Should Officials be Liable for Crimes Committed by Prisoners Released Early?

I’m not a fan of parole or probation and believe in many instances, they lead to more Americans becoming innocent victims.

We knew a family some years ago, who were the victims of a senseless crime that should never have happened. Their two teenaged daughters were kidnapped, sexually assaulted, raped, beaten and left for dead by a man who had been released early from prison on parole. One of the daughters was found dead, but the other lived long enough to positively identify the man who attacked them. She recounted the entire horrifying ordeal to her parents and authorities before dying in her mother’s arms. The man had a long criminal record and was supposed to have been serving 25-year prison sentence for kidnapping and rape, however he had been released on parole in only 15 years. Had he been still in prison as his sentence called for, those two lovely girls would still be alive.

In 2015, Kathryn Steinle and her father were walking on Pier 14 in San Francisco back on July 1 when three shots rang out. In front of her father Jim, 32-year-old Kathryn collapsed and died two hours later from a gunshot wound that severed her aorta.

An hour after the shooting, 52-year-old Mexican illegal Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was arrested and charged with murder. He had been deported 5 times and had drug charges pending at the time of the shooting. Prior to the shooting, Lopez-Sanchez had been arrested by federal authorities and turned over to authorities in San Francisco. Being the liberally run sanctuary city that they are, San Francisco authorities released Lopez-Sanchez back out onto the streets. A short time later he shot and killed Steinle.

The public outcry against what happened was great and lawmakers began pushing Kate’s Law which would have required a mandatory five-year minimum prison sentence on any illegal convicted of illegally entering the US after being deported. To no surprise, liberals were all up in arms over the law and so far have been successful in preventing its passage. However, there is hope that it will be re-introduced this year into Congress and that the Republican majority will pass it and that President-elect Donald Trump will sign it into law.

In a different case, 35-year-old Lindsay Hill was killed in a car accident caused by a man who had been mistakenly released early from prison. Hill was the passenger in a car driven by Robert Jackson, a 29-year-old 2 strike felon. Jackson was drunk and hit a utility pole and Hill died from her injuries. Jackson was serving a prison sentence when a computer error resulted in his early release, along with a number of other violent felons.

In the many instances like these, and trust me there are many more all the time, who should be held liable for the crimes committed by prisoners who are released early on parole or by mistake?

In the case of Lindsay Hill, her family is planning on filing a lawsuit against the Washington Department of Corrections.

In the case of Kathryn Steinle, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of San Francisco because of their sanctuary status and Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi who released her killer. However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero dismissed wrongful death claims filed by the family. He did allow a claim of negligence against the federal government to move forward. Before being named to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California by Barack Obama, Spero clerked in the most liberal federal court in the nation, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. No wonder he dismissed the wrongful death lawsuit.

So, who is responsible for criminals who are released early. I’ve always contended that anyone responsible for the early release of prisoners such as parole boards, should be willing to accept the liability of the actions of those they release early. If that was the case, I wonder how many prisoners would end up serving their entire sentence. I wonder how many victims would never have been victims if those who released the criminals early were held responsible?

One thing is certain, the two sisters, Kathryn Steinle and Lindsey Hill would both be alive if their killers were kept in prison as their sentences dictated!

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