Not criminally responsible

Past offenders often compound insult by reoffending

Let’s just start with the easy part: Should someone who shoots a cop on purpose and multiple times without any provocation whatsoever ever be allowed to walk free again?

Ever?

Or how about this: Should an imbalanced individual who shoots someone be declared “not criminally responsible” and sent on his way – to do it again a few years later?

Is a criminal justice system that allows either thing to happen, itself, being responsible with criminals?

Of course not. But welcome to America, land of the free and the shouldn’t be free.

Floyd Palmer, the man accused of murdering a volunteer who was leading a prayer service Wednesday at World Changers Church International south of Atlanta, has shot a man before. Reports indicate he shot another man working with him at a mosque in Baltimore, Md., in 2001. After it surfaced that Palmer appeared to be delusional and he pleaded “not criminally responsible,” a judge released him in 2006.

Do you think they’ll be able to hold onto him this time?

Meanwhile, in another case, an Augusta man on parole for shooting a Richmond County sheriff’s deputy five times in 1990 was arrested Oct. 8 after being arrested with a gun following an alleged shoplifting.

On parole only 11 months from his 45-year sentence, Carl Lamont Brandon, 39, is charged with shoplifting, fleeing and attempting to elude police and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

“Brandon, who was 16 at the time, shot (the deputy) five times – once in the temple and four times in the back – as the deputy was retrieving rain gear from the trunk of his police cruiser,” according to the Chronicle news story. The deputy survived and still works as a training sergeant, but lost an eye and kidney as a result of being shot.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in Brandon’s latest arrest. But that’s more due to luck and perhaps providence than any intelligence on the part of the criminal justice system.

Shootings and other tragedies from criminal acts are bad enough. But when they’re perpetrated by people who’ve already slipped through the criminal justice system’s fingers, that just adds outrage to tragedy.

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