Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fmr federal prosecutor Meyer on Corrupticut

Have you ever noticed that corruption cases in Connecticut always seem to involve the FBI and the US Attorney? Ever wonder why?

Here's an excerpt of an October 1, 2006 NY Times opinion piece on "Corrupticut" by Jeffrey A. Meyer, a former federal prosecutor in Connecticut and an associate professor at Quinnipiac University School of Law:

It’s no wonder the state has received a new nickname: Corrupticut. And it’s a label that will stick as long as the General Assembly refuses to give state prosecutors the investigative subpoena authority they need to pursue complicated cases of public corruption. Indeed, the major corruption cases in the state of recent years have all been led by a small group of federal prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office in Connecticut while state prosecutors have stood on the sidelines.

Most of the time, corruption cases are devilishly difficult to develop. A politician on the take can be very good at covering his tracks. Political payoffs are channeled through shell companies and go-betweens who are selected for their loyalty and who depend on the good will and prominent position of their political patrons.

Federal prosecutors succeed because of the subpoena powers of a federal grand jury. Many corruption cases start because of a tip, sometimes anonymous, about illicit activity. A federal prosecutor then uses grand jury subpoenas to compel sworn testimony from witnesses and disclosure of telltale documents, like telephone billing records and bank deposit and withdrawal receipts.


I've been trying to voice my concerns about this to the Council. In fact, at the December Council meeting I asked to discuss it, but was told to discuss it at the January meeting. Then I tried to discuss it at the January meeting, but it was requested that I send an email to the entire Council to explain my intent. So in February I sent an email to the entire Council. And you know the response I got?

(crickets)

Anyone else notice that the Council Dems:

1) opposed 3-strikes
2) opposed an additional police officer
3) opposed discussing subpoena power for state prosecutors

Interesting pattern.

I want to give credit to Matt Altieri though. He did attend the "3 strikes" rally last summer. And I appreciated the show of support... something that I feel is important... particularly in light of those who "were against it, before they were for it." And now we've got this new Robert Tagliaferi case.

Tim White

h/t to Mike Rocci

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope thay can all sleep, feeling safe and knowing that they have put this town at risk.

Perhaps they should speak with Dr. Petit and see what he thinks.

Anonymous said...

Three strikes is the banner of the intellectually impoverished. It's a simple minded and heavy handed answer to a complicated problem. It allows politicians to appear tough on crime without having to think hard about the underlying causes of crime and to spend moral and political capital to develop solutions. It's also ironic that so many people on this blog complain about the level of state spending and yet so eagerly support a program, of dubious merit, that will dramatically increase state spending. It costs a lot to prosecute and imprison people. Look at California. Three strikes has led to rampant overcrowding of prisons with little effect on the rate of crime. Are you prepared to pay more taxes to house criminals for up to 25 years?

Anonymous said...

"A politician on the take can be very good at covering his tracks."

You've got that right. With all the behind the scenes things that happen in Cheshire and for all the support the developers get, it is obvious that some people are profiting. Sometimes the profiting is not directly related to money, but as we have seen contractors that do work at bargain prices or contributions to campaigns or support in getting nominated for office.

I don't think the mall would have ever been approved without that kind of help.

Anonymous said...

How about the proposed change to the "zone text" to increase the amount of acreage that can be disturbed to over 5 acres. Who does this benefit? This Town is changing for the wrong reasons. Nobody is looking out for the benefit of the citizens. People better start paying attention to every move that is being made because it could have a negative impact to the Town.

Anonymous said...

RE: "Three strikes is the banner of the intellectually impoverished. It's a simple minded and heavy handed answer to a complicated problem".... We need to address "the underlying causes of crime," etc, etc.

Liberals really believe this. If someone is a career criminal with 5, 10, 20 convictions, it’s because the state didn’t provide enough social programs or counseling.

Repeat felons shouldn’t be kept in jail; they’re not responsible for their crimes. It’s the fault of society, of poverty, racism, or poor parenting.

