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Are judges undermining the police?

By G. Michael Dobbs
Managing Editor

We don't do a lot of crime news in these papers as that subject tends to be more of a daily news product, but I thought I'd share a couple of items we received last week.
The first is from Sgt. John Delaney of the Springfield Police Department:
"A 33 year-old male victim was walking downtown when he was followed by a suspect for several minutes. The victim turned onto Mattoon Street when the suspect physically attacked him after he refused to give him money. The victim had his watch ripped from him. The suspect then fled towards State Street. A short while later the same suspect approached another victim on State Street near the City Library. This time the suspect ripped a gold chain from this victim after a brief but violent struggle. The suspect then made his way up the State Street Hill, presumably looking for his next victim. Unfortunately for this suspect a 'very' good citizen was traveling in her car on State Street and witnessed the second robbery.
"This 61 year-old female Springfield resident receives high praise from the arresting officers and the Commissioners Office for what she did. After the robbery she witnessed she stayed in her car and followed the suspect up the hill as he was on State Street. She used her cell phone to call the Springfield Police Department and gave the suspect's complete description, what she observed during the robbery and his direction of travel. The cops kept her on the line while she followed this dangerous individual. While she watched him walking she could describe to the police dispatcher that the suspect was holding up the chain he just ripped from a poor victim to cars passing by in an attempt to sell the ill-gotten gain. The witness told the dispatcher the suspect turned onto Walnut Street where Officers Lawrence Murphy and Richard Rief arrived and arrested the suspect. This 'very' good citizen then stuck around and talked to the arresting officers and then went to the Detective Bureau and gave a written statement."
Kenneth Mocks, age 46 of 444 Harrison Ave., Boston, was arrested on the charges of Unarmed Robbery and Assault and Battery.
"The second victim of the armed robbery has still not come forward to police," Delaney continued.
"The 61 year-old female witness did a great job for the police and citizens of Springfield. Her identity will be kept confidential. Other citizens who observe crimes taking place are encouraged to call 911. The witness stayed with the police for only one half hour. This is not much time at all to help a fellow citizen in trouble. Because of her dedication to her fellow man, a very dangerous suspect is now sitting behind bars."
Police have a very tough job and it's great to hear of a citizen stepping up to perform a civic duty that all of us should do. It's also interesting to note the suspect wasn't a Springfield resident.
Over in Holyoke, Chief Anthony Scott has a different problem. He wants the judicial community to meet the challenge of keeping repeat offenders off the streets.
Scott sent out a press release on Wednesday that on Oct. 7, two of his officers arrested Rey D. Calderon on seven charges. Calderon is accused of striking his 13 year-old stepdaughter with a sharp object causing a large bleeding wound and hitting his six week old baby so hard she required a "brain bleed" at BayState Medical Center.
Calderon was arrested and brought before a judge. Scott wrote, "Today when Caldron appeared before a judge in the Holyoke District Court his bail was set a measly $10,000. This bail was set after Calderon had taken 18 rides on the Hampden Country Merry-Go-Round of Justice, inflicting a batter so hard on a six-week-old infant that caused a 'brain bleed,' stabbing a 13-year-old in the head, biting a 12-year-old, assaulting a wheelchair bound wife and committing an assault and battery on two police officers, this judge in his infinite wisdom set bail at a paltry $10,000. Once again I ask the question, who is looking out for the safety and security of this community? The answer is left to you."

Who could blame Scott for being frustrated? What would the judge who made this decision say to those victims?

***
Tired of all of the presidential candidates and the campaign? Here's a breath of fresh air go to your computers and log onto www.bigfootnessie08.com.
A tip of the Dobbs soon-to-be-purchased fall fedora to my buddy Mark Masztal for alerting me to this political news.
This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to mdobbs@thereminder.com or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.


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