TRUTH & JUSTICE
UNDER THE REPUBLIC
A TALE OF TWO CRIMINALS
Following are two editorials about two separate and distinct cases, however, what unites them is the fact that both of these cases were the products of the law enforcement and judicial system as it exists under the republic of the Founding Fathers, and the outcome of these cases stands as a testament to the impact and influence of social castes in the United States. Racism is often used as a buzz-word to rile up the masses, but the real power structure is not based on race so much as on social status, as that is defined by the accumulation of wealth. Instead, race-baiting has been a time-honored method of the republic to divide the population, so that it will fail to attain any kind of populist unity, in the same way that the slaves were segregated from the poor white indentured servants, to keep them from conspiring against the plantation slavemaster.
THE CRIME OF STUPIDITY
By Joe Domanick
Earlier this month (July), Andre Wilks stubbornly refused to take the seven-year sentence in state prison that had been offered him by the Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Attorney Jacquelyn Lacey. Under California's 1994 three-strikes law, he is now in prison for the rest of this life for breaking a car window and stealing a cell phone. Three-strikes principal author was Mike Reynolds, a Fresno photographer whose daughter Kimber was brutally murdered when she was 18, the same age as Wilks when he stole the cell phone. But there is a deeper connection between Kimber Reynolds and Andre Wilks. Several months ago, Reynolds told me of his law's hidden agenda: to lock up young, petty, often non-violent criminals like Wilks "during the time when they would have, or easily could have, committed violent crimes." Could have.
Like Mike Reynolds, Lacey believes in being hard on criminals. Nevertheless, before the trial she took the extraordinary step of urging Wilks to take the seven-year deal. She told him she had an open-and-shut case against him, but that she would eliminate one of the "strikes," which still meant he would have serve at least seven years. Wilks refused the deal. Wilks' public defender, Richard Petherbridge, and Lacey both think that Wilks naively refused to believe that he could possibly receive life for his theft and that he also feared serving time in an adult prison among grown men. Wilks grew up in the San Fernando Valley on welfare and without a father, was arrested for petty thefts at ages 9 and 13 and at 16 received his first two strikes -- both on the same April evening. In a stolen car, Wilks had driven to various Valley supermarkets and malls and with an accomplice robbed five women of their purses. Whether a gun was used is in dispute; none was ever found and no one was hurt. But Wilks was persuaded to plead guilty to two counts of armed robbery. (No doubt by his own lawyer, the public defender! WFI Editor)
Petherbridge describes Wilks as undisciplined and bumbling, a short, slender kid with few skills whose mother lost control of him early on. Wilks rode to the scene of the cell phone theft on his bicycle, Petherbridge noted, and stole the cell phone at the suggestion of his 12-year-old partner. Moreover, after serving two years under the California Youth Authority for stealing the purses in the Valley, he was placed, at age 18, in the ninth grade among 14-year-olds. His basic academic skills were those of a fifth-grader. And as a thief he was so guileless that he burst out crying on the witness stand when Lacey caught him in a lie. I have little sympathy for Wilks. No society can tolerate being terrorized by purse snatchers, whatever their age or vulnerability. However, it's also clear that Wilks perfectly fits the category of so many young men being sentenced for nonviolent crimes under the three-strikes law: those with a potentially dangerous pathology, an unfulfilled promise, who are confused and desperate but not yet hardened criminals. Three-strikes was (ostensibly) a vote for hardheaded realism. But how realistic is it to warehouse Wilks in a state prison system with little or no rehabilitative programs for the next 50 years, at a cost of more than $1 million?
And how just is a system that locks up an 18-year-old, socially retarded, out-of-touch petty thief for the rest of his life for stealing a car phone? Marc Klaas, who opposed California's three-strikes law despite the fact that his daughter Polly's unspeakable killing helped propel it to passage, said it best: "I've had my car broken into and my radio stolen and I've had my daughter murdered, and I know the difference."
NONE DARE CALL IT TREASON
Revelation by revelation, the picture of Orange County's bankruptcy continues to become ever more clear, nearly four years after the stunning fiscal disaster. Brokerage firms continue to pony up dollars as settlements with the county -- all the while denying they did anything wrong. The role of the biggest, Merrill Lynch, also has come into sharper focus with the recent release of transcripts of depositions given when the county sued the company. Judges rightly rejected attempts to keep the civil case testimony secret. Testimony to the Orange County Grand Jury, which investigated criminal rather than civil wrongdoing, has not yet been released. It should be. Merrill Lynch avoided possible indictment on criminal charges by paying the county $30 million. It also paid the county $420 million to settle the civil lawsuit.
Orange County filed the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy after an investment fund lost $1.64 billion. That was public money. It belonged to schools, cities, the county, assorted government agencies. That public money should have been safeguarded against loss. Instead, the depositions show the opposite happened: The money was used as leverage to borrow more money, which was used to make bigger bets, especially on the direction of interest rates. The man handling the money was the county's then-treasurer, Robert L. Citron. After the bankruptcy, he pleaded guilty to falsifying records and violating securities laws, and spent eight months in a jail work release program. (Mr. Citron was able to enjoy his luxurious Newport Beach home while on the program, which consisted of his serving as a clerk in the Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates' office. Gates' always had the discretion to impose a harsher program -- such as requiring Citron to live in a jail bunk instead of his own plush home -- but didn't, which speaks for itself, since both men had been in office at the same time, and were prepared to cut a deal to save Citron from doing real time. WFI Editor)
As he did in arguing for a light sentence, Citron contended in depositions that he was mentally impaired when he gambled the public money. He says doctors have diagnosed brain disease that began affecting his judgment several years before the bankruptcy. Unfortunately for the public, no one seemed to notice any problems, and he was none too forthcoming at the time he offered himself for reelection in the Spring of 1994. Rather, he basked in the praise of his acumen… The bankruptcy caused great pain. County workers were fired; budgets were slashed; good programs were dropped.
SOURCE: The Crime of Stupidity is an editorial by Joe Domanick, reprinted from the 24 July, 1998, issue of the Los Angeles Times Commentary section. Joe Domanick is writing a book about California's three-strikes law. None Dare Call It Treason was excerpted from the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Perspective Editorial of 2 August, 1998, and is not credited to any author, but is the standing editorial of the newspaper itself. These excerpts are reprinted in the public service of the national interest of the American people.
(WFI EDITOR: If a government official in France did the exact same crime Citron did, he would languish in jail for years. The republic does not take embezzlement of the national wealth seriously; it only takes seriously the protection of "private" property, which is a purely police function. That was the spirit imbued into the republic by the slavemaster founders, whose concerns had nothing to do with morality or patriotism, but only social control. What does it really mean when a kid can get life imprisonment for stealing a bauble worth $100, but a master-mind who loses almost $2 billion of the public treasure gets a work release program? Who did the greater damage to the American people? Who was the REAL threat? There will never be justice under the republic, and the only way to civil peace is by the total and irreversible dissolution of the republic, for the restoration of a traditional government bound by law and custom.)