Friday, August 14, 2020

Whoever Runs On a Law and Order Platform in November Will Win

Letters to the Editor submitted to The Coronado Times are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher, editors or writers of this publication. Submit letters to letters@coronadotimes.com.

Submitted by Mary Scyocurka


On May 4th an 18 year old Coronado High School student was robbed on Orange Avenue. He was selling a gold chain on Offer Up and brought a buddy with him to the exchange. The “buyer” planned an ambush with two of his buddies. The getaway driver waited in the car around the corner and the “buyer” grabbed the chain and ran. The seller tackled the thief. While they struggled on the ground, the third accomplice shot the Coronado student in the back, leaving him to die in the street.

The hollow point bullet went through the victim’s lung and diaphragm and decimated his liver. The bullet became lodged between the spine and aorta, fracturing the spine and two ribs and causing an aneurysm. The miraculous surviver endured two major surgeries and over a month in the hospital. Hollow point bullets are meant to kill, not wound.

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It was not difficult for the Coronado Police Department to identify these three perpetrators. They were all “known” suspects. The driver was 18 years old. The other two were 17. The one 17 year old, who grabbed the chain, has been found guilty of previous crimes and was on probation at the time of this crime. He turned 18 in July. One would assume that this criminal would be tried as an adult, but no.

The shooter was also 17. One would assume that he would be charged as an adult, but no. Why? Gavin Newsom.

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A “core value” of the governor is to eliminate prisons. In Newsom’s 2020-2021 Budget, he proposed to permanently stop the intake of any more youth into the state Division of Juvenile Justice, starting January 1, 2021. The state-run lockups house the most serious juvenile offenders. Newsom says that the counties have plenty of room in their juvenile halls and on March 24th, he signed a temporary order, requiring counties to keep those who would normally be sent to state facilities. The problem is that the county systems are not structurally prepared. Newsom eliminated plan A without a plan B in place.

Juvenile murderers and rapists with serious sex behavior or mental health needs should not be housed in the county juvenile halls and camps. It would be unsafe for the other juveniles. So the option is to try these offenders as adults; however, since the 2016 passage of Prop 57, prosecutors must obtain a judge’s approval to charge youths as adults. Five criteria are considered: criminal sophistication exhibited, if rehabilitation can occur before the juvenile court’s jurisdiction expires, previous delinquent history, previous attempts at rehabilitation, and the circumstances and gravity of the offense.

It would seem straightforward, but no. Recently, a youth shot his father in the head, but he did not meet the criteria. One youth stabbed someone over 50 times, but she did not meet the criteria. Are these arbitrary decisions or liberal justices exhibiting the growing trend of a lack of justice for the victims? These two cases resulted in the juveniles serving their time under house arrest, because Gavin Newsom wants to shut the state facilities.

If the shooter in the Coronado case is tried as an adult, he faces 20 years. If he is charged as a juvenile, he will only look at 5 years, because the juvenile system can only keep him until he is 23 years old. However, the only place to keep him in San Diego County would be the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility, which has a maximum 480 day program, with most juveniles usually serving one year. It’s hard to imagine this shooter being rehabilitated in such a short timeframe.

The Governor is motivated to close California detention facilities, because they have been bad at rehabilitation and are some of the most expensive in the country. The state is doing away with private prisons, which could be cheaper, according to Senator John Moorlach, the only Republican on the Public Safety, Corrections and the Judiciary Senate Subcommittee.

Newsom is also closing eight fire camps at which detainees learn skills that they can use to obtain a job once they are released. These closures will save him an estimated $7.4 million dollars over the next year. To make up for the prisoner fire crews, the Governor is looking to hire 600 professional firefighters at a cost of $200 million. The budget is nonsensical.

The decisions to close both adult and juvenile detention centers jeopardizes the public safety. Not charging violent juvenile offenders as adults and merely giving them a slap on the wrist is unjust. Rioters and looters are going unpunished, as democrats are calling to defund the police. We are spiraling out of control in this state, but there will be backlash. Whoever runs on a Law and Order platform in November will win!

Mary Scyocurka

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Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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