Maryland wants to treat murderers like children
A Democrat mayor of Washington, D.C.; dozens of Democrat senators and representatives; and a Democrat president all thought it was a bad idea for the District to pass a law that reduced sentences on some violent crimes in the capital city. It would have made the Democrats look soft on crime and encourage criminals at a time when voters are demanding action be taken to reduce the soaring crime rates in major cities around the country.
Despite this, a Maryland House of Delegates member introduced on legislation in February to raise the minimum age suspects must be before a prosecutor can charge them with felony murder, a murder committed in the course of another violent felony, applied to the person committing the murder and to any accomplices in the other crime.
Delegate Charlotte Cruchfield introduced the Youth Accountability and Safety Act, which neither holds youth accountable nor keeps them safe. What it does do is treat adults like children and makes murder easier to get away with in Maryland.
The bill, if passed, would keep anyone under the age of 25 from being charged with murder in the first degree under Maryland law. The charge would automatically be lowered to second-degree murder, and the bill removes the possibility of a life sentence. The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is 40 years in prison. The current penalty for felony murder in Maryland is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The bill's purpose as stated is "providing that a person who was under the age of 25 years at the time of the offense may not be found to have committed murder in the first degree if the charge is based on a murder committed in the perpetration or attempt to perpetrate a certain felony."
So, this means that someone who committed a "deliberate, premeditated, and willful killing" done in the act of arson, burglary, carjacking, prison escape, kidnapping, mayhem, rape, robbery, or first- or second-degree sexual offense, or who was an accomplice of the murderer in the commission of the other crime, gets leniency.
A person who intentionally kills someone while committing a violent crime is not someone who deserves leniency. He not only decided to commit a violent crime, but also decided to kill someone while doing it.
This is the type of criminal that people want off the street. It is this sort of approach to fighting crime that is beginning to cost politicians like Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot her job. People are tired of having consideration for feelings and welfare of criminals place above the feelings and welfare of the victims of the crimes those people commit.
Why does the Legislature want this change to the law? Because the current law is purportedly racist. The racial equity impact note attached to the bill claims that it will positively impact the number of Black residents in Maryland facing charges for first-degree felony murder.
This positive impact comes from the fact that more Black adults in their 20s commit felony murder than 20-somethings of other races.
What about the race of the victims of these under-25 felony murderers? Are they primarily Black? How are they getting justice? It is not making youth accountable. It is creating more youth.
People, no matter their race, want justice. They want criminals caught and punished, and if the politicians won't do it, people will punish them by voting them out of office. Ask Lori Lightfoot.
Michael A. Letts is the CEO and founder of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs.