What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Today, I announce that I have decided not to pursue the Democratic Nomination for Ward 4 City Council.

These past several months have been a real lesson in the clear status of politics in our city.  With a less than acceptable example of real ethics reform now on the table for consideration. A continuance of elected officials running to better themselves rather than the services we offer our residents.  It is clear that this council and likely the next two will be largely in transition of working to get over the ailments that this last year alone has caused.

With an elected representative that would rather cut ribbons that serve her constituents. A continuation to support other elected members of the council that by standards any place else would be in jail.  It should not take any us long to realize that we have a problem.  A big problem.  

This problem is bigger than any one election can change.  The improvements that are needed are drastic and long over due.  Improvements that no one elected member of City Council can fuel on their own.  But a much stronger engine of change and a new direction of leadership must come from all corners of this city.

My years of serving this community as an activists for many causes teaches me that more can and must be done.  Our juvenile justice system is in shambles.  Victims has less rights than the perpetrator and families continue to lose their teenagers to gang violence and drugs.  

Today,  I am withdrawing as a candidate for the Democratic Ward 4 City Council seat which is  slated to be decided on April 3rd, 2012, in the Democratic Primary for the District of Columbia.

I wish to graciously thank each and everyone that supported me and that stood with me on the quest to bring positive changes to Ward 4.  Your energy and ideas are greatly appreciated. And will not be forgotten.  For those that remain in the race,  I will carefully place my support behind someone in the future and will vow to work to support change and a more inclusive candidate that will better serve all of those that live in Ward 4.

As I change my path for the future,  I challenge each of you to re-consider what this city and our liberty stands for.  While many of you continue to vote and participate in a one party system I hope you will step back take a look and come to realize that only through a more open minded approach to who we support and elect can we then expect real change.  

We would all be better served to not vote a single party, but vote for the person that best offers a positive change and a vision for a brighter, safer and healthier Ward 4.

The coming days will no doubt bring me in touch with how I see my part in Ward 4 politics in the future.  Rather it be a political action committee or setting my sights on a different approach. Rest assured that it has always been a priority to think of our residents first!

The many victims of crime in this city and their families know well that I have worked tirelessly to bring about change to our juvenile justice system and the laws that better protect the perpetrators than the very victims of these many crimes. Our city and our government continues to release juvenile offenders to poorly managed half way houses that allow them to go back to the very streets where they have robbed, assaulted, shot and even in some cases killed before. Leaving everyone of us and even the criminal themselves susceptible to a continuation of crime and disrespect.  

I will vigorously work to pursue changes in laws, and management of our juvenile justice system, gang related crime and the seemingly endless ward on drugs in this city.

My Keith Jarrell 2012 web site will remain active in hopes of playing a part in the re-shaping of politics as we know them in both Ward 4 and the District of Columbia.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Clean up our streets, Put the juveniles that break the law behind bars!

