Yolo County Man Faces Third Strike For Stealing Cheese

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courtroomA Yolo County Man, Robert Ferguson is facing life in prison for a third strike in part for stealing cheese from Nugget Market.  Prior to that he was convicted for petty theft at a 7/11 for stealing a woman’s wallet.  Sentencing will occur on March 1 to see if indeed he is given his third strike in which he would spend 25 years in prison, essentially a life sentence for a man in his mid 50s.

Mr. Ferguson was previously convicted back in 1982 for three separate counts of residential burglary, at the time he was age 25 years old.  Six years later he pled guilty to a single count of 1st degree burglary.  Finally in 1995, he pled guilty to a single count of petty theft with a prior.

 

According to the District Attorney’s office Mr. Ferguson is a candidate for using the three strikes law due in part to the five part test.  The parts are, nature and circumstances of current offense, nature and circumstances of prior strikes, defendant’s background, defendant’s character, and defendant’s prospect.

The prosecution argued he was eligible for a third strike based on his background and prospect.  First, they argued that he is unemployed and unmarried.  He is a repeat offender and made no claims to education or job skills.  Furthermore he is taking no responsibility for a substance abuse process.

Additionally, he has been in custody for 22 years, six months, and six days in the last 27 years.  They argued, “defendant cannot function as a productive citizen in society.”  Moreover, “[Mr. Ferguson] made no effort whatsoever to becoming a law-abiding citizen.”

Those arguments notwithstanding, both incidents in December of 2008 that led to the third strike

On December 4, 2008, Woodland Police Officer Scot Todd responded to a convenience store at 122 E. Main Street.  The victim, a woman, was distracted when her son was making a mess and Mr. Ferguson had handed her a napkin.  She left the store but came back when she discovered her wallet missing.  Officer Todd spoke to the victim who stated that she had placed her wallet on the counter and when she turned her attention back to the counter her wallet was allegedly missing.

Upon reviewing the surveillance tape from the location, Officer Todd allegedly saw an individual standing near the woman at the time her wallet allegedly disappeared.

Officer Scott in testimony described the video, “Mr. Ferguson then turned towards the camera, and all you see is a slight—where he’s pulling his pants out and shoving an unknown object down his pants.”

There were other camera angles and pictures too used in the exhibit. Then there was a photo lineup conducted where the woman correctly identified Mr. Ferguson.  Surveillance depicts individual as Ferguson placed something inside of the front of his pants.

According to Officer Todd, “the surveillance tape does not depict the item that the individual allegedly identification as Mr. Ferguson placed inside the front of his pants. Police report does not obtain monetary value for the wallet.”

Yet, the DA has chosen to proceed with a pretty theft charge, even though the wallet was less than $400.

Ten days later, Mr. Ferguson was involved in another minor incident.  According to the report of Officer Jameson of the Woodland PD on Dec. 14, 2008, Officer Jameson responded to a grocery store located at 157 Main St. Upon arrival, he made contact with the Loss Prevention Officer from Nugget Market in Woodland.

The man allegedly saw an individual placed $3.99 worth of shredded cheese into his pants and leave the store rendering proper payment. Mr. Ferguson was subsequently detained by Mr. Austin .  At the time of Mr. Ferguson’s arrest, he possessed $9.00, and would have been able to pay for the cheese he allegedly stole.

Oddly enough he paid for everyone else except for the cheese that was in his pants. When confronted by the Loss Prevention Officer, Ferguson attempted to flee and then was taken down to the ground. The Nugget Market worker described Ferguson as “embarrassed and remorseful.” The cheese had only cost 3.99, and he had 9.00 dollars on him.

Mr. Ferguson has been battling mental illness for a number of years.  He is attempting to control the ill-effects of this mental disorder.  His mental disorder is responsible for this mania, depression, and mood instability. Because of his mental disorder problems he has come to a substance abuse problem, which is apparently under control.

The prosecution describes him as a man that has refused to accept responsibility, that cannot be a productive citizen, and that remains a serious threat to society.

