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Horowitz: NY judge releases juvenile murder suspect a second time? — after he allegedly stabbed a woman

It’s a good thing for young Jordon Benjamin that he is not a restaurant owner trying to earn a living and opening his establishment in defiance of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s unconstitutional orders. In that case, he’d actually get locked up. But unfortunately for society, murder and stabbing are not considered high-level crimes sufficient to lock up juvenile suspects like Benjamin in today’s version of “justice” in the Big Apple.

For the past year, I’ve been gathering stories from New York where violent criminals are released from jail only to commit more violent crimes. Now, we will have to create a special section for those released a second time, even after committing an additional violent crime after the first release.

Benjamin is accused of stomping 60-year-old Juan Fresnada to death for 15 minutes on Christmas Eve 2019 together with a few friends after mugging him for just one dollar cash. One of the adult suspects was held without bail. Sixteen-year-old Benjamin was initially charged with second-degree murder and gang assault and was confined to a juvenile facility in Brooklyn, New York. However, like so many violent criminals, Benjamin was set free this past March by Supreme Court Justice Denis Boyle due to – you guessed it – coronavirus. Because, after all, in the minds of these perverted judges, there is a greater threat of a 16-year-old dying from coronavirus in juvenile detention than of an extremely violent youth victimizing someone else on the street.

Except, of course, the opposite is true. On Dec. 14, Benjamin allegedly stabbed Amya Hicks in the stomach as part of a random attack near his Bronx home. The young woman had to undergo surgery for her wounds, but by the time she got out of the hospital, Justice Denis Boyle had already sprung Benjamin from jail again, according to the New York Post.

It’s unclear whether COVID was the consideration for release the second time or if this judge in general simply doesn’t believe juveniles can be a threat to the public.

Oh, and on top of Benjamin being out of jail, he will now have access to all the personal information of his victim, Amya Hicks. The new jailbreak law signed by the governor in 2019 allows criminal defendants to access all information of witnesses and victims within 15 days of the arraignment, thereby aggravating the anti-bail provision. The same criminal defendants now out on the streets immediately after violently attacking people also have more access to potential witnesses than ever before — while out of jail. Hicks lives just two blocks from where Benjamin and his gang hang out, according to her mother.

Our broken juvenile system is perhaps the greatest threat to our streets today. The system gets more and more lenient while so many youths become more violent than even adults at an increasingly young age. The less they are deterred, the more violent they get and the more their younger brothers learn that crime pays.

Nearly 40 years ago, President Reagan’s Task Force on Victims of Crime presciently observed in its final report, “A substantial proportion of the violent crime in this country is committed by juveniles, who are becoming more violent at an increasingly early age.”

The problem has gotten exponentially worse in recent years. Juveniles essentially never serve time and are back on the streets to victimize more people, often involving roving gangs of 5-15 hardened and fully grown men in all but name only. “Armed robbery, rape, and murder cannot be laid at the door of mere immaturity or youthful exuberance,” warned Reagan’s Task Force. “The victims of these crimes are no less traumatized because the offender was under age.”

Earlier this year, a teen who killed a senior in a knockout attack at the Frederick County Fairgrounds in Maryland as part of a massive group attack received zero prison time.

Have you heard a single Republican call for a task force for victims of crime and to specifically address the leaky juvenile justice system? Where is the dialogue about true “criminal justice reform” in the way Reagan used the term in 1982 — on behalf of victims of crime?

New York City alone has seen a 103% increase in shootings this year. Across the country, 51 major cities have experienced an average homicide increase of 31% over 2019. Yet both parties — to varying degrees — are focused on the police as the problem, not on the criminals and the policies behind releasing them, which include coronavirus jailbreak. Meanwhile, in 2018, there were just five killings by the NYPD, compared to 93 in 1971.

So why is the negative public policy focus all on the positive trajectory of police shootings and not on the negative trajectory of crime and homicides? Because neither party represents the people. They just sent tens of billions of dollars to the very cities that have shut down our lives while using the virus to release these dangerous criminals.

Victims of crime, taxpayers, and business owners simply don’t have a seat at the table in this two-tiered justice system supported by the uniparty controlling our government.

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Horowitz: Chicago man wanted in double homicide was recently released on bail for reckless homicide, gun offenses

Jessica Beal and her brother, Damian Beal, are the latest black victims of the jailbreak “criminal justice reform” agenda promoted by Black Lives Matter, which ensures that dangerous criminals like Clarence Hebron are not behind bars.

