Wanna Reduce Gun Crime? Keep Criminals in Prison

No one ever said being a district judge would be easy.  You’re presented with a never-ending stream of tragedy compounded by stupidity, mixed with a healthy measure of bad breaks. That’s pretty much what faced Shawnee County (Kansas) District Court judge Joseph Johnson [above] in dealing with Anthony Laverne Marshall, III. It seems young Anthony, along with his friend and fellow Trey 57 Crips gang member, Rickie D. Loyd, Jr., chose the wrong liquor store to knock over in October of 2009.  When they entered the Cormier Retail Liquor store in Topeka, store owner Cliff Cormier was having none of it. He shot Loyd in the head, killing him instantly. Marshall, who was 16 at the time, was shot in the shoulder, fled and was caught later . . .

But in a hearing last September, judge Johnson denied a prosecution request to try Marshall as an adult.  His reasoning?  Doing so wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest, including the community’s.  Instead, the judge took the ‘scared straight’ approach.

He handed Marshall a graphic photo of his late pal Loyd taken at the scene of the crime.  Johnson said Marshall needed “to see Ricky Loyd’s brain matter splattered over the liquor store’s wall.” As Marshall looked at the picture, Johnson asked him, “How cool is that?  How cool is that?” No word on how cool Anthony thought it was.

Johnson reasoned that Marshall should stay in the juvenile system because:

1 His three prior convictions for theft, criminal firearm possession and battery of a school employee are misdemeanors

2 Marshall isn’t mature, functions at an 11-or 12-yearold level, has a learning disability and comes from a dysfunctional home

3 There are programs to benefit Marshall as a juvenile including academic testing, education and learning a trade

Marshall pled no contest to felony counts of attempted aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, criminal possession of a firearm and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

This week, Johnson sentenced him to three years in a juvenile facility to be followed by two years of “aftercare” during which he’s to have no contact with gang members.  Johnson didn’t mention whether or not Marshall will receive a time out as well.

There’s no way to predict whether or not Marshall will be able to make something of his life as a result of the judge’s leniency. You’ll forgive my cynicism in expecting him to be right back with his Crips buddies less than 24 hours after his release. Aftercare or not.

As for the community’s interests, they’ll just have to hope judge Johnson’s lenience doesn’t result in an innocent person getting hurt – or worse – when Marshall hits the streets again.

[Click here for the Judge’s 2008’s “report card”]

comments

  1. avatar Varmint Hunter says:

    Mr. Zimmerman’s excellent article induces recollection of the lyrics to “Simple Man” by Charlie Daniels. It would appear that Judge Johnson is the personification of Charlie’s “panty waist judge.”

    I ain’t nothin’ but a simple man
    They call me a redneck I reckon that I am
    But there’s things going on
    That make me mad down to the core.

    I have to work like a dog to make ends meet
    There’s crooked politicians and crime in the street
    And I’m madder’n hell and I ain’t gonna take it no more.

    We tell our kids to just say no
    Then some panty waist judge lets a drug dealer go
    Slaps him on the wrist and then he turns him back out on the town.

    Now if I had my way with people sellin’ dope
    I’d take a big tall tree and a short piece of rope
    I’d hang ’em up high and let ’em swing ’til the sun goes down

    Well, you know what’s wrong with the world today
    People done gone and put their Bible’s away
    They’re living by the law of the jungle not the law of the land
    The good book says it so I know it’s the truth
    An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth
    You better watch where you go and remember where you been
    That’s the way I see it I’m a Simple Man.

    Now I’m the kinda man that’d not harm a mouse
    But if I catch somebody breakin in my house
    I’ve got twelve guage shotgun waiting on the other side

    So don’t go pushing me against my will
    I don’t want to have to fight you but I dern sure will
    So if you don’t want trouble then you’d better just pass me on by

    As far as I’m concerned there ain’t no excuse
    For the raping and the killing and the child abuse
    And I’ve got a way to put an end to all that mess

    Just take them rascals out in the swamp
    Put ’em on their knees and tie ’em to a stump
    Let the rattlers and the bugs and the alligators do the rest

    You know what’s wrong with the world today
    People done gone and put their Bible’s away
    They’re living by the law of the jungle not the law of the land
    The Good Book says it so I know it’s the truth
    An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth
    You better watch where you go and remember where you been
    That’s the way I see it I’m a Simple Man

  2. avatar ConfederalRepublicBy2030 says:

    I’m an atheist, so the lyrics to that song really don’t have any discernible effect on me. Here’s the deal – he got off easy, so if he ever re-offends, execution by firing squad. Hows does that sound to you guys?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Depends on the offense.

      1. avatar ConfederalRepublicBy2030 says:

        Say he shoots someone dead in a gangland war. I’m not talking execution for shoplifting, or anything. Lol.

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    “Marshall isn’t mature, functions at an 11-or 12-yearold level, has a learning disability and comes from a dysfunctional home”

    The same can be said about the judge.

    1. avatar Sean says:

      Yes, the time for all of those things was before he walked into a store with a gun. I believe in trying to help boys like that long before it gets to that point. Once he made that choice, it was too late. All of the mental health and educational help he should have received earlier and life do not matter then.

  4. avatar A Critic says:

    There’s no way to predict whether or not Marshall will be able to make something of his life as a result of the judge’s leniency.

    Correct. There may be statistics available to determine whether adult prison or juvenile prison is most likely to prevent his re-entry into the system. My understanding is that sending to him to the big house would give him at least a bachelor’s degree in crime. It seems likely to me that this is more likely to succeed. Not very likely still though as the causes of the young man’s criminal nature aren’t being addressed. He might be a natural born criminal, but most likely he is a manufactured one, and the judge won’t be able to address the education system, welfare system, War on Drugs, etc that helped make him into a criminal.

    For a fascinating and fun read I recommend “My Shadow Ran Fast” by Bill Sands, he started off his career as a hold up man, served two years in Sing Sing, and then became a race car driver, singer, and a bunch of other unusual jobs. I don’t agree with his idea of a solution, indeterminate prison sentences, but he does make some good points about the difference between rehabilitation and punishment.

  5. avatar Daniel Zimmerman says:

    My understanding is that sending to him to the big house would give him at least a bachelor’s degree in crime.

    I’d agree that big boy jail’s not the best venue for salvaging his misspent youth. But given his already extensive track record and his membership in a local violence-prone community organization, I’m thinking he can already teach a masters level course.

  6. avatar John Fritz says:

    A man or woman over the age of eighteen will never be tried as a juvenile. So shouldn’t it work both ways?

    That being said, when Mr. Marshall is released from juvenile-style incarceration and he commits another crime (as statistically he probably will), then we’ll all get our chance to lock him up for an extended stay with the grown-ups. Like we should be doing now.

  7. avatar Federale says:

    Isn’t the most likely reason that there was racial bias? If our juvenile gangbanger had been in the KKK or Nazi Low-Riders, or a Peckerwood, I doubt that the judge would have been so “understanding.”

    1. avatar Daniel Zimmerman says:

      There’s no evidence the judge’s decision had anything to do with the defendant’s race. If you take a look at the report card that’s linked, it’s a pretty good bet this isn’t the first easy sentence he’s handed down.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    “There’s no way to predict whether or not Marshall will be able to make something of his life as a result of the judge’s leniency.”

    True, but as Damon Runyan once said: “the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong — but that’s the way to bet.” And you know the way to bet on Marshall. If there was a line on it here in Las Vegas, I’m thinking it would be an out bet.

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