exactly, is “foreign aid” are remarkably flexible.

Go here to read the rest…

What About a Youthful Offender Statute similar to Alabama and/or Florida?

I am interested in overcriminalization.  I think legislatures tend to not trust judges with sentencing decisions.  What should be done is more judicial discretion and then make sure solid discreet men and women should be appointed to the bench as a priority.

In my efforts to try to find opportunities to give chances to young offenders to reform and repent rather than incarceration (the system that has obviously failed in this nation) I came up with the grand larceny threshold (not claiming it as my idea – I learned it as a member of the Richmond Crusade for Voters which I think I still am!) that I advocated at this blog today.

Now I found this statute recently:  The Alabama Youthful Offender Act.  Here’s the first and next to last section of this statute:

(a) A person charged with a crime which was committed in his minority but was not disposed of in juvenile court and which involves moral turpitude or is subject to a sentence of commitment for one year or more shall, and, if charged with a lesser crime may be investigated and examined by the court to determine whether he should be tried as a youthful offender, provided he consents to such examination and to trial without a jury where trial by jury would otherwise be available to him. If the defendant consents and the court so decides, no further action shall be taken on the indictment or information unless otherwise ordered by the court as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) After such investigation and examination, the court, in its discretion, may direct that the defendant be arraigned as a youthful offender, and no further action shall be taken on the indictment or information; or the court may decide that the defendant shall not be arraigned as a youthful offender, whereupon the indictment or information shall be deemed filed.

***

(a) No determination made under the provisions of this chapter shall disqualify any youth for public office or public employment, operate as a forfeiture of any right or privilege or make him ineligible to receive any license granted by public authority, and such determination shall not be deemed a conviction of crime; provided, however, that if he is subsequently convicted of crime, the prior adjudication as youthful offender shall be considered.

(b) The fingerprints and photographs and other records of a person adjudged a youthful offender shall not be open to public inspection; provided, however, that the court may, in its discretion, permit the inspection of papers or records.

What this means is if an offender is under 21 (the age of majority at the time this law was passed and apparently that is what the Alabama Supreme Court held in 1997) and the offender is placed in the Youthful Offender status, and IF the offender complies with all terms, the offense is treated as if it was not an conviction (except for sentencing for a future offense, if any) and he or she is not a felon.  they can vote, hold office and be a upright citizen of the state and nation.  (I am not sure how this law affects the right under Federal law to own or possess a firearm.)

Florida has a similar law.  This is the pertinent section of this statute:

958.04 Judicial disposition of youthful offenders.

(1) The court may sentence as a youthful offender any person:

(a) Who is at least 18 years of age or who has been transferred for prosecution to the criminal division of the circuit court pursuant to chapter 985;
(b) Who is found guilty of or who has tendered, and the court has accepted, a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to a crime that is, under the laws of this state, a felony if the offender is younger than 21 years of age at the time sentence is imposed; and
(c) Who has not previously been classified as a youthful offender under the provisions of this act; however, a person who has been found guilty of a capital or life felony may not be sentenced as a youthful offender under this act.

(2) In lieu of other criminal penalties authorized by law and notwithstanding any imposition of consecutive sentences, the court shall dispose of the criminal case as follows:

(a) The court may place a youthful offender under supervision on probation or in a community control program, with or without an adjudication of guilt, under such conditions as the court may lawfully impose for a period of not more than 6 years. Such period of supervision may not exceed the maximum sentence for the offense for which the youthful offender was found guilty.  (Blogger’s note:  Words bolded were done by me)

 

The records of a youthful offender are sealed as well.  I draw your attention to the bolded words:  “with or without an adjudication of guilt”.  Now I am not allowed to practice law in Florida but I would say if a Virginia law had words like that it means that if the court chooses, he or she may give the adult but youthful offender the chance to keep his or her record clean.  (There is a fierce debate among and between the judiciary and the General Assembly about diversion of adult felonies in cases where the statute does not specifically authorize it.)  The Florida law states that only capital or felonies with a maximum life sentence are beyond the reach of this law.

What’s the point Sanders?  I would not say Florida or Alabama are liberal jurisdictions (although Florida is more progressive than Alabama by far!) yet they found these laws to be helpful to the administration of justice.  It might be good incentive to give some young adult offenders a one time chance (especially if it is a non-violent offense) to keep a record clean.

Perhaps it might be good to study these laws (another study bill!) or even discuss and debate a Virginia Youthful Offender Act.  (We have acts for such offenders in this Commonwealth but they do not expunge or seal a record but rather mitigate the sentence to boot camp or similar program.)  I am not yet advocating such a law or how far the law should go but overcriminalization and incarceration needs new answers.  This post could start such a debate.

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Time to Consider Raising the Grand Larceny Threshold

Yet another area I have become keenly interested in is the grand larceny threshold.  Part of overcriminalization is the proliferation of felony offenses that then bar offenders from voting and some professions.

The value threshold that converts larceny (common law term for theft) from a misdemeanor to a felony is only $200 and that has not been changed since the 80s.  Other states have increased their felony threshold to at least $500 and some much more (and I looked up the statute for each state cited!):

  • DC – $1000
  • MD – Also $1000
  • NC – Also a grand (So is West Virginia!)
  • Delaware – $1500
  • PA is a whopping $2000!

Even Alabama has a $500 threshold, Mississippi a thousand dollars, Georgia $1500 and South Carolina is $2000!

In light of that, Republican Senator Reeves introduced this bill raising the grand larceny threshold to $500:

SB 23 Grand larceny; increases threshold amount of money taken, etc.

Introduced by: Bryce E. Reeves | all patrons    …    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:

Grand larceny; threshold. Increases from $200 to $500 the threshold amount of money taken or value of goods or chattel taken at which the crime rises from petit larceny to grand larceny. The bill increases the threshold by the same amount for the classification of certain property crimes.

The other patron is my new hero, Del. Sam Rasoul!  The costs of felony prosecutions are greater by definition than misdemeanor ones (the payment for the court-appointed attorney is generally larger to start with) and it would place the Old Dominion in line with most of its sister states, even Deep South ones like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.

I invite the members of the General Assembly to “steal” this idea and at least raise the threshold to $500 (I think $1500 or $2000 is too much – maybe $1000 is about right but $500 is a good start.) and prevent some future over-criminalization.  My next blog entry might shock the readers and the General Assembly!

 

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders