30 November 2010

Why was man accused of shooting city officer out of jail?

This is a good (but depressing) story about the ineffectiveness of our criminal justice system:
In 2008, Franklin Gross Sr. — the man accused of shooting a city police officer in the chest over the weekend — received a five-year prison sentence for a handgun conviction and 12 years for a separate armed robbery charge.
Yet Gross was out of prison, roaming downtown Baltimore early Saturday.
First, his sentences were backdated to May 28, 2006, to account for the time he spent in jail after he was first picked up on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Next, as part of his plea agreement, half of his 12-year sentence was suspended.
With the plea agreement, Gross was looking at a six-year sentence, with two years shaved off because he had already spent that time in jail.
Another two years came off through diminution — or "good time" — credits. In May, he was freed on mandatory release, 26 months after being sentenced.
The new charges against Gross filed this weekend in the shooting of Officer Todd Strohman mark the fifth time the 29-year-old has been charged with gun-related crimes, highlighting the continuing challenges that law enforcement authorities say they face in keeping gun offenders off the streets.
Unreal.  Seventeen years of sentences reduced to 26 months. It's no wonder Baltimore is such a violent place.
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