Given his long history that includes long breaks during which he was in custody, the DA has the discretion as to whether or not to charge the cases as felonies which would count as strikes or misdemeanors.  History suggests it might be reasonable to charge as a felony with prison time.  However, the fact that his crimes are becoming less violent and serious, now committing petty thefts from businesses and wallets (a theft of opportunity) rather than residential burglaries mitigates the case and lends itself to the belief that he should not receive life for the felony even if it is concluded that it is a felony.

Sentencing will occur on March 1, at which point more details of the case may emerge.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Vivian Nguyen contributed to this story

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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40 thoughts on “Yolo County Man Faces Third Strike For Stealing Cheese”

  1. Phil

    wdf1:

    According to the LAO it costs $47,102 per year per inmate in California. For 25 years that is $1,177,550.00 (undiscounted).

    We cannot afford this; outpatient mental health would be much cheaper.

    Not to mention this is not just–why do we incarcerate so many people?

  2. wdf1

    We cannot afford this; outpatient mental health would be much cheaper.

    And the incarceration cost seems even harder to justify given that there are no violent crimes on record.

  3. Ryan Kelly

    Theft under $400 is petty theft. I’m sure that the mother he stole from didn’t think it was petty.

    It sounds like he has drug issues that he refuses to address. What do you do with someone that refuses “outpatient mental health?” It may be cheaper to just let him wander around and steal from people from time to time, but that is not a solution.

    Maybe a low security situation – similar to a group home for juveniles – is an idea.

  4. M.J.W.

    “We cannot afford this; outpatient mental health would be much cheaper.”
    Who pays for this?
    With all the budget cuts, it seems the state of CA (the governor?) finds incarceration more affordable than mental health or drug rehab.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    MJW: Well they seem to be cutting everything at this point. They are also releasing tens of thousands of non-violent felonies, the same types of crime if not worse than what this guy committed.

  6. wdf1

    This case reminds me some of the plot of Les Miserable. Notably the effort to punish at a level that seems out of proportion to the crime of stealing food.

  7. jake wallace

    The People’s Van Guard could look into Assemblymember, Mariko Yamada, & former colleague’s, the Yolo state court and DA Jeff Reisig. We have emailed multiple documents with much more direct admissible evidence that’s in the public record. Letter mailed certified to all party’s.

    Let’s put Yolo official’s on the same platter as the cheese thief.

    =========
    Jacob Tyler Wallace
    XXXX N. XXXXXXX Avenue #316
    Hollywood, CA 90038

    January 26, 2010

    Jon Waldi
    CAO Assembly and Senate
    Assembly Rules Committee
    State Capital, Room 3016
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Mariko Yamada
    State Assembly
    State Capitol
    P.O. Box 942849
    Sacramento, CA 94249-0008

    Jeff Reisig
    District Attorney
    301 Second Street
    Woodland, CA 95695

    Drew S. Parenti
    FBI Special Agent in Charge
    4500 Orange Avenue
    Sacramento, CA 95841

    Hon. David Rosenberg
    Presiding Judge
    Superior Court of California
    725 Court Street
    Woodland, CA 95776

    Yolo County Grand Jury 2009/2010
    PO Box 2142
    Woodland, CA 95776-2142

    We filed a September 2009, Rules Committee complaint that was confirmed and then lost. The complaint was re filed with CAO Jon Waldi, and the issues were misunderstood or misrepresented and we were not allowed to sit down and discuss the issues in depth.
    (Waldi’s email attached).

  8. jake wallace

    Page 2 of 5
    Waldi, Yamada, Reisg, Partenti, Rosenberg, Yolo Grand Jury
    January 26, 2010

    The Yolo County foster care is not the issue. The issues are the due process and civil rights of state foster youth and the state’s criminal justice system and the state assembly’s responsibilities as cited below.

    W&I Code:
    16000.1. (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
    (1) The state has a duty to care for and protect the children that the state places into foster care, and as a matter of public policy, the state assumes an obligation of the highest order to ensure the safety of children in foster care.

