McCreadie's Bill 107 aimed at harsher punishment for repeat viol - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

McCreadie's Bill 107 aimed at harsher punishment for repeat violent crimes offenders


GUAM - 
"This is bill is meant to protect our people, punish our criminals and promote a safer Guam for locals and visitors alike" Senator Brant McCreadie remarked.
 
Mccreadie's Bill 107 creates a two strikes provision for habitual offenders of serious crimes.
 
 "In short any person who is convicted of two violence aggravated felonies as I identified in Bill 107 shall be sentenced to life in prison" the senator elaborated.
 
McCreadie says the bill requires debate and discussion which no doubt ensued this morning.
Random women's rally member Corina Fejeran along with Monique Baza, a survivor of a violent crime, testified that the bill is the step in the right direction. They do however say it may not be as effective if all parts of the law don't work for the benefit of the victim.
 
Fejeran explained, "Stiffer punishment needs to take place for serious crimes but it should not have to take until the second strike to make a difference. Violent crimes on the first offense is just as serious and should not be taken lightly."
 
Monique Baza adds, "These criminals are not stupid, they know the law and how to get around them. This is the reason why punishment for violent crimes should be great from the first defense. The minimum convictions for the first degree after the first offense is five years. Looking at the track record of my perpetrator he had never even served this amount of time for his amount of crimes."
 
Meanwhile Mikaela Silkey-Henderson, an attorney with the public defender's office, opposed the measure saying it would take away the judicial discretion from judges.
 
"I would oppose anything that would take away that discretion from them and tie their hands and take away their abilities to evaluate each case on an individual basis" Henderson remarked.
 
So did attorney Richard Dirkx adding violent criminals deserve stern punishment, he believes this bill takes a meat cleaver approach to a difficult situation.
 
"I don't know what went wrong, but throwing a hundred little fish in jail in hope that it will prevent one shark from biting someone is the wrong answer" the attorney replied.
 
Attorney Randy Cunliffe also testified against the bill saying it's ill-advised adding programs related to rehabilitation in the prison don't exist due to lack of funding.
  
"I can tell you in all the years that I've represented criminal defendants, that they don't think they're going to get caught. Therefore by putting a law in place that says you can go to jail for the rest of your life isn't going to deter someone from committing a crime. You have to educate them. You have to give them knowledge, and educate them" Cunliffe explained.
 
As we reported, about half of the people coming through the doors of DOC in the last year have returned at least one other time - 50 percent were repeat offenders, 62 percent were basically for probation violations and court drug testing, 6 percent were for violent crimes, 8 percent for burglaries, and over 7 percent for family violence.

The Office of the Attorney General meanwhile supports the intent of the bill and understands there's an impact all around from economic to the prison to even the caseload put on his office.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Phil Tydingco added, "And so when you frame the issue, you need to consider all the factors raised by all the people here both the victims and those that want to promote making certain that unfair and unjust sentences are not imposed."
 
The bill list 25 offenses that would be considered a violent or aggravated felony however both senator McCreadie and the AG's office note that they have been in discussion to reduce it to 14. 

 

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