Mateo Pinkston (courtesy deleware.com)

The following story was buried in the middle of deleware.com’s post In Del., 71% of gun charges are dropped. While the article offers cases that seem to justify dropping weapons charges against criminals — in an attempt to increase the possibility of conviction and, thus, jail time — this anecdote puts things into their proper perspective . . .

Then there is the case of Mateo Pinkston [above].

In late summer 2011, court documents say Pinkston walked up to a man, pointed a gun at him and took his cellphone.

Pinkston, who had already been convicted of two felonies and was a suspect in a still-unsolved homicide, was arrested by Wilmington police and charged with robbery and several gun counts.

But the Delaware Attorney General’s Office cut a deal with him in 2012, agreeing to drop three weapon charges that carried a maximum of 41 years in prison in exchange for Pinkston admitting to second-degree robbery and terroristic threatening, which carried a maximum of eight years in prison.

Soon after being released from his 12-month prison sentence, Pinkston, police said, shot and killed 25-year-old Arteise Brown in Wilmington last year.

Again, the article provides multiple examples of criminals who pleaded guilty to other charges in exchange for dropping weapon offenses, and drew lengthy sentences. Some of them make sense, some of them seem absurd on their face. But there’s a stat missing from this piece . . .

How may people convicted of violent crimes had gun-related charges dropped before they committed a serious crime? Men like Mateo Pinkston. I’m willing to bet it’s a high percentage. Besides, wouldn’t prosecuting gun offenses — no matter what the outcome — send a message to criminals not commit crimes with firearms? Just a thought . . .

42 Responses to Delaware Prosecutes Just 2942 of Gun Charges

  1. In Chicago, the State’s Attorney’s office is notorious for dropping weapons charges in order to get plea deals. This keeps their batting average up, but it results in thugs getting back on the street faster.

    So of course their answer to their violence problem is to have stricter gun laws that only affect the law abiding.

    • Yep like the low-life punk who shot Hydaya “she danced for Obama” Pendleton. But it does no good to put a teen-age gangbanger in jail for POINTING a loaded gun at a cop…just give the boy probation.

    • Like really, how hard is it to convict someone with the crime of “possession of a handgun during the commission of a crime” ?

      It would seem like that would be a rather simple concrete fact of ….oh say….did the perp have a gun on him when we caught him in the act?

      But you could see how prosecutors would use this as a bargaining chip to get a pleas deal for everything else below that charge. So no expensive trial, keep the prosecution conviction rate high, and ease prison overcrowding by the reduced sentences.

      The only loser in that plea deal is the everybody outside of the “justice system” (i.e. John Q. Public) that now has to deal with the thug when he gets out earlier from jail then he should have.

      F’ing lawyers (and I have 3 in the extended family)

  2. in texas, criminals are charges with the highest count thought winnable. can’t charge spree episodes, or maybe spree can be charged, but only the most serious (or most likely to end in conviction) are prosecuted. in other places, maybe they charge anything they can think of in order to bargain. In the case cited, not understanding why three for sure convictions on gun charges (totaling 41yrs) were pitched, in favor of a crimes totaling eight) were dropped instead of the charges that ultimately led to only 12mos.

    lawyers, again.

  3. My experience has been that prosecutors tend to regard misdemeanor gun charges primarily as “bargaining chips” used to extract plea deals on what they consider to be more important charges. What with concurrently-run sentences and all, it really doesn’t make sense to hold out on the gun charge and go to trial over something that isn’t going to increase the bad guy’s actual confinement. OTOH, if the gun charge is the “bigger” one, it doesn’t make sense to drop it for a plea on a lesser charge.

  4. This guy should have been locked up for the 40 years. Forget the heroin addicts; they have an addiction problem and they can be treated for it. I’m glad to see prosecutors drop drug possession charges when the defendants go to drug school and stay clean. The ex-users also couldn’t be happier to get themselves cleaned up. But with armed robbery? Stop electing these clown states attorneys. They could have saved a life putting this guy away.

      • Most drug addicts would sell the gun for money.

        Regardless, violence is violence. But stealing a stereo from an empty car to feed an addiction ISN’T a violent crime.

      • I’ve known several addicts throughout my life, some I’m sorry to say I’m related to, but none were violent. Theives, cheats, liars, and con artists, yes. Violent, no.

        They want your stuff and money, and I don’t want you around when they take it.

  5. More evidence the Triad of justice has no interest in correctly prosecuting criminals. They continue to dump criminal on the street, then have the gall to restrict abiding citizens from lawfully protecting themselves.

