Following up on recent columns about the continuing violence in Baltimore:
Among other findings in Thiru Vignarajah’s dive into data about homicide cases: Judges are not going easy on killers. A defendant who stood trial and who was found guilty of first-degree murder for a homicide in Baltimore Circuit Court in the years 2017, 2018 or 2019 received at least a life sentence and often a life-plus sentence; one defendant, Willard Turner, in 2018 received a sentence of life-plus 80 years for the abduction and murder of 29-year-old Tiffany Jones in South Baltimore. Several other defendants are now serving sentences of life or life-plus.
In the case of second-degree murder convictions, sentences ranged from 25 to 75 years.
The problem is not slap-on-the-wrist sentencing by a lenient judiciary, as the loudmouths who call talk radio shows often claim. The problem is a lack of cases, a lack of arrests, a shortage of police and detectives to identify suspects and prove that they committed a murder before someone murders them.
Two recent columns, both based on Vignarajah’s findings, are worth reading if you missed them. Here are the links:
Today’s column (Sunday, March 28): In Baltimore, still too many getting away with murder
Column of Wednesday, March 10: A data dive on Baltimore homicides shows the need to stop retaliatory violence