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 . . .