Florida has one really messed up criminal justice system

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A news story concerning a convicted dog fighter appeared this week on the Pack News Wire. The Highlands Today article reported on the recent conviction of a man charged with dogfighting.

What he did to the dogs is horrible and the soft punishment he will receive makes matters far more atrocious. It seems a criminal in Florida must amass 22 so-called points on their record before they are sentenced to prison time.

The story notes the man had only 4.5 points last year when he was convicted of a felonly for attending a dog fight (which could have led to a maximum of five years behind bars) and resisting arrest. He also has a drunk-driving conviction on his record, along with other crimes.

So he is a long way from going to prison. What does it take to get major points in Florida? What does it take the court system there to decide the safety of the innocent comes first?

The courts and the state legislature has announced to the nation’s criminals that – “if you want get-out-of-jail free points, just come on down to Florida, where you are welcome to commit multiple major crimes with impunity. And we’ll gladly let you know when you’re close to amassing too many points.

“Hey, we’ve even got a phone app called ‘Crime Points,’ where you’ll receive a free text message when you reach 18.

“Want to fight dogs here? – Well don’t worry. It’s gonna take you at least a good six convictions or more in criminal-friendly Florida, before you have to actually serve time. And that’s just if you’re caught.

“We have a host of criminals on staff who have been let off free and clear by juries. They will counsel you on how to beat your rap. We want to be the customer-friendly criminal justice system.

“So come on down to Florida. We’re not really the sunshine state.”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Two dogfighting stories interconnect

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An Associated Press article from November 22 reports dogfighting continues to thrive, despite the law enforcement focus and press coverage. The big money involved is too much of a draw for the evil participants within this criminal industry.

The article rightfully notes weak laws are largely to blame. The leaders of dogfighting operations have little fear of real punishment. The criminal justice system amounts to little more than a minor inconvenience for people who abuse animals.

The slap-on-the-wrist style of punishment was never more evident than in a recent case in New York. The Long Island Press reported November 25 that a man who pleaded guilty back in August to animal cruelty and animal fighting charges was given probation and community service and was banned for possessing animals for only five years.

So he won’t serve time for a horrific crime and in five short years will be able to have pets. How any judge or anyone who voted for or supports this level punishment would think a dog fighter will be okay around animals in five years is stunningly misguided.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

DumbStuff: The attempted murder charge

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One of the dumbest aspects of our US court system is the attempted murder charge. It’s the Get Out of Jail Free card for murderers.

So an individual can go after a target, with the full intent to kill them – after all, it’s attempted murder – and just because the victim somehow manages to survive the attack, the punishment can be much less severe.

Maybe the murderer is a merely a bad shot, so he gets off easier. Maybe the victim just happened to turn away in just the right way, as to have the bullet or knife slip by a vital area. Maybe the victim was just lucky.

And because of any and all of that, the criminal, who was out to kill, gets a lesser sentence.

I agree that the charge should be classified as attempted murder, but the punishment should equal that of a murder charge.

Letting a killer off easy is just idiotic.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Guilty verdict in NC puppy mill case, but the punishment doesn’t fit the crime

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The operator of a Jones County, NC puppy mill has been found guilty of 38 counts of animal cruelty. But the couple who operated the mill were sentenced to just two years probation and are only prevented from having animals for two years.

Each time the North Carolina state legislature has debated new bills to regulate dog breeding, the pro-puppy mill side claims the laws on the books are good enough. This case and others like it offer proof that the state’s laws and the level of punishment for offenders is VERY weak.

This is my home state, so it is especially troubling to me. Sadly, I don’t know what it must take for courts in so many states to really hand out a stiff penalty for a violent crime, drunk driving or cruelty to animals. Our criminal justice system is broken – badly broken.  And because criminals know they’ll only get a slap on the wrist, they will continue to commit crimes such as this.

The Wake County SPCA posted photos of the puppy mill in question on its Facebook page.

So we can see the conditions at the mill and we can relate it to the extremely weak punishment the couple received. And yet, WRAL reports their lawyer plans to file an appeal.

There is a very good reason why opponents battle back against better regulation on puppy mills and stiffer penalties for animal cruelty. They want the slap-on-the-wrist system to continue and they know exactly what regular inspections of breeding facilities like this would uncover.