While liberals living in suburbia enjoyed their Thanksgiving week vacation, people living in America’s major urban areas experienced more violence at the hands of undeterred repeat violent offenders. On Nov. 27, Chicago police put out an AMBER alert after 1-year-old K’marion Hebron was abducted at his house, which was the scene of a double homicide that included his mother, Jessica Beal, and her brother, Damian, as the victims. Police believe that the boy’s father, Clarence Hebron, who is Beal’s ex-husband, was responsible for the homicides and the initial abduction. The baby was later dropped off at a Riverside police station and was unharmed.

Who is Clarence Hebron? CWB Chicago, which closely monitors crime in America’s murder capital, noticed the picture of Hebron released by police was identical to a mug shot of him from April 2019.

After digging into his history, CWB Chicago discovered that Hebron, 32, had been in jail in 2019 for allegedly killing a woman while fleeing police and for two separate Class X felony armed habitual criminal gun crimes. So why was he out free? One of those notorious Cook County judges agreed to release him on just $15,000 bond in July!

Hebron was charged on April 18, 2019, for reportedly hitting a woman with his vehicle while fleeing police and driving with a suspended license. While Hebron had been released in the prior months after two separate gun charges, the judge finally decided to keep him locked up after he was charged with reckless homicide by motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing causing bodily injury, and driving on a revoked license resulting in injury or death.

However, the pressure to release criminals has been strong in recent months. Three days after Hebron’s lawyers filed a motion to have his bail reduced, Cook County Judge Dennis Porter agreed to lower the bail to just $50,000 each for the three offenses, allowing him to go free on a $15,000 cash payment (10% of the total bail). As of this writing, police are still looking for him in connection to the double homicide on Nov. 27.

Hebron was out free while awaiting trial for two counts of Class X armed habitual criminal, five counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and four counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. This is the quintessential rap sheet of so many criminals who are released these days only to go on and commit homicide months later. This, at its core, is why homicide is skyrocketing in most major cities, with some of them approaching new records.

We often hear tear-jerking stories about incarceration taking fathers out of homes, but violent fathers should be outside the homes, as this 1-year-old child will tragically learn when he discovers he has no mother. Repeat violent offenders need to be locked up — plain and simple.

It’s not clear if COVID was a consideration in Hebron’s release four months ago, but criminals have been released because of the virus and for other reasons en masse. At the same time, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is threatening residents with jail time if they simply breathe free air or live their lives. “We will shut you down, we will cite you, and if we need to, we will arrest you,” the mayor said back in May in a threat she is ratcheting up again during the holiday season.

When have you ever heard her speak this assertively and threateningly to violent criminals? Instead, she uses the same virus that is an excuse to suspend civil liberties and criminalize human life as a pretext to release legitimate career criminals.

Tragically, we saw another appalling example of jailbreak in St. Paul, Minnesota, another hotbed of criminality and coronavirus fascism. Antoine Lorenzo Powell, 34, was arrested for allegedly murdering a 41-year-old women in St. Paul on Sept. 3. According to eyewitnesses, a man who matched Powell’s description shot Annamarie Wagener six times in the chest while she was at home and then stole her gun from her waistband. There is no known motive yet, but an informant told police that Powell had been part of a shooting just seven hours before in North Minneapolis, where detectives later discovered shell casings matching the gun used to murder Wagener.

Here’s the twisted irony. According to the charging document, Powell stole Wagener’s gun from her waistband after she was killed. She had recently obtained a carry permit “because the area where she lived wasn’t safe.”

Well, why wasn’t the area safe? Because criminals weren’t behind bars. It turns out that Powell was wearing an ankle bracelet because he was on parole, which is partially why they were able to place him at the scene of the crime and gather enough evidence to charge him for the murder two and a half months later. But as is always the case, ankle bracelets are worthless in prospectively deterring criminals from committing murder. It turns out, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, that Powell “has an extensive criminal record in Minnesota that includes convictions for firearms, assault, controlled substances, drunken driving and other offenses.”

The bottom line is that the same people who push gun control on law-abiding citizens are also releasing gun felons en masse. We also see that career gun and drug felons are not “low-level, non-violent offenders,” but the quintessential criminals who go on to commit murder.

Supporters of de-incarceration like to point out that prison fails to rehabilitate these sorts of criminals. But letting them out on the streets most certainly fails to rehabilitate them, while, unlike when they are confined, enabling them to act on their unrehabilitated instincts.

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Horowitz: Over-incarceration problem? DOJ report: Through 2019, imprisonment at lowest rate since 1995 — with skyrocketing crime

One of the more bizarre, yet overlooked exchanges during last Thursday’s presidential debate was when both Trump and Biden seemed to attack each over who supports letting more criminals out of prison. Rather than debating how to lower rising crime rates, they both seemed to buy into the premise of record high incarceration, especially among blacks. They likely were unaware that the Bureau of Justice Statistics had just released a report showing the entire premise of their debate was outdated. The incarceration rate has long since plummeted, and not surprisingly, crime is rising in numerous parts of the country.

