LTE: Public officials can help prevent repeat offenses
April 20, 2005
To the Editor,
My name is Todd Berry, and I am a convicted felon serving a sentence for crimes of which I am not proud. Before I go on, let me say how truly remorseful I am for what I have done. The pain I caused in the community was both unwarranted and unjustified. To those I have hurt I am truly sorry.
Coshocton is at a point where crime is rising, and places to put those who commit the crimes are becoming overcrowded. When this happens, victims are sometimes neglected, and unfortunately, some criminals slip through the cracks of justice. You do not need to look very hard to see that the courts are bogged down with cases that ultimately end up in some type of plea bargain. Often the criminal is represented by an overworked and underpaid Public Defender, causing the voice of the victims to, regrettably, fall on deaf ears.
You only need to look at recent events to see this. A man was charged with raping a little girl. Rape is a first-degree felony, but the prosecutor, who is an elected public official, recommended that he be released on a $5,000 bond. The judge granted his request. $5,000 is all it took to put this man back into the community where he could hurt another innocent child.
Throughout my time in the judicial system I have encountered many repeat offenders that have managed to plea bargain their case to get a lenient sentence. Many times these offenders get released from prison, and recommit crimes in Coshocton only to yet again receive a break from the court system. When the people we elect fail to see this type of repeated pattern, or for that matter, see it and neglect to act upon it, then they fail you who voted for them. Our elected officials, therefore, play a role in the victimization of more innocent people. If these public servants had done their jobs, and caught the repeated pattern of recidivism, then innocent citizens might not have had to go through the fear, the pain and the loss so many have unjustly endured.
Remember a public servant is just that. They are put in places of authority for the people and by the people in order to serve. Do not be afraid to write or call your public servants and ask questions. Find out what they are doing with the power you, the community, have entrusted to them. After all, they do work for you.
Belmont Correctional Institution
When justice fails to protect - only you can protect you
A woman flees her own apartment after reportedly getting assaulted. Investigators say she begged her neighbor to call police and then hid inside that apartment! The incident happened Saturday afternoon on Redwood Avenue in Dayton. Saturday evening a convicted felon is in police custody. Police tell me the suspect is a 23 year-old who is currently on parole for assault charges.
Richland County probation Officer J.J. Bittinger is frustrated. "I don't understand when these guys are given a break and released on bond, they screw that up," he said. "The judges look at that when they sentence them."
Police say Esteban Carpio killed James Allen while being questioned at police headquarters Sunday and was injured in a failed escape attempt. Authorities said Carpio jumped out of a third-floor window, injuring his leg, arm and head, and was captured after a struggle a few blocks away.
A man arrested six months ago in Texas for a 30-year-old killing avoided being caught earlier because Toledo police failed to enter the man's name in an FBI database for fugitives, The Blade reported on Sunday. David Delacruz, 61, did not change his name or Social Security number, was stopped at least six times for traffic violations and even spent a night in jail, but Texas authorities never knew Delacruz was wanted in the 1974 shooting death of James "Ronnie" Hendricks.