To liberals, individuals are never responsible for their crimes (unless it's a politically-incorrect crime such as an environmental crime or a domestic assault).

You'd think that the pattern of released career criminals re-committing violent crimes would prove the need for a 3-Strikes law. But sentimental, liberal ideas of "compassion" for criminals trumps any concern for public safety.

And so the liberal judges and their enablers just keep unleashing these habitually predatory thugs onto the streets rather than put public safety first.

Anonymous said...

1:17 PM:

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. It has ~ 751 prisoner for every 100,000 people. Compare that to England (151/100,000), Germany (88/100,000) and Japan 63/100,000). The median among all nations is 125 per 100,000 people. Based on your premise that prison is an effective means of increasing public safety, then the US should have the lowest crime rate and be the safest country in the world. Is it?

tim white said...

I don't know any statistics on this (or classification of crime: misdemeanor or felony... for that matter), but I distinguish between violent and non-violent crime.

I think drugs are pretty stupid, but I wouldn't want to see a member of the Grateful Dead get arrested for possession of marijuana three times... and go to jail for 25 yrs.

Anonymous said...

We should have stiff punishment for breaking the laws. Life in prison is not bad. Look at the Cheshire prison. Baseball fields etc. Is that prison? Prisoners who have art exhibits??? Is this punishment? What is the deterent not to break the law?

Anonymous said...

eight cops were at the Petit house for several hours--what happened?

Anonymous said...

3:54,

Bottom line on 3-Strikes --

If those two had been kept locked up after their 10th or 20th felony conviction, they wouldn’t have been free to rape, torture, and burn alive those two little girls.

If convicted murderer Jerry Mitchell had been kept locked up, he wouldn’t have been free to break-in and stab an elderly woman in Norwalk last year.

If lifelong criminal James Biggs (repeated rapes, kidnappings, robberies) had been kept locked up, he wouldn’t have been free to commit armed carjacking and assault a police officer last year.

Etc, etc, etc. Examples are endless.

As for your statistics, many of those 751 prisoners per 100,000 are non-violent drug offenders. I’m all for replacing them in prison with habitually violent offenders.

Also, all those other countries you mention are culturally homogeneous. This plays a huge role in voluntary compliance with the law (people living up to family’s, neighbors’, and cultural expectations).

But the US was founded on the idea of liberty, not on the basis of ethnicity. Americans have less cultural pressure to obey the law, and must take more personally responsibility.

High US incarceration rates are a reflection of our popular culture falling into greater narcissism and nihilism, and the failure of individuals to exercise greater personal responsibility as the price of liberty. (Actually, if you remove Black crime from the statistics, the US has about the same low crime rate as Europe).

The bottom line must be to protect our public safety from habitual violent criminals.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

8:17 PM

Your support for 3 strikes is based on few, extremely rare cases. The crimes were gruesome and provoke a strong emotional response but if you want to solve the problem, you need to get beyond your initial gut reaction and start thinking about rational solutions. Politicians rely on your visceral response to pass laws that have little effect on violent crime but generate large numbers of criminals. Why do you think there are so many non-violent drug offenders in prison? Politicians convinced you that locking up drug users and dealers would reduce violent crime and increase public safety. Has it worked? Please think before supporting 3 strikes.

Tim White said...

We should revisit the laws on non-violent crime. For instance, drunk driving should lead to an immediate ban of alcohol use.

Provided the technology is accurate (I know it exists), first time offenders should be given an alcohol monitor ankle bracelet and a GPS... then if you're drinking and could get behind the wheel... your probation officer shows up ASAP and throws you in the lockup for the night.

Then you either start doing jailtime or paying stiff fines. I think two strikes on drunk driving is enough.

As for people who cannot afford the ankle bracelets... perhaps it could be provided by the state, depending on some sort of means test?

White collar crime (corruption) should be dealt with much more severely. But it's clear in CT that the legislature has no interest addressing it... hence this post.