    • They dump violent criminals on the streets so that they can conflate violent armed criminals with armed good people and demand, DEMAND I TELL YOU!, civilian disarmament to solve the scourge of violence.

      • It’s called The Hegelian Dialectic. Problem, reaction, solution.Create a problem, get a reaction from the public, and the solution is more government control with less freedom for us. It’s all about control.

        That is what the War on Drugs, and now the War on a Terror is really about. It is simply more problems we react to that the government can justify it’s existence with our freedom as the expense.

        Hitler said that it is easy to control a people. Create an enemy, then have the people rally around the government and call anyone that objects as a traitor.

  6. Lazy prosecutors saving the State money. Now what’s wrong with that? Doesn’t every one want to save some money these days?? After all what’s a persons life worth these days anyway?? Seems not a whole heck of a lot to the State of Delaware.

  7. I’d be very interested in knowing the rate of prosecution according to race.

    Meaning, I wonder if prosecutors are more interested in convicting one race more than another…

    I bet if I were ever charged there, the DA would be very motivated to nail my (not) old (not really) fat white hide to the wall to ‘send a message’…

  8. The courts are full, the prisons are full, and DA’s get points for convictions, and pats on the back for plea deals that avoid court time. Sentences are kept short to reduce prison overcrowding and putting criminals back on the street quickly keeps the numbers up for police, prosecutors, the court system, and all those people working in probation, sex offender followup, rehab, transitional housing, etc. It’s simply a numbers racket and nobody really wants to prevent crime because then they would be out of a job. If you could wave a magic wand tomorrow and eliminate all drug sales and along with it gang activity, the streets would go quiet and the prisons would slowly empty out, what would the poor police do without the need for SWAT teams, full auto weapons and armored assault vehicles? Maybe go back to preventing/solving property crimes and simple assaults.

    • Or stop illegal immigration. That would draw down 36% of the fed prison population. And perhaps 30% of state prisons.

    • You know, logically, morally, if you can’t afford to punish the people (confine them, re-train them, follow up on them forever after, never again allow them to fully re-enter society), and you can’t afford to allow their actions to go unpunished, either…that’s a sign they should really be getting executed. It’s a harsh reality, but if you are unable to allow these guys to exist, either free or in prison, there’s not really any other option. They’ll get their due process, every opportunity to prove their innocence, but in the end we cannot be expected to care for these goons when their entire screwed up life finally becomes unbearable for everyone else (both morally and fiscally, which are not entirely independent, btw)

  9. Except as bargaining chips I fail to see any advantage to charging crimes specifically related to guns. Is murder more criminal if you use a gun rather than a bat or a knife? Is robbery a greater crime if you use a gun rather than a choke hold? There are certain “gun crimes” I can understand – discharging a firearm in the city limits, brandishing in order to incite terror, etc., but all specific to the gun itself, not added to make some other crime seem more heinous.

    If what the perp was arrested for was a crime in the first place, charge him with that, get your conviction, and put him in jail. Whatever tool(s) he used to commit the crime would seem to be irrelevant.

    • I don’t understand why more people don’t think this, even among 2A supporters. We say that “gun violence” is is a term created for propaganda, but we’re all for the government prosecuting criminals for “gun crimes”. There is only “violence”, and there is only “crime”. What matters is the act you committed, not the tool you used to do it. To believe otherwise is to attribute evil moral force to an inanimate object.

      • Playing the devils advocate here, but the ‘add on offences’ used to give leeway to be lenient on some and to ‘throw the book’ at others. The idea ran something like this: consider two thefts, one in which the stolen thing was left sitting unattended in an alley and the other in which the item was in a safe in a business. Though the same item was stolen, the latter crime was still considered more heinous because of the planning, effort, risk and to some extent the reduced level of temptation of a safely secured valuable versus one forgotten outside.

        Thus in the former crime the charge might be theft, with a commiserate sentence for the perceived severity of the act while in the latter the charges might include loitering for criminal ends, trespass, breaking and entering, destruction of property, theft, and possession of criminal tools (used to open the safe). The theft charge in each case has the same penalty, but the latter could spend far more time in prison because of the other chargeable offences.

        The idea was to create greater deterrence while essentially banishing anyone who ignored it. A comparison of time served for like offences 1950 versus the present is telling.

