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Sacramento County Sheriff Calls Out Soft-On-Crime Law Changes For Deadly Mass Shooting

Sacramento, CA – The deadly gang shooting that left six people dead and at least a dozen more wounded was the result of the Golden State’s soft-on-crime policies and Americans’ “short memory” about the devastating impacts of violent crime, according to Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.

Sheriff Jones blasted California lawmakers and voters for the current state of affairs, arguing that they have made it a priority to coddle criminals at the expense of victims, FOX News reported.

“In the late 80s and early 90s… violent crime in California and across the country was so bad that it gave rise to things like three strikes, gang enhancements, gun enhancements, things to really address the out-of-control violence that was occurring,” the frustrated sheriff told FOX News.

As a result, violent crime reduced for many years, he said.

“It has worked,” Sheriff Jones noted. “But people have a short memory, and they say, ‘Well, since we aren’t as violent anymore, we don’t need these things,’ without realizing the cause and effect, that these things actually reduce violent crime.”

The sheriff said the mass shooting that took place in downtown Sacramento in the early morning hours of April 3 was a perfect example of the deadly effects of soft-on-crime policy changes, FOX News reported.

“As we chisel away at these things, as we chisel away at three strikes, as we chisel away at enhancements, as we let people out of jail, as we start treating criminals like victims and victims like criminals, it’s entirely predictable what is going to happen, and we’re seeing it play out,” he said.

The attack, which occurred in the area of K Street and 10th Street approximately 2 a.m. on April 3, has been described as the worst mass shooting in the history of Sacramento, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Sacramento police announced on April 6 that the incident erupted after at least five gunmen from at least two rival gangs opened fire on one another in a bustling area known for its nightlife, the Associated Press reported.

Only two suspects have been arrested so far.

Both are convicted felons who cannot legally possess firearms, but they were apparently undeterred by such legalities.

Smiley Martin, 27, was just released from prison early in February after he served less than half of a 10-year prison sentence for brutally beating his then-girlfriend and whipping her with a belt as she hid in a closet, FOX News reported.

It wasn’t his only prior conviction.

Police arrested Smiley Martin in January of 2013 after he was found in possession of two fully-loaded, 25-round magazines and an “assault rifle,” but the judge only gave him probation, FOX News reported.

Less than a year later, he and three cohorts barged into a Walmart store and made off with $2,800 worth of electronics.

Investigators tied him to two other robberies that had taken place the same month, FOX News reported.

Smiley Martin was sentenced to two years in prison as a result of those offenses.

Police dealt with him again in November of 2016, when he lied about his identity and tried to flee from the officers who were attempting to detain him, FOX News reported.

Six months later, he carried out the brutal assault on his then-girlfriend, who prosecutors said he was also trying to force into prostitution.

The assault did not qualify as a violent offense under California law, so he was eligible for additional sentencing credits and earlier parole since he was deemed to be a nonviolent offender, the New York Post reported.

Smiley Martin was granted release in February despite warnings from the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office that he “poses a significant, unreasonable risk of safety to the community,” according to FOX News.

“Martin has demonstrated repeatedly that he cannot follow the laws, or conditions the court places on him,” the prosecutor’s office argued. “His history indicates that he will pursue his own personal agenda regardless of the consequences and regulatory restraints placed upon him.”

The plea fell on deaf ears, and Smiley Martin was granted parole.

He was allegedly involved in the mass shooting just weeks later.

“The best predictor of future behavior is past conduct, and violent people, they’re going to be violent when they get out, and that’s what we’ve seen here,” Sheriff Jones told FOX News.

Smiley Martin has since been charged with possession of a machine gun and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, the Associated Press reported.

His brother, 26-year-old Dandrae Martin, has been charged with being a convict carrying a loaded gun, the Associated Press reported.

The Martin brothers were both wounded in the mass shooting.

Police are still searching for the additional gunmen.

No one had been charged with homicide in connection with the attack as of Monday, according to the New York Post.

“Every crime has a victim and these victims are racking up, sometimes minorly and sometimes catastrophically, like we saw in Sacramento [on April 3],” Sheriff Jones told FOX News. “This is the latest, but it unfortunately won’t be the last. Because if we don’t change the way California and the rest of this nation treats criminals… then this is only going to be a continuing trend.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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