As for drugs... maybe I'll do a post on that this weekend. Personally, I feel the drug laws should be revamped. Drugs that tend to cause psychotic behavior should get tougher penalties... while other drugs, such as marijuana, shouldn't get jailtime.

Anonymous said...

WORTH POSTING AGAIN:


TO ALL THAT SUPPORT TIM WHITE AND EVEN THOSE WHO DON'T. YOU JUST LOST AT LEAST $100,000.00 TONIGHT. IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THAT STAY HOME AND WATCH TV.

IF YOU ARE NOT, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU VOICE YOUR OPINION AT THE TOWN COUNCIL MEETINGS. THE MEETINGS ARE HELD IN TOWN HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS ON THE THIRD FLOOR.

THE MEETINGS ARE POSTED IN THE CHESHIRE HERALD ALSO, INCASE THERE'S A "SPECIAL" MEETING. EVERY SECOND TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH IS A "PUBLIC COUNCIL MEETING."

COME AND SEE WHO YOU ELECTED TO RUN OUR TOWN IN ACTION. EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO ASK A QUESTION, MAKE A POSITIVE STATEMENT OR VOICE A CONCERN YOU MAY HAVE. YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THREE MINUTES TO ADDRESS THE COUNCIL AND/OR THE PUBLIC. YOU CAN JUST SIT THERE AND STAY COOL IN THE SUMMER HEAT OR WARM IN THE WINTER COLD. IT'S FREE!!

DON'T SIT AT HOME AND KEEP QUIET WHILE THE TOWN IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL WITHOUT ANY LEADERSHIP! WATCH IT IN PERSON, BRING A FRIEND, BRING A CUP OF COFFEE AND A COOKIE AND WATCH SMALL TOWN POLITICS RFD.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY TO WATCH THESE MEETINGS IN PERSON AND YOU AND THE FAMILY CAN BRING SOME POPCORN AND CALL IT A FAMILY NIGHT OUT.

I'M TELLING YOU SERIOUSLY, YOU CAN'T PAY ENOUGH FOR THE COMEDY THAT GOES ON DURING THESE MEETINGS. LIKE TONIGHT WHERE THE TOWN BRASS WASTED $100K OF OUR TAX DOLLARS TO MAKE A DECISION ON WHO SHOULD INSTALL A BOILER AT NORTON SCHOOL.

THIS DECISION, BELIVE IT OR NOT TOOK DOZENS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE VOLUNTEERS MANY COUNTLESS HOURS TO MAKE A RECOMMENDATION. YET IT TOOK THE INCOMPETENCE OF A FEW PAID EMPLOYEES OF THE TOWN NINE, YES (9) MONTHS TO COME TO TONIGHTS VOTE.

THIS DELAY AND MISTAKES THAT WERE MADE AND BY THE FEW WHO WILL GO ON LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK WITH OUR TAX MONEY COSTS US AT LEAST THE $100K.

NOW THE TOWN MAY BE SUED BY A LOYAL COMPANY OF THE TOWN BECAUSE OF THESE MISTAKES. BUT DON'T WORRY FOKES, WE HAVE PLENTY OF TAX DOLLARS IN SLUSH FUNDS FOR THESE REASONS.

PLEASE, PLEASE COME TO THE NEXT MEETING ON TUESDAY THE 10TH OF JUNE AT 7:30pm AND BE A PART OF THIS CIRCUS EVENT. I PROMISE, YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED.

I'M STILL LAUGHING MY BACKSIDE OFF AT 2AM!

Mike Rocci

Tim White said...

But as for violent crimes (murder, rape, arson, home invasion, robbery, etc.)... I firmly believe that 3 strikes is plenty... 25 yrs to life is fine with me. I have no interest in leaving career criminals on the streets... and I'm willing to pay for it... though as an alternative to raising taxes... the legislature could stamp out the crap at DOT that allows William Fritz, son of state Rep. Mary Fritz, to lie about his qualifications and become the "Chief Inspector" on the I-84 job that's just another fleecing of the CT taxpayer. If you stop that... you'd probably find a whole bunch of extra money in the state budget.

