Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Devious Dynamic Duo - Thugs of the Week

I guess it is just a coincidence that the new Batman movie came out this week. This week we do have a "Thug" of the week, who has an understudy, somewhat like Batman and Robin. Except, Batman and Robin were crime fighters, not crime doers. This week's Thug - Batman - is Darryl Merriwether, rni # 54704, and member of the Gangster Disciples. His protege, is Marcellus Clay aka Larry Clay, rni# 192893 and member of the Crips gang.

Anti-Batman (Darryl Merriwether) Gangster - GD

103 bookings
Charges - This ia a list of unique charges, some charges have been placed against Darryl multiple times.

VANDALISM $1000.00-$10000.00

Thug - Robin - (Marcellis Clay) Gangster - Crips
20 bookings
THEFT OF PROPERTY $1000-$10000

Oh, you might want to know that Marcellis, or Larry is out of jail already. Urban Terrorism is being facilitated by the "injustice system". Are you "mad as hell yet"?


Anonymous said...

Yes, we are Mad as Hell. What can we do to change this? Writing our officials is not helping much. We need stronger action. Your thoughts. Is it time to start forming a militia against our weak leaders in Nashville to change some laws to protect us from repeat offenders? Thanks for all your help with educating the public. Randall

John Harvey said...

Maybe it's time for the neighborhood watch and other groups to band together. Politicians look to see which direction the parade is headed, then the smart ones, get in front. Maybe if the these groups started picketing the CJC, holding protests on the mall, etc. Maybe then the judges would pay closer attention to the previous convictions of these thugs.

As I pointed out on this week's "Robin", he has 20 arrests, but he isn't still in jail. A few weeks ago, the MPD arrested a guy who is "homeless", and charged him with 9 arsons. He was released from jail the day after he was arrested. He should not be homeless. His home should be at 201 Poplar, then the state pen.

We need a tent compound to house some of these thugs, like Sheriff Joe in Phoenix. We DO NOT need a half billion dollar glammer slammer II.

Anonymous said...

I wish my Neighborhood association was more than a once-a-month social club with annual dues. Instead, I find that more things get done if I go directly to the department that handles a particular complaint. I call the police, code enforcement, public works, etc. myself. While the N.A. is concerned with who has cars where and if your grass is a half inch too tall after a day's worth of showers, I'm busy noting plate numbers of cars leaving a house from which drugs are being sold.

Maybe we need a militia of a different kind. Our judicial system is failing us. After all, those judges don't have to live amongst us laypeople and the thugs they turn loose. I don't think a protest will matter. The sheeple (voting majority here) will continue to vote on name recognition and not on records of service, and our elected officials know that. I don't know that there is much you can do besides arming yourself and protecting your own family anymore.

I'd be all for marching on the courthouse steps...except, if I am not mistaken, I'm prohibited from carrying my firearm on the property. That makes it a definite no-go for me. It's like an Amex card, I never leave home without it.

John Harvey said...

Anonymous 3:50 You should sign up for CyberWatch and send those tag numbers and other tips directly to the MPD, SCSO, Millington or other law enforcement agencies. Germantown will be included in CyberWatch next week, and soon more will follow.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:50 here, I am already and I have. The last vehicle description, date, time and description of suspects was sent via the Cyberwatch link in the emails I get...often 2-4 times a day. Sometimes though, if I am not near a computer, I still call in instead.

Bookmark said...

CyberWatch is a GREAT Tool.
Thanks for your work on it.

Bookmark said...

It is weak judges or the laws that need changing to accept overcrowded prisons. Will the TN laws let us house prisoners in tents with razor wire? If this is the judges how do we find out which judges are letting the animals out? Thanks,

Anonymous said...


In answer to you question about the judges that let these animals out, as well as the implications made by 3:50 about the judges, the fact is that it's not our judicial system, or our laws, that are failing us.

The "failure" in the system lies with none other than the office of the man whose job it is to keep these thugs off the street, after the police have done their jobs and arrested them, and that is the office of the District Attorney General Bill Gibbons.

As one who works in the justice system, and who is not a judge, let me tell you how it works (although John Harvey doesn't like my doing so, as he seems determined to provide the DA "cover" whenever possible and I wont be half surprised if he doesn't allow this to be posted, but I digress).

In criminal cases, there are basically 5, and sometimes 6, "actors" involved when the matter goes to court. These are:
1: The defendant
2: The police who arrest the defendant
3: The District Attorney, sometimes called "the prosecution"
4: The defense attorney
5: The judge
and sometimes;
6: The "trier of fact," which may be judge or jury
7: The grand jury
(numbers 6 and 7 only come into play if a defendant is indicted by the grand jury and/or has a trial in front of the trier of fact, which may be the judge or a jury).

