A no-win scenario

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It's a situation any one of us would dread -- in the middle of the night, in your home where you assume you're safe, you hear the sounds of an intruder.

Superior Court Judge Carlisle Overstreet faced that situation early Friday and made a decision an innocent homeowner shouldn't have to make -- to use deadly force to protect his life and property.

Overstreet, armed and ready, shot and killed John Egland Howard Jr. A man is dead, and a good man must deal with having killed him. However justified -- and few killings are more justifiable than this one -- it has to be traumatic and distressing.

Let's take a moment to trudge up the stairs in his shoes. Judge Overstreet is a human being first. Our hearts and prayers go out to him and his family. He did what he had to do.

Certainly we should thank God it was the intruder, not the judge, who met with his end. And say a prayer of thanks that we live in a state that recognizes the sacred right, and even the obligation, of men to protect themselves and their loved ones with whatever force necessary. The law was changed only five years ago to broaden homeowners' immunity by giving them the legal right to use deadly force with an intruder regardless of the perceived danger. Thank goodness for that, too.

Sadly, though, we still don't live in a state whose laws take the crime of burglary very seriously at all. Indeed, Howard is a repeat offender whose crimes stretch across the breadth of the Augusta Judicial Circuit: Richmond, Burke and Columbia counties. He was placed on 10 years' probation for burglary just last year by Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown Jr., for all the good that did.

Judge Brown, while he's not singularly responsible for Georgia's inept handling of career burglars, is truly fortunate his friend and colleague Judge Overstreet is alive today.

If the Overstreet case is a seminal episode in Augusta criminal history -- and it became one instantly -- so should it be in Georgia's. It should be the shot heard 'round the state Capitol: Lawmakers are now duty-bound to find new, creative and effective ways to stem the tide of burglaries in this state and more adequately punish their commission.

What they're doing now isn't working -- and it's compelling homeowners in the judge's Summerville neighborhood to send e-mails and set up websites and text alerts to warn each other of the dangers in their midst.

And it's forcing gentle citizens to take up arms. And use them.

No one wins in that scenario.

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Little Lamb
46920
Points
Little Lamb 08/20/10 - 03:15 pm
0
0
Nothing will change till

Nothing will change till taxpayers cough up many more maximum security prison beds. Georgia's prisons are full, so every criminal sentenced to jail causes someone else to be released whether his time is up or not. The next General Assembly must address the prison situation before they create tougher sentences.

dvdbiggs
13
Points
dvdbiggs 08/20/10 - 03:20 pm
0
0
Yes Judge Overstreet will

Yes Judge Overstreet will have to deal with taking someones life,but it could have been a different story. He did what he had to do.

hr69
13
Points
hr69 08/20/10 - 03:23 pm
0
0
Great editorial. And what

Great editorial. And what lamb said is correct as well. Tough situation for the courts but until the criminals in this country are punished and punished harshly for their deeds, this problem is going no where soon.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 08/20/10 - 03:23 pm
0
0
No kidding. You have no idea

No kidding. You have no idea the toll the crime problem has taken on families in Augusta. I am sickened that Judge Overstreet had to pull that trigger and take a human life, as I am sure he is, too, but he had no choice as far as I'm concerned. I would have done the same thing he did to protect my family. I am very blessed our break-in occurred when I was at work, or I would have had to do the same.

Michael Ryan
691
Points
Michael Ryan 08/20/10 - 03:26 pm
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0
dvdbiggs -- You are so right.

dvdbiggs -- You are so right. I hope it was implicit in what we wrote, but you've inspired me to spell it out. He did what any of us should have done. Thanks!

Fiat_Lux
15912
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/20/10 - 03:40 pm
0
0
More and more of us are

More and more of us are finding ourselves willing to do things we never thought we would have to do, and it truly is because people like the late Mr. Howard have not been forced to suffer for their crimes.

I'm in favor of cranking the chain gangs back up. Heaven knows our infrastructure could use the labor, and making it extremely unpleasant--even miserable--for criminals is about the only option we have left. We have lots of rights and privileges if we choose to live according to the laws of a peaceful, honest and decent society, but there must be absolutely none for those who won't.

Mr. Howard might still be alive if his crimes had actually been punished a year or two ago.

sledgehammer
0
Points
sledgehammer 08/20/10 - 03:41 pm
0
0
Maybe now he will toughen up

Maybe now he will toughen up his sentencing of these type crimes. Now he knows first hand what it feels like to have you and your home violated by this type of trash!

