With anti-gun politicians and gun control activists pouncing on the shootings in Boulder as their stated justification for new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, it’s worth pointing out yet again that the criminal justice system isn’t exactly doing a bang-up job of enforcing the laws that are currently on the books. One of the most recent examples comes from Carlsbad, New Mexico, where 32-year old Stuart Dollar recently received his sentence for shooting at two women in June of last year: less than five years of probation.
Stuart Dollar, 32, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a household member, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, interference with communications, DWI, negligent use of a deadly weapon, no proof of insurance, evidence of registration and driving while license was suspended, court records read.
In a criminal complaint filed by Carlsbad police, Dollar was allegedly intoxicated when he pulled up to a Carlsbad residence on June 4, 2020 where he demanded money owed to him by a woman at the residence.
Police said Dollar left the property and came back armed after a short verbal argument and pointed the gun at two women and fired a shot, just missing them.
After firing his gun at the women, Dollar proceeded to grab a phone out of the hands of one of the victims as she tried to call police. After officers arrived, Dollar reportedly gave the officer a false name.
Despite all that, when Dollar came before a judge earlier this month, she not only suspended the prison sentences that Dollar could have received, but also gave him credit for time served, reducing the amount of time that he’ll have to spend on probation.
Dollar’s case isn’t that unusual, unfortunately. While the vast majority of cases like his don’t receive any media attention whatsoever, a quick online search turned up several more cases of shooters receiving probation for their crimes in recent days, or being arrested for new crimes after previously receiving probation for a shooting incident.
An Urbana man who admitted shooting a gun outside a convenience store more than two years ago, resulting in a man being severely injured, has been sentenced to probation.
Demaris Miner, 34, whose last known address was in the 1500 block of Curtis Drive, pleaded guilty Monday before Judge Roger Webber to reckless discharge of a firearm.
He admitted that on Jan. 21, 2019, he fired a gun in the direction of a man who was outside of the Red Fox convenience store at 2000 N. Market St., C.
In exchange, Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher McCallum dismissed a more serious charge of aggravated battery with a firearm.
When Malik Halfacre faced a judge last week on charges that he killed four people on Randolph Street in Indianapolis, it wasn’t the first time he was in court for his alleged role in a shooting.
In May 2017, Halfacre was charged with aggravated battery, carrying a handgun without a license and pointing a firearm. The charges came after he was accused of shooting and wounding a man on the city’s west side.
The most serious charge — a level 3 felony count of aggravated battery — carries a sentencing range of three to 16 years.
But the charge was dismissed when Halfacre entered a plea deal. He was ultimately sentenced to 250 days of probation, in addition to the 240 days he had already been in jail.
A man accused of shooting another person at Douglass Park in Columbia has been sentenced.
A judge sentenced Gerrod Taylor to five years of probation Wednesday.
He pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon.
Witnesses saw him carrying a rifle through the park.
One person was shot in the leg.
A Berkeley gang member who goes by the street name “Savage” has been charged with shooting at a moving vehicle on Sacramento Street in early March, authorities report.
Many readers had asked Berkeleyside about the arrest last week, by detectives and the Berkeley Police Department Special Response Team, of 29-year-old Jose Paz-Leja in South Berkeley. Officers from the Special Response Team (SRT), which other police agencies call “SWAT,” arrested Paz-Leja on Thursday at 7 a.m. at his home on Alcatraz Avenue near Sacramento Street, BPD said.
Paz-Leja was convicted in 2017 for brandishing a firearm, according to court papers, and possession of a firearm by a felon. He was sentenced to probation. In that case, a woman told police he had waved a stolen gun at her at Sacramento and Harmon Street.
Later that year, police arrested Paz-Leja in connection with shooting and wounding a 25-year-old man on Fairview Street, near Sacramento Street, on Halloween night. BPD identified the victim in that case as a rival gang member who did not cooperate with the investigation. While looking into the case, however, police learned that the alleged shooter went by the name “Savage,” which they knew to be Paz-Leja’s nickname, according to court papers.
According to court records, the Halloween shooting case was dismissed in 2018 as part of a plea deal.
Keep in mind that, under the universal background check bill now in the U.S. Senate, if you sold or loaned a gun to your neighbor without putting them through a background check first you could be looking at a year in federal prison. Under Joe Biden’s proposed gun and magazine ban, if you continue to possess your banned rifle or magazine without registering it with the government under the National Firearms Act, you could face a ten-year federal prison sentence.
While violent criminals are pulling the trigger and walking away with probation, gun control advocates want to create brand new, non-violent, possessory crimes that would put gun owners behind bars for years, even if their only offense was keeping their gun without telling the government or loaning a gun to a neighbor so she’d have some sort of protection if her abusive ex showed up at her door.
I don’t believe in the idea of banning our way to safety, but the idea is even more ridiculous given the current state of our criminal justice system. When it comes to enforcing the laws that are already on the books, the cases above indicate that our criminal justice system is failing to get even semi-tough on violent offenders. Turning tens of millions of Americans into paperwork criminals seems like a really bad (and unconstitutional) way to address violent crime when we’re not even putting violent criminals behind bars.