In some cases, the police may not have followed the law or may have violated the constitutional rights enjoyed by all citizens of Tennessee and the United States. The job of the defense attorney is to make sure that the police have not violated the defendants rights and that the police have followed all the proper rules, procedures and constitutional provisions.

Assuming the police have done their jobs properly and the defendant is actually guilty, there is not too much the defense attorney can do, other than make sure the defendant's rights are continually protected and try to get the best "deal" possible for the defendant.

This is where the District Attorney General comes in. His job is to represent "the people of the State of Tennessee."

Our current Attorney General isn't much of a trial lawyer. I've heard rumors that he once actually went into a courtroom and tried to prosecute a case himself, but whether there is truth to this rumor or not, I can't say.

I can say that the Attorney General is much more a Public Relations man and politician than he his an effective District Attorney General.

Bill Gibbons' office comes up with lots of "feel good" bumper stickers, billboards, bus advertisements and slogans like "Gun Crime Equals Jail Time" and "NO DEALS," etc. etc.

The truth is almost every criminal conviction is the result of a "deal," all the District Attorney's sloganeering not withstanding.

I'll get back to the District Attorney General in a moment, but right now, let's take a look at the role of judges.

Keep in mind that every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This proof of guilt usually comes about in one of two ways: the defendant and defense attorney look at the evidence and decide to take the District Attorneys "Deal" or they decide not to take the DA's offer.

If the defendant decides not to take the deal offered by the people of the State of Tennessee, who are represented by the District Attorney General, the case will go to trial.

The trial may be in front of a judge, or a jury. In cases where the judge acts as judge and jury, the judge or jury (also called the "trier of fact") the trier of fact is only supposed to consider the evidence of the case in front of the court.

Knowledge of a defendant's prior criminal record is thought to prejudice the trier of fact and make it more difficult for them to not be biased toward thinking a particular defendant is guilty of THIS alleged crime based on knowledge of the fact that the defendant may have been previously arrested and convicted for other crimes.

For this reason, the judges normally do not have knowledge of the defendant's prior criminal record or history; if the judge ends up acting as judge and jury and finds the defendant guilty this safeguard is in place to make sure the judge only considers the facts of the case at trial, and is not prejudiced by knowledge of the fact the defendant may have done similar, or other, crimes in the past.

Now, when it comes down to sentencing the defendant after the trial, the judge IS allowed to take the defendant's past criminal record into consideration. In fact, not only is the judge allowed, at that point, to consider the defendant's past criminal history, the laws passed by our legislature demand the judge consider this, precisely to help ensure that repeat offenders receive harsher sentences. People who have shown a history of being anti social and having no respect for the laws of society deserve to be taken out of society but there doesn't need to be an appearance, before the defendant's guilt is decided on the basis of the facts present in the particular case, that the verdict was based on prejudices stemming from prior acts. In short, the sentencing phase of a criminal case is the point the judge is made aware of a defendant's prior criminal history, but not prior to that point.

I would have to say that, in truth, based on my personal observations at 201 Poplar, when cases actually do progress to the point where a judge is actually in charge of deciding what sentence a defendant should receive, most of our judges tend to sentence defendants to the upper end range of the sentence as allowed by law. This is one of the reasons that most criminal defendants choose to take the "deal" offered by the people of the State of Tennessee through their elected representative in the courts: the District Attorney General. They, and their lawyers, know a judge is more likely to give them a much harsher sentence than that offered by the District Attorney General.

Now, we should keep in mind that whether or not the District Attorney should be offering these sweet deals or not is a whole nother question. There are certain benefits to society, on a purely cost/benefit analysis, that are, I'm sure, behind many of the District Attorneys offer of deals.

Are the citizens of Shelby County ready to invest the money required to actually jail a large number of citizens for misdeamnor crimes that, in many instances, amount to nothing more than nusiances for up to about 1 year?

I dont know the anwswer to that and this post is already too long for me to get into discussions of policy making and the societal costs and benefits.

The point is that it is the representative of the people of the State of Tennessee (the District Attorney General) who decides what "offer," or deal, the people are willing to make with the defendant.

If the District Attorney makes an offer the defendant is willing to accept, the parties just go before the judge, inform the court that the defendant is ready to enter a guilty plea, and proceed from there.