But seriously... does anyone think William Fritz will ever get in trouble?

As the former federal prosecutor said... we live in Corrupticut.

Anonymous said...

To 8:31/ "Black Power"
(since deleted) :
What exactly was “racist” about my previous comments? Citing crime statistics is not racist, it’s FACTUAL. If the truth hurts, deal with it. And YOU demonstrate the reason why most fair-minded Americans don’t buy your Al Shapton racial agenda. You scream “racism” as a gratuitous defense rather than deal with self-defeating, dysfunctional urban culture and behaviors. No, I’m not racist, but you’re into denial and enabling of the worst behaviors.


To 8:42:
But you didn’t refute anything I said in my previous comments, namely that when a habitually violent offender is kept locked up, he can’t go out and repeat his violent crimes. Instead, you just changed the subject by saying I have a “visceral” reaction to these crimes. Actually, my comments were quite calm and well reasoned.

Then you claim that recidivism by violent criminals is rare. This is patently untrue; recidivism is quite high. Plus I specifically said I DON’T want non-violent drug offenders taking up space in prison. So you’re wrong again. That’s 3 strikes, you’re out.

Anonymous said...

10:49 PM

You have no provided no support for your argument. Show me the statistics that a significant number of violent crimes are committed by criminals who would have been in prison due to a 3 strikes law. Your blind support for seemingly tough on crime legislation helps politicians pass ill considered laws that have limited impact on crime but lead to huge increases in prisoners. Your support for 3 strikes is the same thinking that led to passage of laws that toughened sentences for drug offenders. Today, you say those laws were a mistake. Ask Californians whether they have regrets about 3 strikes.

BTW your post was racist because you implied that African Americans are responsible for the higher crime rate in the US compared to the rest of the world. This is false. That you did not recognize the implicit racism in your post doesn't necessary make you racist, just insensitive.

Anonymous said...

7:05

Here are just a few US Dept of Justice statistics :

67% of released prisoners are rearrested for serious crimes within 3 years, and 47% are re-convicted;

272,000 criminals released one year accounted for nearly 5 Million arrests over their entire careers (that’s 18 arrests per criminal; these are the habitual criminals that 3-Strikes aims to keep off the streets);

64% of prison inmates are minorities (including 40% black, 19% Hispanic), in great disproportion to the US population;

Blacks are over 7 times more likely to commit homicide than whites;

Blacks committed homicide at rates ranging from 25 to 50 per 100,000 (1976-2004), while whites committed homicide at a 5 per 100,000 rate.

Black homicide rates plunged from 50 to 25 per 100,000 in the 1990’s when states passed tougher sentencing laws including 3-Strikes.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/crimoff.htm#inmates

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

So I repeat : when habitual criminals are kept locked up, they can’t go out and repeat their crimes. Whether repeat violent criminals “would have been in prison due to a 3 Strikes law,” is a question of effective enforcement and application of the law, not a question of whether we need such a law. Clearly recidivism by violent criminals is very high, and not “extremely rare” as you previously stated.

I also repeat : if you remove black crime from the statistics, the US has about the same low crime rates as Europe. PC liberals can scream “racism” all they want, but this is just a FACT.

Anonymous said...

10:26 AM

You should read the study. It concludes: "rearrests of the released prisoners were 4.7% of all arrests for serious crime from 1994 to 1997." Crime is a more complicated problem and requires more thoughtful solutions than simply locking people up for longer periods. Here's the report

cedar lane said...

As a neutral observer of the Three strikes debate on this thread, I have to say that Anon 1026/ 1049/ 817 is easily winning this debate on the basis of reason and facts. The opponent of Three strikes offers only specious rhetoric (charges of racism and his own visceral response).