    CAO Jon Waldi and the state assembly’s legal council have opted to send the complaint back to Yolo, which is the same as concealing the complaint as we allege Yolo & Calaveras official’s have failed to perform their official duties and have concealed these criminal allegations. We submit that Yamada as an assembly member has continued to conceal these criminal allegations outlined in public documents that cited direct admissible evidence. (CV06-581, CV 32550, GC 27641, & Grand Jury Statues). That Yamada would have never been elected to the state assembly if Yamada and colleagues had not thwarted a 2005, GC 27641, accusation on county council, now judge, Steve Basha, and county council/CAO Robyn Drivon Truitt, who held a private meeting with the Hon. Steve Basha and failed to have the district attorney or an outside agency investigate the accusations that were resubmitted last year and thwarted again. That the
    Hon. Donna M. Petre, presiding judge and Yamada, and colleagues knowingly hired Calaveras probation chief, Don L. Meyer, out from under a falsified felony foster abuse investigation in Calaveras. Yamada, colleagues, probation, county council, were notified
    that Chief Meyer had falsified the investigation on chief Meyer, weeks prior to Yolo’s appointment of Chief Meyer. That Yamada, colleagues, the Yolo state court, Yolo district attorney, along with their colleagues in Calaveras jointly hired, Angelo, Kilday
    and Kilduff, a Sacramento law firm with public funds and used their special powers to thwart two qui tam case(s) after all lawful resources exercised by a state licensed group home were thwarted.

    That Yamada’s acts as a Yolo supervisor were also acts on behalf of the state and then state assembly, therefore, the technical fact that Yamada wasn’t an assembly member at the times of the alleged criminal acts is moot as Yamada as an assembly member continues to use the office’s special powers to nix an investigation. That the Hon. David
    Rosenberg, a former Yolo county supervisor, later used the grand jury as an arm of the court, identical to the Hon. Donna M. Petre, hand-hand with Yolo district attorney, Jeff Reisig, and assured the grand jury would not investigate. That grand jury complaint filed
    in 2005/06 and 2008/09 were thwarted by the Yolo state court, district attorney, county council and that Yamada knows this and has depended on these subversion(s).

  9. jake wallace

    Page 3 of 5
    Waldi, Yamada, Reisg, Partenti, Rosenberg, Yolo Grand Jury
    January 26, 2010

    Please take a close look also at the case of Lorenson v. Superior Court, 35 C.2d 49 (1950), where the California Supreme Court ruled on page59 and 60 of the case that “A conspiracy with or among public officials not to perform their official duty to enforce
    criminal laws is an obstruction of justice an indictable offense at common law.” This means that if judges deliberately fail to report criminal violation by other, such as judges, as they are required by California Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3D, the silent judge
    just joined a conspiracy to obstruct and pervert justice.

    (http://www.jurypower.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6&It emid=)

    In the expanded 31d legal dictionary/digest called “Words and Phrases”, on page 363, it defines the grand jury as: “The ‘grand jury’ is inquisitorial body of county, drawn and summoned from among its best citizens, and must investigate all violations of law under
    presiding judge’s direction and make presentments in accordance with such investigations.” In the second column of this page it continues: ” ‘Grand Jury’ is not judicial but accusing body, permitted to act upon knowledge obtained by members from any source.” and
    “’Grand jury’ is informing and judicial tribunal, exercising functions which are original, complete, and susceptible of being exercised on its own motion [without D.A.’s
    initiation] and on such knowledge as it may derive from any proper source.”

    A California District Court of Appeal, in the case of Samish v. Superior Court, 28 C.A.2d 685 (1938), on the bottom of page 688 and continuing into page 689, quoting from the U.S. Supreme Court and the California Penal Code, fully explains the powers, jurisdiction and duties of the grand jury.

    WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE
    SECTION 270-286
    270: Except as provided in Section 69906.5 of the Government Code, there shall be in each county the offices of probation officer, assistant probation officer, and deputy probation officer. A probation officer shall be appointed in every county. Probation officers in any county shall be nominated by the juvenile justice commission or regional juvenile justice commission of such county in such manner as the judge of the juvenile court in that county shall direct, and shall then be appointed by such judge.

  10. jake wallace

    Page 4 of 5
    Waldi, Yamada, Reisg, Partenti, Rosenberg, Yolo Grand Jury
    January 26, 2010

    Hon. David Rosenberg, we re submit to the grand jury for the third time public corruption allegations that include several judges, other official’s. We re submit all complaint(s) filed to the grand jury in 2005/06 and 2008/09, all GC 26741, accusations filed in 2005
    and 2009, 2009, probation citizen complaints that were never responded too, CV06-581 (Yolo) and CV 325550 Calaveras qui tam case(s), case coordination hearing by Sacramento judge, Brian Van Camp. We need to testify to the grand jury this year.

    Mr. Waldi, we anticipate a hard copy of the state assembly’s decision to not investigate and we lobby the state assembly to reconsider and “assume an obligation of the highest order to ensure the safety of children in foster care” and either conduct an investigation or
    join us in asking the FBI to activate their fourth investigative priority: public corruption.

    FBI, Drew Parenti, we had a face-to-face with special agent, Hernandez, in 2006, and ask that the FBI investigate these allegations that are connected to the forced heroine overdose of Calaveras building inspector whistle blower, Steve Weber, (2007), while a state witness in a public corruption trial. We have reported to the FBI that Wallace received three death threats while a candidate for the Calaveras board of supervisor’s. And like Steve Weber, everyday that Wallace draws a breath is anther day to advance
    these worthwhile causes. An ‘accidental death’ like Steve Weber, would be fatal to these allegations.

    Yolo DA Jeff Reisig, we have called dozens of times and mailed certified allegations with direct admissible evidence for years. As a result we allege that the district attorney’s office has willfully failed to protect the public interest and perform their lawful duties.
    Similar to issues filed by Yolo DA investigator’s Randy Skaggs and another “Yolo County District Attorney Investigator Randy Skaggs is suing DA Jeff Reisig and Chief Investigator Pete Martin for revealing personal information after blowing the whistle on Reisig”.
    On Martin Luther Kings birthday we had a meeting with CHP officer’s Scott Fryer and Mark Maniord, from the Risk Assessment Unit. We asked the state police to investigate the Yamada and Steve Weber complaints; and they refused. The state police stated they would hand a CD pdf documents to the governor’s staffers who would then refer them to the appropriate state agency’s. These officer’s through email and calls have not confirmed that this took place.

  11. jake wallace

    Page 5 of 5
    Waldi, Yamada, Reisg, Partenti, Rosenberg, Yolo Grand Jury
    January 26, 2010

    Assembly member, Mariko Yamada, outlined in the Rules complaint we don’t know exactly what actions you may or may not have taken with regard to these criminal allegations. We have lobbied you as an assembly member and social worker to compel a transparent thorough investigation. We have no knowledge that you have done so. As an
    elected official with the Manzanar experience we are baffled as to your apparent inactions. We simple want that investigation. Your staffer stated that we must go to the Yolo district attorney’s office, which you would know has already concealed the criminal
    allegations. We want that investigation.

    Jake Wallace

    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    J. Edgar Hoover Bldg
    935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20535

    The Honorable Barbara Boxer
    United States Senate
    112 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510-0505

    Eric Holder
    U.S. Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20530-0001

  12. Gunrock

    It would make a lot more sense if we could outsource incarceration to someplace with a much lower cost like Nevada or Mexico. This would also stem the tide of early release of prisoners, just get the cost down to as little as possible and leave them there for full terms.

    I don’t really mind the cost of him being in prison- it is either that or the sum of all the “petty thefts” he makes from shopkeepers, homeowners etc. which is a direct loss to the individuals he steals from. Jail has its place, and his place is in it.

