But our criminal justice system does not keep our residents safe.
Example #1, from the T-P today:
Police have booked a man in the Jan. 5 shooting death of a woman in the Carrollton area on Pitt Street, New Orleans police said Wednesday.I don’t know the specifics of the case. But I find it hard to believe that a man *convicted* of attempted murder of a police officer in 2002 is out of prison, free to kill a resident in 2007.
Sterling Pipkins, 22, of New Orleans, who already was in jail, was rebooked with second-degree murder in the death of Jealina Brown, also of New Orleans, in her home in the 7400 block of Pitt Street.
Pipkins was convicted in July 2002 of attempted murder of New Orleans police Capt. Clarence Hebert, who has since recovered and is currently the commander of the Mounted Division.
It is not known when Pipkins was released from prison on that charge.
Garelle Smith, 25, sits in jail without bond after his arrest last week at the St. Bernard public housing complex, where police nabbed him, at first, for tearing down part of the fence that the Housing Authority of New Orleans installed around the sprawling complex after closing it down in the aftermath of Katrina.Once again, I don’t know the specifics of these cases. However, while it is possible to be arrested wrongly for murder three times, I don’t think it is likely. Note that Garelle Smith was accused of murdering a police officer’s son.
Police booked him with the first-degree murder of Mandell Duplessis, 24, who was gunned down Aug. 4 outside a FEMA trailer in Gentilly after surprising a small band of armed robbers who had taken the trailer's residents hostage in search of cash and narcotics.
It is a familiar drill for Smith, who has escaped two previous murder charges in Orleans Parish, including the killing of local rapper Soulja Slim, born James Tapp, on Nov. 26, 2003.
At the same time prosecutors gave up trying to link him to Soulja Slim's killing, Smith sat in jail booked in another murder, that of Spencer Smith Jr., 28, a recording artist known as Funk who died while seated in a pickup truck on St. Bernard Avenue -- right in front of the public housing complex -- where he was riddled with bullets. That was on Dec. 11, 2003, not even a month after Soulja Slim was slain in Gentilly.
Spencer Smith was the son of New Orleans police officer Spencer Smith Sr. and is not related to Garelle Smith.
I can’t say whether these men are guilty of the crimes they are accused of. Normally, I would say, “Let the courts decide.” But, I am not confident that the courts will get a chance to decide, or that their decision will be carried out. Just look at the evidence.