In particular, 1026 has proven that there are career criminals who will never stop offending. This is a compelling argument for keeping them locked up. It’s just astonishing that the other guy denies all the evidence of high recidivism by criminals and the disproportionate amount of black crime. These facts are well known by law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Tim, you also voted against an additional police officer..... If the coucil wanted to, they could still argue and appoint another officer due to need, regardless of the budget.

Anonymous said...

Tim, you also voted against an additional police officer..... If the coucil wanted to, they could still argue and appoint another officer due to need, regardless of the budget.

Anonymous said...

Cedar Lane,

The debate is not about the high rate of recidivism, but the effectiveness of 3 strikes on reducing overall crime. The study above shows that of all arrests for serious crimes between 1994 and 1997 only 4.7% were released prisoners. Thus, at best, 3 strikes would have a minimal effect on overall crime. The costs of 3 strikes, however, are enormous. The increased prison population means more taxes and more prisons. Would you be willing to have an additional prison added to the Cheshire facility?

Here's another cost. If 67% of released prisoners are rearrested, it means there are 33% who have not been arrested. Perhaps, many of these have reformed themselves and are leading productive, law-abiding lives. Under 3 strikes, they would be kept in prison. Eventually, the state would have in prison thousands of people who have no intention of committing a crime. Is that justice?

Anonymous said...

I dont think we should spend more tax dollars on them- just kill them and its over!!!

Anonymous said...

If you kill someone and it's proven without a reasonable doubt-you should not do life in prison.

Anonymous said...

To 12:32:

This is 10:26 am here again.

Earlier in this debate, two of your main claims were that recidivism by violent criminals is “extremely rare”, and that it’s “racist” for me to point out that black crime is disproportionately higher than white crime. Having proven you wrong on both counts, you now shift to asserting, “The debate is not about the high rate of recidivism, but the effectiveness of 3 strikes on reducing overall crime.”

I disagree with this latter premise and with your cost arguments. The same USDJ study found that 719 violent prisoners released in 1994 went on to commit new murders in 1995. That’s 55 murders per state committed by released criminals in just one year, in the 13 states studied, not including the murders committed by the same released prisoners after 1995.

I’m sure that the families of these 719 victims would have been willing to pay more taxes to save their loved ones by keeping these murderers locked up.

There are currently 500 empty beds in the Cheshire correctional facility. As soon as the state can upgrade the sewage plant, by all means fill those spaces with habitually violent offenders. Society’s first obligation is to protect the lives of its citizens, regardless of cost. This is justice.

Your use of the 4.7% figure is selective and misleading. You imply that only 4.7% of overall crime is committed by released criminals. But many of them commit 10, 20 or more crimes each. So this 4.7% (released criminals) are committing a much higher rate of actual overall crimes -- perhaps 20, 30, or 40% of the total crimes.

Indeed, the study notes, “The percentages may seem small (recidivist arrestees as a percentage of total arrestees), but they are actually the product of high rates of criminality (by repeat criminals)….Released prisoners were arrested for homicide at a rate 53 times higher than the homicide arrest rate for the (general) adult population.”

We need 3 Strikes sentencing for career criminals. When habitually violent criminals are kept locked up (or executed), they simply can’t go out and commit more crimes.

cedar lane said...

1232,

I agree with the previous poster, including filling those 500 empty spaces at Cheshire CCC. We live one mile from the prison and have always felt safe.

You say that 67% of released prisoners are rearrested, and 33% are not rearrested and presumably go straight. You ask if it’s justice to keep them in prison.

However, Three strikes only applies to three-time violent offenders, not first time offenders. So if someone is sentenced to life for their third rape, armed robbery, or murder, then yes, it’s justice to keep them in prison.

Anonymous said...