  13. wdf1

    I don’t really mind the cost of him being in prison- it is either that or the sum of all the “petty thefts” he makes from shopkeepers, homeowners etc. which is a direct loss to the individuals he steals from. Jail has its place, and his place is in it.

    What’s the annual cost if we pay Nevada to take care of him? I doubt it would be legal to outsource his incarceration to Mexico.

    With respect to California costs, though, it sounds like you’d be okay raising taxes or laying off another teacher (because that’s about what it costs) to incarcerate this man.

  14. nprice

    So, as the Supreme Court has just confirmed, corporations are persons and have the same rights, even to a fair trial. These corporate persons are repeatedly caught in crimes against the people’s right to a clean, uncontaminated environment and health, yet repeatedly “they” only pay fines for poisoning our air, water and land and are never subject to the “Three Strikes Rule.”

  15. Ryan Kelly

    He hasn’t been sentenced yet. Maybe the threat of a life time in prison will prompt him to get the help he needs. Nothing else has appeared to bring enough pressure to bear. This kind of criminal needs blunt talk about the effects of his repeated crimes on others. He probably commits these crimes (petty theft) all the time. He just got caught this time.

    It’s clearly a disease. What other explanation would there be to steal when he has the money to pay for it? One could state this about all criminals – why (insert crime – shoot, hit, stab, steal, abuse, hurt, etc.) when there are other clear alternatives?

  16. wdf1

    I’ve got an idea, if he knew he already had two strikes maybe he shouldn’t have stole again.

    So let’s show him the justice of current law and permanently lay off a teacher or raise taxes for his stealing cheese and a wallet?

    This is the fiscal responsibility we have to assume for having this kind of zero tolerance for crime.

  17. resident

    rusty49..if he is mentally unstabil, he probably doesn’t reason that well.
    And we have few mental facilities for folks of this nature. If we had just one of those many CA prisons which could be turned into an institution to address the various needs of those with mental problems, it would really help with CA’s budget, and with housing and maintaining those with mental disorder needs. Most of the prisons are built with varying security enclosure. It could easily be arranged to provide much needed security for those who must be contained 24/7, and also provide a half-way house for those who need a safe place with minimal supervision.
    It could also provide educational support for those able and willing to pursue it.

    Leaving the mentally ill to fend for themselves, gives them the option of becoming predators or prey. Not a good idea.

  18. Phil

    Here is some more info

    The national avg spending per prsisoner is $24, 656 and Texas spend $18,031. (source: http://www.texaspolicy.com/pdf/2008-LegeEntry-CorrectionsBudget-ml.pdf)

    So we spend almost double the national avg and we incarcerate people who might be dealt with in a cheaper and more humane manner.

    But we have one of the worst K-12 systems in the country and now are sacking the UCs and CSUs

    Anyone wonder why california is the laughing stock–as I blogged yesterday some economists think we are worse than Greece (no offense to the Greeks but their system of government peaked 2000 + years ago)

  19. Barbara King

    Assuming mental illness is a big part of this man’s problems, then his life story is yet another reminder of what is wrong with our mental health laws, which do not allow for mandatory treatment unless the person is deemed to be an immediate threat to himself or someone else. His life, his family member’s lives, and his victims lives have been hurt by such laws, and they desperately need revision.

  20. homeless in woodland

    If someone walked into my store and asked for food because he or she were hungry I would feed them. For that matter, when they left my store they would even have money in their pocket. However for shoplifting, public floggings should be brought back. If they continue to shoplift, it should be left up to the discretion of the store owner as to what the punishment should be…

  21. wdf1

    However for shoplifting, public floggings should be brought back.

    Just like Islamic sharia law?

    If they continue to shoplift, it should be left up to the discretion of the store owner as to what the punishment should be…

    At what cost to the taxpayer?

  22. homeless in woodland

    Hmmm. I think we had public floggings in the good old USA…

    The taxpayer didn’t commit the crime. We should make the shoplifter pay the costs.

