Why have the judiciary committees been classifying violent crimes as 'nonviolent'?
Last legislative session, Rep. Russ Ford(R-Broken Arrow) make a small reform in our Oklahoma criminal code by reclassifying spousal assault & battery as a violent crime.
What astonished most of the legislative observers is that for decades, your own spouse has less protections against crime than a total stranger.
The bill passed without any meaningful questioning.
But evidently, the District Attorneys of Oklahoma are now warning us not to support SQ805, because the legislature has failed to properly classify many acts of human violence as 'violent crimes'.
Two questions arise;
Perhaps if the House Judiciary chair, Chris Kannady, & Senate Judiciary Chair, Julie Daniels; had been prioritizing the fundamental tasks of reforming their predecessors failings and corruption, we'd actually have a straight-forward ballot initiative to vote upon.
As it is, all the items in the below-listed categories deemed nonviolent... are still wrongly classified and our citizens are being underserved when a violence happens against them.
If the legislature can't do a small job, like make a list of violent felonies, then all the more reason why the voters need to make these fundamental sentencing reforms, like SQ805.
Here is a message from D.A. Mike Fisher:
On the ballot, SQ 805 appears to make some sense by eliminating the use of prior criminal convictions to increase the potential punishment of someone who is charged with a "non-violent" crime. But what this means is that judges, prosecutors and jurors cannot consider the defendant's prior criminal history in deciding an appropriate punishment for that criminal's latest criminal act. However, in Oklahoma "non-violent" crimes include the following:
Mike Fisher adds some more crimes to the list which are not an act of physical violence, yet this second list seems intended to provoke the voters to blame SQ805 for making worse.
What the DAs don't tell you is that some current Oklahoma felonies include "flying a red flag in public". It carries a 10 year sentence, if you've ever said anything critical of the govt. while flying that vaguely-described red flag.
Any tea party patriot driving away from the lumber yard with a 'Don't Tread On Me' bumper sticker could face 10 years for that, under current Oklahoma law.
Another listed felony includes adultery. Now I admit that it's not currently enforced, but why the hell is it still on the books then? Essentially, we're being told; "Don't fix what the legislature broke, because the legislature is broke." I'm saying that maybe the only way to fix the violent felonies list is by adopting SQ805 and forcing the lawmakers to fix the list!
We're told in high school civics class;
"Ignorance of the law is no excuse."
Really? I don't know a single lawyer who fully knows the current statutory code, along with all the agency regulations and administrative code. So why are we adding the civic duty of knowing what Mr Fisher will or will not enforce in this ridiculous code? Mr. Fisher concludes with this..
Imagine if you will, that someone has broken into homes multiple times over the years and does so again but the judge and the prosecutor cannot punish that criminal to a greater degree than someone who has broken the law for the first time. Or, imagine someone who has attacked dozens of people over the years with a knife (I've seen it more than once in my career) but can't be prosecuted any differently than someone who has done it once. Or, imagine a man who has beaten (perhaps even strangled) many women over the years (I've seen this way too many times) and has done so again but this time he has left his victim with a broken jaw and lost eyesight.
In each of these cases (and all that are identified above), the CRIMINAL will be protected by the law and treated as a first time offender if SQ 805 passes. This isn't just bad law, it is dangerous!"
Yes, this is the same DA Mike Fisher who still claims to have filed the lawsuits for the biggest marijuana bust in Oklahoma history (until the federal govt. told him that the industrial hemp is a legal interstate commerce and he was wrong to confiscate it).