2:40 PM

I see. You can't support your argument with actual facts, so you just make stuff up. There is nothing, besides your imagination, to support your claim that released criminals commit 10 or 20 crimes before they are arrested. It's simple: released criminal commit a tiny fraction of total serious crime. To devote so many resources to one segment of crime is a waste and that is the reason that you don't see other states rushing to pass 3 strike legislation. The facts is 3 strikes support only arises after some gruesome crime that stokes everyone's passion to lock up all the criminals and throw away the key. You're a perfect example. I don't remember reading any posts from you supporting 3 strikes before the tragedy at the Petit house. It's only after this one incident that you start supporting 3 strikes. The facts to support 3 strikes weren't there before the Petit murders and they aren't here now. Face it, after the passions fade, the support for 3 strikes will ebb. Hopefully then we can start discussing serious solutions.

Anonymous said...

anon 5:50 Let me try to understand what you said. We should wait until more crimes are committed to pass laws. My question to you is: what if it was your family? What would you think then?

Anonymous said...

To 5:50
I love that you are such a liberal and you read this blog. It shows there is still hope for the rest. Unfortunately, your argument isn't really strong here.
Of course we weren't as concerned about the 3 Strikes before the Petit tragedy. Just like anything else, it takes a tragedy to open our eyes to what is wrong with our justice system. Now that we know, it is time to fix it so this doesn't happen again. Here in this community, we are all concerned for our safety after that incident. We also are fed up with the liberal lawmakers who make there living defending these lowlifes time after time.
Bottom line is, 3 convictions of a violent felony should require a life sentenece. I think that is too liberal, but it's a start.
Will it deter these criminals? Maybe not, most are pretty stupid, but at least it will lock them up so they don't ever harm anyone again.

Anonymous said...

To 5:50

RE: ”There is nothing, besides your imagination, to support your claim that released criminals commit 10 or 20 crimes before they are arrested.”

From that USDJ study, cited in my previous post: 272,000 criminals released in one year accounted for nearly 5 Million arrests over their entire careers (that’s 18 arrests average per criminal).

Given that so many criminals commit such high numbers of multiple crimes, it’s most probable that released criminals commit far more than 4.7% of overall actual crimes.

At any rate, you don’t dispute my previously cited USDJ findings, that --

* 67% of released felons are rearrested for other serious crimes within 3 years;

* “Released prisoners were arrested for homicide at a rate 53 times higher than the homicide arrest rate for the (general) adult population;” and

* that 719 violent prisoners released in 1994 went on to commit new murders in 1995. That’s 55 murders per state committed by released criminals in just one year, in the 13 states studied

Your insistence that such habitually violent criminals should not be locked up for life is incredible to all but the most ardent liberal ideologue. Sounds like the thug-huggers at Yale law school.

RE: ” You're a perfect example. I don't remember reading any posts from you supporting 3 strikes before the tragedy at the Petit house. It's only after this one incident that you start supporting 3 strikes.”

And you know this how?? Actually, I began supporting 3 Strikes right after Bill Clinton began pushing for it in 1994. Tim only opened the 3 Strikes discussion on this site last July.

RE: “The facts to support 3 strikes weren't there before the Petit murders and they aren't here now.”

Only in your liberally filtered perception are the facts not there to support 3 Strikes. You try to dismiss all support for it as hysterical passion. But for most people, an objective reading of the USDJ statistics leads to the rational conclusion that habitually violent criminals are likely to offend again if unleashed upon society.

Anonymous said...

The answer is simple, one strike and your done. You commit a crime you go away for life, make no matter on the crime. You kill a human in the crime your are put to death, no excuses. Over a decade or so the crime rate will drop.

Anonymous said...

I have some questions for 5:50 PM. Let’s say a man has committed many violent felonies over many years, including armed robberies, carjackings, rapes, and maybe even a murder. Each time he is convicted, he serves his time, is released, and goes on to commit his next felony.

Questions: How many times should this pattern be allowed to continue? 5, 10, 15, 20 times? Is there any point at which he should be kept in prison for life? What are the “serious solutions” you propose as an alternative to keeping such repeat criminals in prison? I ask these questions sincerely wanting to know your thinking.