The judge, who is by design kept ignorant of the defendant's past criminal record, is informed by the representative of the people of the State of Tennessee what punishment the people think is just and fitting for this particular defendant and the judge then generally decides, since the people of the State are happy with the deal made, to accept the plea.

If the people of the State of Tennessee, or the County of Shelby, are not happy with the offer, or "deal," their representative is making with criminals, the people need to look to themselves and ask "why do we keep electing this guy who lets criminals return to our streets with a slap on the wrist?"

I can't answer that question, other than to say it appears a majority of the citizens in Shelby County who vote are happy with the deals made by the DA, whether some of us are or not.

Judges cannot, by their cannon of ethics, respond to criticisms and misrepresentations of how the system works made by people like the owner of this blog.

John Harvey is no idiot and he knows how the system works and he knows it's the District Attorney General, who I assume is his friend, who makes the deals that let criminals back on the streets. He likes, for whatever reason, to stir up public sentiment against our judges but he, and everyone who understands the rules of our criminal justice system, knows the judges are not the ones, as most criminal cases are disposed of, who decide to let criminals go with a slap on the wrist; it's the District Attorney General, even though John Harvey is loathe to admit it.

In fact, what Mr. Harvey is really trying to do with his so-called sentencing matrix scheme is tie the hands of the District Attorney General so that he cannot make these "deals" with criminals who have lengthy criminal records.

In effect, what Mr. Harvey proposes with his sentencing matrix is to ask the legislature to implement a law that would force the District Attorney General to do his job in representing the will of the people of the State. I believe the solution to the problem lies not in having more laws but in booting out politicans (and certainly not electing them governor) who mollycoddle criminals and replace them with elected officials who will do what the people want in finding ways to keep criminals off the streets.

It's another debate for another time whether the best way to do that is locking them up, but, for now, if Mr. Harvey will allow this post to go up, we can understand that the problem is not with our judges, but with the guy who is SUPPOSED to be representing the people against these criminals.

John Harvey said...

Well, anonymous 11:52:41, who thinks I'm protecting the DA, I'm just trying to be fair, and therefore, your post is hereby posted!< G >

Next week, Mike Fleming and I are going to meet and discuss/plan an event that will highlight this issue and take it to the next level.

I'm saying I think the issue is that the politicians who have control over the incarceration of these criminals don't think the public is that concerned. We plan to find out if the good citizens of this county are willing to stand up and exercise the freedom of speech they have been afforded. It is our goal to bring our issues to the politicians attention, and basically demand that they do something about it. If they won't do what they have been elected to do, the voters will be made aware and it will be upon them to make the changes.

You like to get on me for not attacking general Gibbons, but think about it, if you want to effect change, you have to be diplomatic. A force is always met with an equal and opposite force. There is no reason to use harsh words, when soft, but strong words are so much more effective. I am a student of Verbal Judo, and therefore, I choose my words carefully.

Hopefully, we can all come together soon, and try to get something done to fix the crime problem.

John Harvey said...

I forgot to add that prosecutors merely bring sentencing recommendations before the judges. The judge is the ultimate arbiter of the adjudication. I've seen judges turn down plea deals many times, and I'm saying the judges have the power to do this, if and when they choose.

The prosecutors can bring all the plea deals they want, but the judge is the one who makes the final call.

Anonymous said...

Well, Mr. Harvey, I certainly appreciate your fairness and the fact that you don't try and censor free speech on your blog. I only hope my comments don't drag you into a lawsuit with DA or Police Director trying to find out my identity to stiffle free speech and criticisms. LOL. Never fear, if they do, I will reveal myself and spare you the expense of litigation.

To be fair, I dont want you to necessarily attack General Gibbons. In many instances I believe that offering deals to these criminals, thus allowing them back on the street, is the prudent thing to do from a certain point of view. My problem lies more in your attacks on the judges who, for the most part, are not the proper parties at which to direct your criticisms.

I will be the fist to admit that you are unfailingly polite and it is my hope that, as you meet with Mike Fleming, this trait, as well as your ability to speak with soft, sharp words rubs off on him and he is able to help effectuate meaningful change.

I am afraid that, in many cases, we are going to find that even if we go to the expense of building facilities, whether Arizon style tent cities, or brick and mortar jails to incarcerate more and more citizens, we will find that is not the ethical, practical, economic, or successful solution to our problems.

I believe most (not all) of the problems we have with crime come from a breakdown of civility, respect (for the law and each other), family support systems, the educational systems, and the public welfare systems. Addressing these root problems of crime in our society is going to be required if we are really serious about fixing the problems that plague us.