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 08/20/10 - 04:01 pm
0
0
I could care less if calls

I could care less if calls himself conservative or liberal, we all have the right to protect our family, ourselves and our property, if more people do this then maybe criminals will think twice before entering someone's home trying to steal what someone else has worked hard for. the only ones I feel truly sorry for in this is the judge and the young mans family, but he chose his own fate.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 08/20/10 - 04:04 pm
0
0
My prayers go out to Judge

My prayers go out to Judge Overstreet. He will have to deal with feelings that most of us dread ever having to face. I will also pray for the family of Mr. Howard because they lost a loved one to his own mistakes and criminal behavior. It can't be easy for them either. Don't get me wrong, Howard got what he deserved but those others involved did not ask for their involvement in his choices.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 08/20/10 - 04:12 pm
0
0
As the economy worsens

As the economy worsens there's going to be more of this type of thing. You can count on it.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 08/20/10 - 04:28 pm
0
0
Okay ya'll. Now they say we

Okay ya'll. Now they say we are allowed to shoot to kill when someone is breaking into your home. My home was broken into twice. I am definately going to keep this in mind. Have printed the story and hung it on the wall so that the RCSO will remember that when they have to come out to my house if I have this scenario.

FAIR TAX Now
16
Points
FAIR TAX Now 08/20/10 - 04:28 pm
0
0
Well we don't need more

Well we don't need more prisons. We need willingness to deal with criminals stronger. Repeat offenders should face the ultimate punishment - death. Now you can say that is harsh but if the person is repeatedly robbing people then he is a useless human being and he needs to be removed from this world and the torment he is creating. We must get tough and I mean extremely tough on crime. If criminals believed any crime could cause them to possibly lose their life they would reconsider it. I don't care what anyone says this would be a deterent to crime.

Fiat_Lux
15912
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/20/10 - 04:51 pm
0
0
One of the unintended

One of the unintended consequences of an increased application of the death penalty is that witnesses are more likely to be murdered.

Little Lamb
46920
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Little Lamb 08/20/10 - 05:26 pm
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FAIR TAX Now wrote: Well we

FAIR TAX Now wrote:

Well we don't need more prisons. . . . We must get tough and I mean extremely tough on crime.

Did nothing I wrote sink in? Georgia prisons are full! You cannot get tougher if you have to release one for every new one sentenced to prison.

Yes, I read your statement that you desire death penalties for repeat burglary offenders. That will never happen.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 08/20/10 - 05:47 pm
0
0
"Thank God?" He was sleeping
Unpublished

"Thank God?" He was sleeping on the job again!

Riverman1
86920
Points
Riverman1 08/21/10 - 12:05 am
0
0
I'll bet drug addiction was

I'll bet drug addiction was behind the burglary. Legalize drugs and make us all safer.

psychologyseniorusc
0
Points
psychologyseniorusc 08/21/10 - 12:30 am
0
0
wondering how he would rule

wondering how he would rule in the same case, minus him, self defense or abrupt violence, just a thought.

APiratesLife4Me
0
Points
APiratesLife4Me 08/21/10 - 01:11 am
0
0
I'm no fan of Overstreet but

I'm no fan of Overstreet but kudos to him for taking one more thug off our streets for good! A one stop shop....Judge/Jury/Excecutioner!!

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 08/21/10 - 02:19 am
0
0
Good editorial AC! And kudos

Good editorial AC! And kudos to Judge Overstreet! I continue to hope that the "castle" laws will become national rather than piecemeal state-by-state.

To LITTLE LAMB: How about an Arpagio (sp?) or more in Georgia; you know, the fella (sheriff) that established a tent city for criminals in Arizona. Put all the drug dealers, check-kiters, and other small potato criminals in tents year around. Save the real prisons for fellas like Mr. Howard, Jr., other dangerous dudes, and killers.

While it's probably not the best solution, it is one that could work for the time being.

GGpap

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 08/21/10 - 04:17 am
0
0
Repeat offenders are not

Repeat offenders are not punished accordingly. And, there is plenty of room in our jails, especially for violent criminals. We have to many liberal judges and bleading hearts that belive a 2nd chance should occur more than 10 times....We don't need violent criminals on our streets and we don't need people on death row for 20 years, give them their punishments and free up the beds in the jails. Strong and swift punishments will change the attitude or criminals.

Brad Owens
4727
Points
Brad Owens 08/21/10 - 04:50 am
0
0
Great Article. Judge Carlisle

Great Article.

Judge Carlisle Overstreet did what he had to do and Howard paid the ultimate price for his poor choices.

I hope Judge Overstreet doesn't feel too bad for defending himself and I hope his actions make criminals in the CSRA think twice about thier actions.

Brad

Fundamental_Arminian
1849
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 08/21/10 - 05:51 am
0
0
"Well we don't need more

"Well we don't need more prisons. We need willingness to deal with criminals stronger. Repeat offenders should face the ultimate punishment - death" (Fair Tax Now).