Anonymous said...

Her solution to crime is to have all the criminals hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Oh wait, can’t do that, that’s a religious song, the ACLU will sue. OK, so send in the nice lady social worker to talk the criminals out of wanting to hurt people. Blah, blah, blah. That’s the enlightened liberal solution to crime. Remember, criminals aren’t to blame, society is to blame.

Anonymous said...

Wow,
There's a lot of mud slinging going on here on this topic. We covered everything from an eye for an eye, death for death, racism, bigotry, extreme left liberalism, right wing conservatism, one strike, two strikes, three strikes...

I presume we all want the best for our families and ourselves..I hope. At least I wish that's where everyone's hearts are.

Yes, Connecticut's judicial system is broken. I know it didn't break overnight. Career criminals that can't be rehabilitated should be kept off out streets. So we need to set crime laws in parity with the crime.

Also, on the flip side we have children growing up in poor neighborhoods that are exposed to nothing but crime as a way of life. That in some cases is all they have ever been exposed to, it's their normal. Are they in the majority of the black communities..unfortunately more than likely.

So let's see, what do we do about this situation? Honestly, I'm not no bleeding heart liberal, unless your talking about Canadian Geese. Should we let them be raised destined to be criminals like their fathers or mothers? Then, when they are caught doing a felony for the third time we lock them up for life.

At the present time I am all in favor of a 3 strikes law. But, these criminals are our neighbors and they are like the weakest link in a chain. When pulled the weakest link breaks and we don't have a functioning chain any longer.

We also need to do whatever it is necessary to change that cycle of poor economic crime families. If we strengthen them up the chain won't break and crime goes down.

I have seen this first hand while growing up in NYC where at one time in the late seventies we had an average of 8 murders everyday of the week. This was more prevalent during bad economic times. These criminals would do anything and every horrible thing you can think of to put food on the table, dust up their nose and poison in their veins.

Now NYC is the country's number one large city with the least amount of crime. Go figure? what the heck happened? I'll tell you what happened all at the same time:

We, I mean the leadership of the city, put together the best police force in the USA and rewarded them very fairly. We started with petty crimes, like littering, jaywalking, vehicle violations, prostitution, getting rid of graffiti "artist," and so on.

This maneuver actually lead to bigger criminals being caught. Then we went after the big guns, organized crime families, drug cartels right in the city, gun runners, murderous street gangs...

We had criminal so scared because of the swarm of new police presence and a no tolerance attitude that they were handing in their guns and other weapons at police stations all over the city. We cleaned up the city from top to bottom and never looked back.

At the same time we developed workfare, where "to be" criminals could make an honest living. We offered large and small companies opportunities to own run down brownstone apartment buildings and "projects" for nothing but a promise that they would renovate these homes and rent them out to low income families at a very affordable price.

We revamped the entire (corrupt)school system which handled over a million public school children every day. We made learning a good thing again instead of a place where parents would use as a day care center.

So, we did stiffen the crime laws, we did make more arrests in the beginning, we started with the small crimes and went to the top. Simultaneously we strengthened our weakest links and we came together as a small neighborhood of 8.5 million people.

Do we still have crime in NYC? without a doubt we do, but it does not come close to the way it used to be. I remember when our parents would let us stay home from school because it was "Kill Whitey Day."

This same crime fighting model was used to train Iraqi police over the last 5 years and it's working there to. Can it work here?, absolutely..but we need to stop the name calling, elect strong leaders that are tough on crime and have the ability to strengthen our weakest links.

It just won't work by simply locking everybody up or it won't work by just throwing money at poor neighborhoods and hoping that the crime will go away. It takes a heck of hard work to pull it all together..remember we are all still brothers and sisters here side by side doing time on this earth.

Put religion back in every household, take care of our neighbors, toughen our crime laws and revamp our police departments and schools and before you know it crime will be in our hands to control.

God bless you all,
Mike Rocci