The FBI recently reported a six percent increase in violent crime for 1973, a 30 percent increase over the last five years, and a 120 percent increase since I960. What is the cause of this shocking increase, which Attorney General William B. Saxbe calls “Americans most agonizing fact of life?”
About 80 percent of all felonies are committed by repeaters, only six percent of offenses result in imprisonment, and so-called rehabilitation is a failure. Consider these three recent cases.
James Franz Arbeiter was twice found guilty by Missouri juries of stabbing Mrs. Nancy Zanzone to death when she surprised him in the burglary of her apartment. He showed no remorse, boasting “I’m only 15 years old. They can’t do anything to me.”
Unfortunately, he was right. After conviction by two juries, the Missouri Supreme Court freed him on legal technicalities. Less than a year later, he pleaded guilty to burglary and weapons charges. After serving less than three years of a six year sentence, he has now been arrested and charged with the fatal shooting of a night club owner and of forcing his female companion to perform an illicit sex act.
Or, take Jesse Sumner who was convicted of two armed robberies and a murder. On a legal technicality the Illinois Supreme Court ordered a new trial He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, was sentenced to 10 to 15 years, and was paroled after two years. While posing as a model parolee, within a year and a half, he committed three separate murders of Illinois State University coeds and hurled their bodies. He has since been convicted of one of the murders and pleaded guilty to the other two.
In New York, Charles Yukl served six and a half years in prison for the strangling of a young model. The prosecution accepted his plea of guilty to manslaughter (instead of first-degree murder) because of technicalities imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Miranda case. He was a model inmate whom prison authorities believed had been thoroughly rehabilitated.
Fourteen months after being freed, Yukl ran an advertisement seeking actresses to appear in a movie. He has now been accused of the murder of a girl who was beaten and strangled in the same way as Yukl’s victim eight years earlier.
It ought to be self-evident that most crimes are committed by criminals, and that decent, law-abiding people have been betrayed by legal technicalities which have become loopholes in the law and strangled justice.
The U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have tied the hands of our local police are a major cause of the problem. The “soft on crime” attitude is also manifested in the new coed prisons, the rehabilitation concept that is such a dismal failure, and the parole-probation system that puts criminals back into society without any apparent concern for their past and prospective victims.