Great advice! Nowhere in Scripture does God command imprisonment as a means of punishment. Prisons were used only to detain people long enough for them to be tried and, if guilty, sentenced. For non-capital offenses, punishment consisted of fines, restitution, floggings, and even judicious amputations. We're fools to think anyone pays a debt to society by being housed, fed, and medically treated--at tax payers' expense!--to the tune of $60,000 a year.

Little Lamb
46920
Points
Little Lamb 08/21/10 - 07:26 am
0
0
The Armininian is correct –

The Armininian is correct – incarceration is not a Biblical method of dealing with lawbreakers. But our society has not adopted the Biblical methods (Fundamental Arminian listed some above but not all – he left out the stoning and burning). Since we will not adopt the Biblical methods, we are stuck with incarceration for the time being.

My point is that we have people calling for tougher sentences, but those sentences are meaningless unless we have the prison space to carry them out. Right now, you can get a ten-year sentence, but serve only one before you are released due to the overcrowding. Take a look at the rap sheet and prison record of the burglar shot by the judge.

Little Lamb
46920
Points
Little Lamb 08/21/10 - 07:34 am
0
0
Ooooops, I misread the story

Ooooops, I misread the story above. ACES wrote:

Sadly, though, we still don't live in a state whose laws take the crime of burglary very seriously at all. Indeed, Howard is a repeat offender whose crimes stretch across the breadth of the Augusta Judicial Circuit: Richmond, Burke and Columbia counties. He was placed on 10 years' probation for burglary just last year by Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown Jr., for all the good that did.

I guess burglary is not deemed a violent crime to Judge Brown.

When all the hooplah dies down over John Howard's death during the commission of a crime (maybe six months from now), I surely would like to see an in-depth interview (newspaper or TV or radio) with his mother. I wonder what her thoughts are about what led him astray?

Mr.L.A.Kegbrat
0
Points
Mr.L.A.Kegbrat 08/21/10 - 08:42 am
0
0
Why didn't the judge just

Why didn't the judge just shoot him in the leg? Why did he think it neccessary to execute him?

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 08/21/10 - 08:59 am
0
0
The Judge did what he was

The Judge did what he was supposed to do.....aim at center mass. Good shhoting, Judge.......good riddance to the criminal.

thyroxin
0
Points
thyroxin 08/21/10 - 09:10 am
0
0
lol america does not have the

lol america does not have the finances to continue to be the biggest holder of prisoners in the whole civilized world perhaps AMERICA needs to find out what causes these social ills...AT one point many got imprisoned for bull crap to keep that money maschine prison going...now though its not...feasable anylonger.....children kept in day care from 6 weeks on the day care private ..so in need to make a profit ..therefore children with adjustment disorders...that last a lifetime...hand reared sociopath by the american capitalist craze....woman working for 8 bucks an hour to pay 5 of that for day care.....only one way to deal with that ......if america cant see what it is doing to its babies and infants ...dont have any children top reproducing ...its the only way some of those blood thirsty right wingers ...get to sthu.....when we have to export mexicans or all of latin america for workers .after we disturbed our children to grow up to be nothing but gangsters drug addicts and thieves..because we hand them over at 6 weeks to unlearned uneducated failures..to raise them for us...this is the only civilized nation that does not have madatory paid maternity leave ...all to apease the tax evaders and gangsters that caused the demise of the united state in the first place robber barons ......wall street ..all of the so called honorable americans RIGHT get a CLUE

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 08/21/10 - 09:20 am
0
0
Meaningful punishment that is

Meaningful punishment that is also beneficial to society would help, but Lamb and others are right about our prisons.

What sustains privatized prisons and prevents their reform is the profit margin that graft assures. There's simpy more profit in warehousing drug addicts than there is in administering justice to burglars. The worst criminals are the ones with the best connections to Georgia's legislature.

I hope these "public" servants will heed this editorial as putting them on notice. Next, perhaps the Public Disservice Commission will have their turn in the spotlight.

More and more, Atlanta reminds me of the mafia--in mentality if not in practicality and efficiency!

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 08/21/10 - 09:38 am
0
0
Mr.L.A.Kegbrat - you shoot to

Mr.L.A.Kegbrat - you shoot to ELIMINATE the threat. If he were armed then shooting him in his leg would not have done so. Taking the time to find out if he is armed is time that he would have had to seriously injure or kill the Judge.

The Judge did what he was allowed by law and did it exactly as he was trained except that he only fired once instead of twice.

chascush
0
Points
chascush 08/21/10 - 09:34 am
0
0
Kegbrat, ‘Why didn't the

Kegbrat, ‘Why didn't the judge just shoot him in the leg? Why did he think it neccessary to execute him?’
Real bright, shoot him in the leg and if he has a gun he shoots you in the head. He didn’t execute him, he shot an intruder. But pretty typical of a stinking liberal; more interested in the criminal than the victim.

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