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This election is not about Gains being shot, its about everyone who has been shot since Mr. Gains and what he has done about it!
July 31, 2008 at 11:46 a.m.
The answer isn't to turn the city of Youngstown into more of a wild west shooting gallery than it is now. The answer is for law enforcement, beginning with the prosecutor's office to begin doing its job. Brazen criminals? Who could blame them when Mahoning County has a prosecutor who is more than willing to offer soft plea bargains to hardened criminals who have committed multiple offenses--often while they are on bail awaiting trial for other offenses.
Why wouldn't violent offenders and gangbangers brazenly roam our neighborhoods when they have been able to execute witnesses to their crimes at will, thus escaping prosecution and sending a very clear message to law abiding citizens: keep your heads down, your eyes averted, and your mouths closed. Or else.
The brazeness to which Mr. de Souza refers is a demonstration for the complete lack of respect or fear criminals in our county have for the prosecutor's office. An office characterized by procedural errors and missed deadlines that hand criminals "Get out of jail free cards," too-lenient plea deals, cozy relationships with defense attorneys, conflicts with judges, cronyism, and a lack of support for the police who are on the front lines of the battle against violent crime. In short, we have a prosecutor who is, as the Vindicator has pointed out on numerous occasions incapable of doing his job--despite the fact that county commissioners have given him the additional resources--including five additional assistant prosecutor positions--he said he needs to protect the public.
What the people want done, what they need, what they deserve, is a prosecutor who will try the tough cases personally and on a regular basis, not just when its a case that is sure to draw media attention. They need a prosecutor who will apply the highest professional and ethical standards to himself and the members of his staff. They need a prosecutor and staff that the police can call 24 hours a day for advice and support so debacles like the Tate case are not repeated in the future. They need a prosecutor who will use plea agreements to serve the interests of justice and public safety rather than to lighten the workload on staff attorneys and make life easy for defense lawyers. They need a prosecutor who will do everything possible to protect victims and witnesses because they are essential to effective prosecution. And they need a prosecutor who offers real solutions to the challenges facing the criminal justice system in our community rather than one who offers lame excuses and blames others for his failures.
Residents shouldn't have to take the law into their own hands to end the reign of violence and terror that is turning them into prisoners in their own neighborhoods while gangsters who should be prisoners fearlessly and cavalierly rob, kill, maim, and rape. They pay their prosecutor for doing that job. It's time they got their money's worth.
July 31, 2008 at 11:17 a.m.