        The explosion of criminal acts, the extensive criminalization of malum prohibitum behaviors, decline of the quality of media coverage and loss of attention by the voting public for the work of prosecutors and judges have all contributed to the misuse and abuse of such charging schemes.

        It’s all just another symptom of the disease of progressivism; legislate too much, give away too much, and damage the tax base too much and there aren’t enough resources to actually do what’s asked or needed, especially when reasonable assumptions are challenged, such as non criminals tend to stay that way while criminals do the same.

        This of course is ignoring the deterioration of morality and traditional values, something for another time perhaps, but more evidence that the progressives’ nihilistic appetite for attacking all that exists in favor of the pipe dream of what could be only results in a net loss, of safety, of satisfaction, prosperity and of order. They really don’t see that the society they’re in, however flawed, is sufficiently complex that to radically alter it is dangerous, and to think such alteration would be beneficial to the whole is hubris. This then is what happens when adults allow children to rule: anarchy.

        • “The idea ran something like this: consider two thefts, one in which the stolen thing was left sitting unattended in an alley and the other in which the item was in a safe in a business. Though the same item was stolen, the latter crime was still considered more heinous because of the planning, effort, risk and to some extent the reduced level of temptation of a safely secured valuable versus one forgotten outside. “

          Those in fact would be different crimes. One is larceny, the other is burglary, so again, the crime itself makes the distinction necessary.

          The idea of “gun crime” or “possession” is a fiat crime. There is no specific victim, and THAT is what makes it problematic from a moralistic legal view.

          Violent crimes against persons have human beings that are victims: murder, rape, armed robbery, assault with intent to kill, etc. Felony and non-felony crimes against property have human being victims as well: burglary, fraud, larceny.

          Who exactly is the ‘victim’ of the “Felon in Possession of Firearm?” The only answer that can be given is some vague Appeal to Generality in the form of “Society.”

          But, “society” can only be considered a victim of something to collectivist thinking. Prior to about 100-150 years ago, there were very few (if any) laws in US Law or English Common Law that held “society” as the victim. It’s a new, dare I say “Progressive” concept that “Society” can be reasoned as a victim of a crime.

          So, what is really lost by doing away with such fiat crimes? Nothing at all. They don’t benefit “society” the way they are sold in debate.

          Like so much else in Progressive Ideology, it’s smoke-and-mirrors designed to usurp control from a collection of individuals (Individualist definition of “society”) and give it to the collective (Collectivist definition of “society”).

  10. Prosecutors overcharge. Its unfortunately how the system works now. When you are facing more time in jail for armed robbery than you would for a murder in broad day light, there is a problem. And don’t get me started on terrorist threats as a crime…

  11. This confirms what we’ve long believed – lawmakers demand stricter gun control laws in the name of public safety. In a big disconnect, the justice system doesn’t take them so seriously. This is bad for the law abiding, the victims of violence and possibly the criminals. Is it better to serve a single longer sentence compared to bouncing in and out of the prison system? Do a series of crimes that go unpunished or punished lightly lead someone to finally commit a violent crime and serve serious time, or posssibly get gunned down in a shootout?

    • Yep, then in the end the executive branch people get to blame the legislative branch people for not doing their job (which is NOT to encourage new legislation but rather to enforce existing laws.) In the end they don’t want to actually PAY to house the animals who destroy society, so they cut them loose after a short stint.

  12. Same story in St. Louis. Thug busted for a violent gun crime? Prosecution drops the gun charges as part of a plea deal, every time. Thug is out in two years max, free to rape, pillage and murder again.

  13. We cant keep guns away from criminals. But we can keep criminals away from guns. It’s the same means by which we keep criminals away from the rest of us.

    • +1

      This piece of info does support a claim by the pro-gun community that gun crimes are under-prosecuted, but it is suspicious that the stats from only one state are shared. I’ve read enough of John Lott’s stuff to respect the need to not cherry pick stats when making a claim. I’m hoping this isn’t an example of cherry picking stats.

  14. I’m sure Arteise Brown was also a convicted felon,the article didn’t say what a good boy he was and Mateo Pinkston will be going back to prison,in this case the government didn’t get what in wanted,I say it’s a win win.

  15. He is a great example of what libertarians have said was a non violent offender that needs to be released early from prison.
    California is in the process of releasing thousands of people just like this guy. How many of those “non violent” early release criminals had a gun charge dropped by the DA?
    If a person gets intoxicated in their home, I have no problem with that. But just because you are intoxicated and robbing or killing someone doesn’t get you early release in my book.

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