  23. David M. Greenwald

    That sounds good in theory… perhaps.

    The bottom line at this point is that the state is releasing people who are committing low grade and non-violent felonies, so why is the county which is strapped for cash prosecuting here? And why haven’t we figured out another solution rather than filling our jails, which doesn’t seem to be working anyway.

  24. homeless in woodland

    If the DA did not enforce the law would he be in violation of law and I for one would trying to put his head on a stick!!!

    I think this type decision to be up to our local judges NOT local law enforcement.

  25. David M. Greenwald

    “If the DA did not enforce the law would he be in violation of law and I for one would trying to put his head on a stick!!!”

    With all due respect, you fail to understand the extent to which the prosecutor has discretion in a case like this.

    First of all, they do not have to seek (and may not get) three strikes.

    Second, one of the key charges is a wobbler that could be a misdemeanor or a felony and they chose to charge it as a felony.

    So they have two instances in which they have discretion and instead they have chosen to file this as a three strikes case, which I think is pretty close to abuse of discretion given the orders that have come down from the governor to release prisoners many of whom have committed far more serious offenses than this.

    “I think this type decision to be up to our local judges NOT local law enforcement.”

    Again, the state law has taken away almost all discretion from local judges which puts the onus on local law enforcement to properly charge cases or else you end up with a case like this.

  26. wdf1

    Hmmm. I think we had public floggings in the good old USA…

    Probably. Perhaps during the time we had legal slavery. Before women could vote, before childhood vaccinations and public health, back when a significant portion of the populations was illiterate.

    Those were indeed the “good old days”!

    The taxpayer didn’t commit the crime. We should make the shoplifter pay the costs.

    And how would we do that?

  27. Rich Rifkin

    DG: [i]”Mr. Ferguson has been battling mental illness for a number of years. He is attempting to control the ill-effects of this mental disorder. His mental disorder is responsible for this mania, depression, and mood instability. Because of his mental disorder problems he has come to a substance abuse problem, which is apparently under control.”[/i]

    BK: [i]”Assuming mental illness is a big part of this man’s problems, then his life story is yet another reminder of what is wrong with our mental health laws, which do not allow for mandatory treatment unless the person is deemed to be an immediate threat to himself or someone else. His life, his family member’s lives, and his victims lives have been hurt by such laws, and they desperately need revision.”[/i]

    Everyone who knows me (or ever reads my blog ([url]http://lexicondaily.blogspot.com/[/url])) knows that I agree 100% with Barbara.

    I also think Phil brings up some excellent points regarding the extraordinary costs of prisons in California.

    I think this case raises questions about the effectiveness of punishment for breaking the law.

    One of those questions is what is the proper punishment for someone who has lost control of his mind due to a severe mental illness like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia?

    Punishment is supposed to be a rational response. It’s the stick in the carrot and stick equation. You behave well and you get the carrot. You don’t and you get the stick. Your incentives are clear. However, serious mental illness changes the equation. A person who, in his right mind, would never harm anyone, does some bat#### crazy stuff that is inexplicable. It is insanity.

    Does it do anyone any good to punish a person who is out of his mind? Will that really lead to better behavior in the future?

    Doesn’t it make a whole lot more sense to force that person into treatment, where antipsychotic medications can make him functional and rational again?

    If the drugs work, but the patient will become dangerous off of his meds, shouldn’t we make damn sure he is taking those meds?

    And if they don’t work and he cannot function in society, is it not a whole lot more humane to place him in a psychiatric hospital where the staff knows how to properly treat him than to stuff him in a prison with guards who are not trained psychiatrists and will often respond to his craziness with violence and with fellow prisoners who very often will abuse the mentally ill inmates?

  28. Rich Rifkin

    Another question we ought to be asking ourselves as Californians is why we have such long prison sentences at all?

    The idea of prison is punishment in order to correct behavior. To repeat from my previous post, it is the stick in the equation.