In my earlier post I refered to the fact that the crimes commited (for the most part, certainly not all) by your Thug(s) of the Week are "nuisance" crimes, meaning that no one is really seriously harmed by their criminal activities.

This is not meant to trivialize their actions. Over the past couple years, I have had my car broken into and my wallet stolen and had a criminal attempt to burglarize my house early one morning. Luckily, I had gotten up about 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom and happended to look out the window and see this jerk with his pry-bar getting ready to try and break into a bedroom window.

I grabbed a gun, called the police, turned the flood lights on and he ran. The police arrived in minutes but we never found him that night.

The next day, as I was about to enter General Sessions Division 11, I saw, standing right outside the courtroom door, the same guy who about six hours earlier had tried to break in my house. I know he was there, most likely, as a result of his having done something similar to someone else and wished I could have had him strapped in old sparky then and there.

I say this to explain that by my statement earlier, where I called these crimes "nusiances" I dont mean to imply they aren't a big deal to the victims. But they arent the type crimes, or criminals, who generally put the lives and safety of the community at large at risk; they are more a risk to your property and sense of well being, but generally are not harmful to other people.

Thinking along those lines, I can see how the DA would decide to release some of these people with the proverbial slap on the wrist and hold a jail cell open for an abusive spouse, rapist, or killer. Not that I, personally, didnt want to see the guy who victimized me locked away for years.

Earlier this week at 201, there was a case, where a certain defendant who had been evalutated to see if an insanity defense could be used in his case, where the doctor's evaluation came back saying, basically, "this guy has serious mental problems, he's crazy; but, i'm afraid, he's not crazy enough to be considered insane for legal purposes."

That is a scary diagnosis because it means, ultimately, this crazy guy will be put back on our streets, still crazy, but wont be getting the help he needs that may, if it's even possible to do so, get his crazyness in check.

There was a time, beginning nearly 28 or 30 years ago, when it was decided by the powers that be in Washington, federal funding for keeping people with mental problems in institutions should be defunded, resulting in people with serious mental problems, in effect, being dumped upon our city streets. The resulting rise in crime should have not been hard to predict.

There's one school of thought that government can't protect us and the best way to eliminate government is to prove its inability to protect us by making sure we're more at risk. An easy way of doing this is to cut funding for social programs that tend to protect society from its sick members.

There's another school of thought that government can help provide soltions and promote the general welfare by providing training, assistance, medical benefits, education, etc to members of society and thereby provide them with the means to take care of themselves, if possible, and, if not, provide them a place to reside seperate from other members of society.

Either way, the cost to the average citizen is great. We have to decide which system ultimately benefits us more.

I'd be glad to participate in that discussion, but I dont have answers.

Until we reach that point, I agree with you we need to stand up and demand that our elected officials do something about the problems. I hope we can agree on what the something is, though. I also agree the better way to effect change is to do it through what you call verbal judo. I dont agree, however, that under the present facts and circumstances surrounding the Thug of the Week, that judo is properly used on our judges, as opposed to the District Attorney General.

At least you're brining attention to the issue and that's a start to finding a problem so, for that, my hat's off to you

John Harvey said...

Ok anon, a few points that need clarification.

First - The cost of incarcerating these criminals will become exhorbitant. That notion has been disproven in the New York experiment, where they decided to get tough. It turns out they experienced the opposite. They advertised that they were "mad as hell" and they weren't going to take it anymore. Then, they started vigorously prosecuting thugs. Today they are talking about closing several prisons because they don't have enough prisoners to fill them. It seems the thugs decided to go elsewhere, like New Jersey.

I think we can do the same here. Why not let our friends to the north, south, east and west share in the joy of thuggery?

Second - most of their crimes are petty. We can only address the crimes for which they have been charged. They have probably committed ten times as many. In all the data I've seen, I've only seen one guy who didn't have a single felony. The people are opportunists, and it is time for them to take to the road, and look for opportunities - elsewhere.

I am encouraged that people are starting to get energized about this issue. Maybe we'll get something done.

I am not wanting to single out any particular judges. I just want them to know that we are the ones who elect them, and if they don't or won't do the job, we have the power to remove them. What a wonderful country that we can assemble, discuss in rational terms, develop a plan and disseminate it to our elected officials. If we come together and have significant numbers, I feel certain the judges, the DA, the Sheriff, and any other people who have anything to do with the "justice system" will have to listen. To do otherwise, would be against their best interest.

Bookmark said...

Great information and discussion. I would love to help both you to solve the crime problem. We all have the same desire to make this community safer. I should not have to have razor wire around my house and need to carry a gun everywhere I go. Thanks again,