Just hours before Thursday’s debate, the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics released its 2019 report on the prison population and revealed astounding statistics you will never hear in the media or from the mouth of pro-criminal politicians. Among the most startling findings was that the combined state and federal prison imprisonment rate is the lowest it’s been since 1995.

Contrary to those who think we have record incarceration, the imprisonment rate actually peaked in 2009 and has been going down every year since. Over the past decade, the portion of U.S. residents who are in prison has dropped 17% overall. Shocking anyone who listens to liberal politicians in both parties decry the incarceration of “people of color,” the imprisonment rate has actually plummeted 29% among black residents (32% among black adults) and 24% among Hispanic residents. Do you know what that means? According to the BJS, “In 2019, the imprisonment rate of black residents was the lowest rate in 30 years, since 1989.”

Remember, this report does not capture the numbers from this year, when states unprecedentedly released well over 100,000 prisoners because of the coronavirus and declined to initially incarcerate countless other new offenders who would have been locked up under normal circumstances. Thus, the current incarceration rate is likely much lower.

Moreover, recent laws abolishing bail, making it harder to land convictions, early release, and numerous parole programs have created a cascade of leniencies throughout the system that will likely drop the numbers precipitously in the coming years – even if none of the additional leniencies being advocated for are successfully implemented.

Accordingly, the dishonest politicians are promoting these new ideas as if we have record incarceration, while the public is unaware of the fact that the incarceration numbers have already plummeted. How many Americans know that the black incarceration rate is the lowest it has been in three decades?

Nearly every dead body discovered in places like Chicago, increasingly including children, by the way, is someone whom the media now calls “a person of color.” Why is crime suddenly going up after years of decreasing? Well, likely for the same reason why it went down beginning in the mid-1990s after years of increasing. The crime rate works inversely with the incarceration rate. And the people who pay for these jailbreak policies most are not those who live in gated communities. When authorities release criminals, regardless of their identity, those who live in predominantly African-American neighborhoods will pay the price in blood.

Why are so many Chicago neighborhoods a shooting gallery every weekend? The Illinois incarceration population has plummeted by 52% since fiscal year 2013. Why are New York subways becoming magnets for violence? NYPD subway arrests plummeted by 80% and summonses dropped by 95% in August compared with the year before. The city and state have engaged in unprecedented prison releases over the past year. The number of shooting incidents in the city increased 127% in September over the same period last year.

It doesn’t take a forensic criminologist to discover the culprit and connect the cause and effect. With reversed incarceration levels to those of the high-crime era of the early 1990s, it’s not hard to see why crime will begin rising to those levels again. Many cities are already experiencing homicide rates not seen since, you guessed it, the early 1990s – before we began “mass incarceration.” What we “benefit” in reduced numbers in prison, we ultimately pay for with increased dead bodies on the streets.

The reality is, with few exceptions, there are no “first-time, low-level” offenders sitting in prison, and there weren’t even during the peak of incarceration last decade. So many violent repeat offenders get off with a slap on the wrist.

Those who ultimately make it to prison are generally the worst offenders. The reality is that what drives America’s relatively high incarceration rate, particularly among black criminals, is not nebulous crimes, but violent crimes, which will be borne disproportionately by black victims of crime. According to this new BJS report, among sentenced state prisoners at year-end 2018, a larger percentage of black (62%) and Hispanic (62%) prisoners than white prisoners (48%) were serving time for a violent offense. And the bulk of those in there for other crimes were previously locked up for violent crimes or were incarcerated for violating the terms of probation on prior underlying crimes that were violent or high-level.

Also, there were nearly twice as many black prisoners as white prisoners serving time for murder in state prisons, even though white people are five and a half times greater in population. A higher percentage of white prisoners than black prisoners were serving time for drug and property offenses. Just 3% of black prisoners were locked up because of drug possession convictions, but nearly all of those were likely pled down or had a serious prior rap sheet.

It’s incontrovertibly clear that what is driving the higher black incarceration rate (which itself is at a three-decade low) has nothing to do with drugs or vague crimes. It’s the sort of crimes that destroy black neighborhoods in this country. Crime in these neighborhoods is worse than ever, and the overwhelming majority of black residents want a strong police presence. Which, yes, in a functioning system, will lead to more incarceration. But it will also lead to better deterrent and more lives saved.

Republicans should provide those voters with a real contrast rather than playing follow-the-leader with Democrats who have promoted failed weak-on-crime policies for decades.

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