October 1, 2010

Chairman Mendelson,
Councilmembers Alexander and Cheh and Bowser,

In response to some of you asking what I felt should/could be done to help our system deal with criminal behavior in and around guns, homicide, and drugs.  Effectively I have met with the Chief Judge from two Courts, of the D.C. Superior Court, the former Presiding Judge in the Juvenile and Neglect Branch of D.C. Superior Court, the U.S. Attorney,  a supervisor /member of the District Attorney’s Office that over sees Juvenile Case work.
Along with research of three various cities of approximate size with similar former problems like the District currently is experiencing.
I have prepared the following. It is comprised of both research from various cities that have experienced a decline in crimes associated with guns, homicide and drugs, and some opinions based on lengthy conversations with various entities of police, judicial and prosecutorial involvement.
First, the overwhelming statement that I get from everyone involved is:
TIGHTEN THE LAWS, Especially the juvenile laws.
Changes are desperately needed in Juvenile Court.  Prosecutors are not permitted to discuss the likelihood that case exists, let along any detail of the case.   Names of the accused are kept secret, and proceedings are conducted in locked courtrooms. Example: Until recently, a rape victim was not allowed to know that the accused lived in the same apartment building as she did.  Recently a change was put into effect that would allow prosecutors to now notify the victim that the accused lives and for them to be identified.  Juvenile Court and the proceedings should be open to the public. This serves as an enabler.
Secondly, the judge should be able to instruct the juvenile what the sentencing guidelines are if there were tried as an adult.  The law should mandate that juvenile records would be sealed, and become useless when the accused turns 18 if they stay out of trouble.  If they are re-arrested, that seal is broken and those charges will be brought forward as evidence and used in sentencing.  Leaving the judge, that possibility of a stricter sentence based on the prior arrest records, and the severity of crimes.  Felony crimes involving guns, drugs, or any type of gang involvement would carry over into the adult files if the defendant had not gone arrest free for the last two years of their juvenile status: 16-18 years of age. All of it can go away if the juvenile stays out of trouble.
In addition, the use of a firearm in a Felony I homicide, committed by juvenile the age of 15 or higher automatically is persecuted in D.C. Superior Court, as an adult.  This has be a change in the law from council to become effective.  If law, the court would have to adhere to the guidelines.  Secondly, the minimum sentencing guidelines for felony I Homicide with a gun should be increased to a minimum of 25 years.  The maximum should then be extended to 60 years.  The 25 year minimum would serve as a deterrent combined with the new power to prosecute persons 15 and older as adults.  The maximum guidelines would help in literally get hardened criminals off our streets.  If an accused is found guilty of both a felony I homicide conviction with a gun,  and found to be a participant in a gang or crew the sentencing guidelines would change to 35 year minimum,  with a maximum of up to life behind bar.  Anyone accused as an adult,  of multiple Felony I Homicides would automatically move into the allowed maximum sentencing guidelines.
One city in particular, Richmond Virginia, changed laws and strengthened their sentencing guidelines through the United States Attorney’s Office.  Authorities say the decade-and-a-half effort has paid off. But according to recent figures from the (1)U.S. Sentencing Commission and other studies, it has also left the Richmond area as a national leader in both federal crack cocaine and firearm prosecutions that lead to long prison sentences.
The average sentence for crack violators was just under 11 years; 18 of them were sentenced to more than 20 years and one to life.
City prosecutors (2) last year won state convictions for felony drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute against almost 400 people -- a 10-year high. The sentences added up to 850 years.
"Among the weapons brought to bear against Richmond's record wave of violence in the 1990s were stiff federal laws targeting drug dealers and firearms violators. The bloodshed has subsided since 1994, when the city had 161 slayings and the highest per-capita homicide rate in the country. Last year's toll of 39 did not even lead the state."
Where are the guns coming from that are used in crimes in DC?
Study finds Virginia Guns Often Used in Out of State Crimes.
The link below offers astounding information that highly supports the theory that we have to find out where these guns are coming from.
Project Exile:
Getting guns off our streets before they are used is instrumental in achieving a reduced homicide rate as well as other felony gun crimes.  Repeat offenders are often caught with guns and drugs supplement this.  The two most often run together.The District Of Columbia needs an extensive public outreach and media campaign to educate citizens about lengthy Federal prison sentences for gun crimes and to maximize deterrence also is a critical component of Project Exile. The Project Exile Citizen Support Foundation was formed in July 1997 in Richmond VA,  and has been highly acclaimed for it’s effectiveness.
The District needs a Project Exile Citizen Support Foundation to be formed to study, and to monitor the results of what I propose.
In addition legislation, should be introduced / passed to tie the buyer of any firearm used in a Felony I Homicide to the crime, with stiff sentencing put in place to prosecute those buyers that then allow a firearm, rather purchased legally or illegally to the crime and the end user. This sentence should be a minimum of 10 years for accessory to murder. This would serve as a deterrent, and although hard to prove in many cases there would be positive results in some.

Finally I suggest that you look at the information that the link below offers.  It is a Statistical Informational Packet of the DC Circuit for year 2009.  It is published by the United States Sentencing Commission.  
I find it telling when caparisons are done on the amount of cases prosecuted.
(1)   Known to be a group consisting of liberal attorney’s.
(2)   From a report dated 2009 so results would reflect numbers from 2008 respectfully.

Keith Jarrell
Resident Ward 4