Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sandwiches and Sin at the CJCC

Dropped by the CJCC meeting this afternoon, as I was in the neighborhood and had a notion to scope out new commissioner Batts. Batts apparently won't be on the grind until the end of September (Deputy Commissioner Skinner was there instead), but there were sandwiches, and here's some other interesting stuff I done learnded:

According to Tammy Brown, (formerly Chief of Staff of the Department of Juvenile Services, and now executive director of O'Malley's office of Crime Control and Prevention) the state now has no DNA backlog. Fairly amazeballs given that six months ago the backlog was 654. Brown said clearing the backlog has led to 487 DNA-related arrests.

According to Sam Abed of the Department of Juvenile Services, the "VPI" is why the juvenile homicide rate is down so much-- 58% since 2008. Statewide 994 youths are in the VPI program and 276 in the city. The program apparently involves cherry-picking the exceptionally naughty children and GPSing their little ankles and/or making them report to someone three times a week.

Reporting for the Attorney General's office was one Brian Kleinbord, chief of the criminal appeals division, who recapped four Fourth-Circuit cases to watch in the near future, all of which might find their way to SCOTUS:

Maryland v  King, aka "the cheek swab case." He said MD filed its "cert" in August and will find out in late October or early November if SCOTUS will grant it.

Woollard, et al., v Gallagher et al, aka the "concealed carry case." The appeal will be argued October 24.

Merzbacher v. Shearin, which he called "as notorious and salacious as any case we've seen." This involves a Catholic-school child rapist (Merzbacher), convicted by a city jury and sentenced to four life terms. After Merzbacher was convicted, he appealed, claiming that he hadn't been informed of a plea deal. Said plea was heard by dear departed Judge Prevas, who found that Merzbacher's lawyer was lying, considering he found it unlikely they'd never talked plea bargaining and furthermore, as it turned out, said lawyer was also a convicted criminal who lied on her bar application. Merzbacher appealed Prevas' decision, District Court Judge Andre Davis agreed with Merzbacher, and so now the 4th C will deal with that mess October 23 in Richmond.

And some other fascinating facts:
Crime is down in almost every category over this time last year, though homicides are up (by less than one percent) over this time last year, and "larceny from auto" is up 6 percent.

So far in 2012, 55,717 people have been arrested in Maryland's "Central Region" (which appears to mean Baltimore City, since other stats in the same handout refer to city courthouses). 88% of these detainees were black, 90% were male. The average daily population of detainees is 3,320, and the most common "dominant offense" = drug-related. So far this year there have been two suicide deaths and two deaths from natural causes.


Cham said...

Homicidewise, I thought we were up 6 over last year at this time. 6/144 = 4.17% not 1%, but maybe the CJCCJCwhatever is using the new math.

The attach-the-GPS to the tots' ankle program was supposed to be implemented years ago. I'd rather have the errant youth sitting unhappily in their bedroom than face down on the jail's poo-floor with missing teeth. Probably better and cheaper for society.

If we legalized drugs we'd take the wind out of the judicial system. I'm convinced the Europeans have gone down the right path with their austerity program. I'm watching Detroit and Chicago take a hatchet to their budget. It's painful but they are going to come out of it with leaner police forces, fewer government employees and a better system all round. A slash and burn would do Baltimore well in the long run. Leaving things as they are yields us the ever-expanding judicial system ,prison system and police force while we watch our liberties being whittled away around here.

Maurice Bradbury said...

The homicide # was as of 9/1, when it was 141 (vs. 140 9/1/11). Tot-tagging might've started a while back, TTags + the VPI (Violence Prevention Initiative, aka using data to select out certain youths' grills for probation and parole to get extra all up in) started 2008, from what I understand.