    But beyond a certain point, the stick has no sting. The man beaten becomes numb. If someone’s punishment literally were to be flogged by a stick 50,000 times, he would (if he did not split open and bleed to death) stop feeling the stick after, I don’t know, 150 or 200 hits.

    It’s the same thing with a prison sentence. If someone steals a car and goes to prison for 2 years, he is punished. Yet our laws (not even counting 3 strikes) might incarcerated him for 4 years or 10 years. What benefit is there to anyone (who is not cashing in on our system) for those extra 2 or 8 years? If he did not learn that crime doesn’t pay after 3 years in prison, is he going to catch on in the next 3 years in the joint?

    You might think that there is some great benefit of having a thief in prison for 10 years, because during those last 8 years, he will not have had the chance to commit any further offenses against society.

    But if that is your argument, then you are essentially saying that prison itself is not a corrective; it’s a warehouse for the irrational.

    And if that is true, that the offender is not rational, it makes me wonder why we don’t focus more on the offender’s mental health than just locking him up?

    To my mind, some crimes are beyond redemption: murder, attempted murder and various acts which show wanton disregard for innocent human life. I don’t believe such people belong locked up for 50-80 years at taxpayer expense. That is a huge waste of resources which could be better used on education and health programs and roads and bridges and so on. Someone who is not suffering from a serious mental illness and kills someone intentionally should be killed by society.

    Also to my mind, some crimes (which we send people away to prison for) are just not crimes at all: that is, crimes of vice. If we regulated the sex and drug trades instead of “prhobiting” them, our costs of incarceration would fall dramatically.

  29. Alphonso

    “What benefit is there to anyone (who is not cashing in on our system) for those extra 2 or 8 years? If he did not learn that crime doesn’t pay after 3 years in prison, is he going to catch on in the next 3 years in the joint? “

    Not only that, but excessive prison terms make it harder for people to become productive citizens when they get out. Accordingly, they are set up to fail and they end up returning to prison.

    I disagree with the notion of executing people it just condones a bad behavior. Sure it costs a lot to pay for a lifer but perhaps the better solution is to reduce the cost. Maybe we should should outsource part (the lifer part) of the prison system to low cost countries. Is Devil’s Island vacant?

  30. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Maybe we should should outsource part (the lifer part) of the prison system to low cost countries. Is Devil’s Island vacant?”[/i]

    Gene Burns (of KGO radio fame) long ago suggested that for incorrigible and violent criminals we ought to exile them. That is, take away their US citizenship. I think his idea (if I recall correctly) was to send them off to some remote island where each man could fend for himself. The waters around the island would be laden with sea-mines so no one could leave by boat. (It sort of borrows from the British conception of Australia.)

    But now hearing your concept, of “outsourcing” to poor countries, sounds more attractive to me. Afghanistan needs jobs. I’d much rather send the Afghans our convicts than send them our soldiers.

  31. anonymous

    I don’t have confidence that Afghanistan is capable of keeping hardened violent criminals in prison. Al Qaida could stage a jail break and pick up some recruits.

  32. Don Shor

    But if that is your argument, then you are essentially saying that prison itself is not a corrective…

    I think that a premise of the Three Strikes law is that prison is not a corrective after a certain level of recidivism has been demonstrated.

  33. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]I think that a premise of the Three Strikes law is that prison is not a corrective after a certain level of recidivism has been demonstrated.[/i]

    We can say the same thing about the California prison system that Jefferson Davis said about the Confederacy: It died of a theory.

  34. faraway

    I knew Robert in school and I’m not supprised he has been locked up for over 26 years. I remember him stealing from his own mother Ruthy, the cost to keep him locked up is about the same than he will steal from you and me if he is out of prison.

  35. memary10

    This man sounds like he is mentally ill and has some kind of compulsive disorder like kleptomania. It is almost impossible to get mental health treatment in this area, so the system locks these people up and throws away the key. That way it makes job security for people who work in the criminal justice system. We are running backwards with alarming speed. Welcome to Gulag California.

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