While sipping coffee and reading my morning paper this past Sunday, I saw something that should honestly be a national outrage. The Philadelphia Inquirier reported that at the behest of the Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald Castille and District Attorney Seth Williams that over nineteen thousand open criminal cases have been closed and fugitive bench warrants have been lifted. That’s right folks. Nineteen thousand of our nation’s worst people have just all collectively been told that whatever they did it was ok. That the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania wasn’t even going to bother with them anymore. Not talking about some fifteen year old kid that stole a candy bar from a grocery store. Drug dealers and rapists. Child molesters. They’re being given a free pass. The state isn’t going to be going after them anymore. They are dropping all charges. According to the Honorable Chief Justice, these cases were “clogging up the system” and that you were never going to find these people. So I guess that means that we should just pull out of Afghanistan because it’s been nine years and we haven’t found Bin Laden yet. Oh how I love his logic!
But instead of going after these people they are just going to let them all off the hook. Speaking of His Honor’s logic, it should also be noted that a staff writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer was able to find the current addresses and phone numbers of some of these fugitives, with absolutely no trouble at all I might add, to let them know the good news. His Honor must be so overworked that he had to farm out some of his office’s work to a newspaper. One of these individuals was a man that had been facing charges stemming from two drunk driving arrests in 1991. When contacted it was said that he was ecstatic that the charges had been dropped. When it comes to this particular crime, especially when you flee to escape prosecution; I don’t care if it is a week or a hundred years. The case should stay open and you should be tried no matter how long it takes to catch you. And I should tell you that I recently had a close member of my family released from a two year stint in prison following a drunk driving conviction. I couldn’t care if it was a member of my own family, if you run; no matter how long it takes the police and court system should scour the earth looking for you.
Another one of these recipients of the greatest act of absolution since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is a man named Francisco Sanchez, who twenty three years ago pushed his was into a Philadelphia woman’s home and sexually assaulted her. After fleeing before his trial, which in my opinion is a pretty good accounting of someone’s purported innocence, he can come back to the City of Brotherly Love with no thought of repercussions against him. This is absolutely sick and disgusting. Then to add an extra insult to all of it, it was also reported that these fugitive who’s charges are all being dropped owe in excess of one billion dollars in forfeited bail money. That’s a lot of money folks. Picture your neighbor that owes you fifty dollars. Think about how upset you are about that. Now imagine him owing you a billion! The bean counters in Harrisburg, PA must be urinating on themselves at the thought that money they could be using for an unlimited variety of civic projects is just going to be forgiven and forgotten. Hey, I remember some guy in high school that I loaned ten bucks to and never got it back. You’d figure the state of Pennsylvania would be a little less forgiving of people charged in criminal cases.
One of the other more entertaining quotes from District Attorney Seth Williams I read in the paper was that clearing out these old cases would let the state focus on more pressing cases citing that “none of them were cases were where someone was seriously injured or killed.” So it’s alright, to let a drug dealer that was caught with over one hundred and twenty five vials of crack just go? According to them it is. But I wish His Honor and the District Attorney would care to explain to myself, the citizens of Pennsylvania or the people that some of the more horrible crimes were committed against that everything is suddenly ok. That they should let bygones be bygones. Why, because they didn’t die? That it makes it alright, the state is dropping the whole thing. Well what about a woman who’s the victim of a sexual assault, that has to live with worrying about every noise outside her window at night? Or someone that was molested decades ago, who ends up with behavioral problems for most of their life? They should just let the whole thing go because the state doesn’t want to look goofy putting an eighty year old man on trial? If they ever watched themselves on C-SPAN, they wouldn’t be so worried about that. It’s sickening and this is something that they US Attorney General should look heavily into and maybe, possibly suggest to the Chief Justice and Attorney General of Pennsylvania that they need to pull their heads out of their backsides. The people that were charged with these crimes and then fled should live lives as uncomfortable as their victims in a cold prison cell somewhere. Besides, that billion dollars all those fugitives owe could be put to better use. Like, I don’t know, looking for another criminal in the Middle East we’re never going to find.