Catch And Release

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Twenty-odd years ago, when Minnesota and the nation were in the midst of the worst wave of violent crime since the Depression, quite a few jurisdictions – working with groups like the NRA – actually did something useful; they passed a raft of laws enhancing the penalties for using a gun in a crime.

The laws have had an effect; they are certainly part of the reason violent and gun crime dropped 50% in 20 years.

But in Minnesota, we have a congenital problem; our metro area legislators, courts and other jurisdictions just don’t like sentencing people. It was said that three consecutive Ramsey County attorneys – Tom Foley, Sue Gaertner and John Choi – between them never once actually used those sentence enhancements, dealing them away on plea bargains every single time they had the opportunity.

And the pattern continues,

Earlier this year, we featured the story of a Good Guy with a Gun – an employee at a cell phone store who shot a robber with his permitted handgun. The robber – once he got out of the hospitals – drew a raft of charges. His accomplice should have as well.

Earlier this week, what do you suppose happened?

Charges have been dropped against a 32-year-old man who was a suspect in connection to an armed robbery at a Verizon Wireless retailer in Inver Grove Heights, according to court records.

Records show Jamaal Marquie had three charges dropped, including aggravated first-degree robbery, possession of a firearm by an ineligible person and possession of a firearm with a serial number removed.

Nothing new here; we’ve previously encountered metro-area prosecutors bending over backwards to avoid using enhanced gun sentencing.

Is it laziness? Sloth? Or not wanting to confirm the NRA’s line for it?