A number of states, including Washington, have passed three-strike laws for the purpose of sending violent repeat offenders to prison for life instead of allowing them the opportunity to walk free and continue their violent ways. If Washington’s three-strike law was enforced, 61-year-old Mount Vernon, Washington police officer Mike “Mick” McClaughry would not be fighting for his life in a hospital after being shot in the back of the head by a repeat felon.
McClaughry was responding to a call of a shooting in a residence, when 44-year-old Ernesto Lee Rivas managed to shoot the officer in the back of the head. Rivas then took refuge in the house and held police in a standoff that eventually ended in the capture and arrest of Rivas.
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McClaughry was first taken to local Skagit Valley Hospital and then transferred for need of better care to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Mount Vernon is located about 60 north of Seattle.
McClaughry has 31-years of law enforcement experience with the Mount Vernon Police Department at the time he was shot. When the news of the shooting hit the news, the entire area of Mount Vernon was basically locked down. The local college, Skagit Valley College tweeted to everyone to get inside and stay inside until further notice.
At Rivas’ arraignment, the judge set bail at $1 million. It was reported that there were two teenage accomplices whose bail was set at $500,000 each.
Rivas has a long rap sheet and by all reason of sanity, should have been safely locked up for life years ago, had it not been for a liberal plea bargain to which the police were not happy with.
Rivas had a number of run-ins with the law in the 1990s. In 1997, he was charged with ‘four counts of first-degree kidnapping, four counts of second-degree assault, four counts of intimidating a witness and one count of first-degree robbery.’ Since Rivas already had two prior felony convictions for second-degree assault, being found guilty of just one of any of the kidnapping or assault charges would have sent him to prison for life under the state’s three-strike law.
Within days of his trial, Rivas accepted a plea deal in which Rivas would plead guilty to three lesser charges and prosecutors would drop all of the serious kidnapping and assault charge. The lesser charges were for unlawful imprisonment and theft. Police in Yakima, Washington were angered over the plea deal as they wanted Rivas sent to prison for life because of his violent record. They wanted him off the streets for good.
In taking the plea deal, Rivas rubbed it in the faces of those involved, saying:
“I take this plea bargain to avoid a third strike. Oh, by the way, does that mean I got four balls and a walk?”
Rivas was given jail time but was out walking the streets by 2011, when he was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm.
At the time of the shooting this week of Officer McClaughry, Rivas had eight felony convictions on his record. With a record like his, Rivas should never have been set free, but thanks to the liberals who initiated the plea deal, Rivas was not only free, but attempted to murder a veteran police officer who was probably looking forward to his retirement years.
In my book, those who allowed Rivas to avoid the three-strike law are as guilty as Rivas or at least are accomplices to his crimes since they knew of his past. I wonder what the person or persons responsible for the Rivas plea deal would say to the family of Officer McClaughry? Had it not been for their liberalness, Rivas would be sitting in prison for the rest of his life and Officer McClaughry would be lying home in his bed at night resting instead of in a hospital bed fighting for life.