The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –
Late last month a 38-year-old father of three small children and prominent businessman, Christopher Wright, 38, was in downtown Chattanooga to attend a high school 20 year reunion for the Baylor School, when he got into an argument with Darryl Roberts, a career criminal known as “Too Tall”.
After a brief exchange of what was described as a confrontation, or argument, Roberts took out a gun and shot Wright at point blank range, killing him.
Roberts, according to public records and news reports, has 66 prior arrests on his record and has never spent more than 6 months in jail at any one time.
Robert’s record reflects arrests for such crimes as vandalism, theft and robbery.
A report out of Chattanooga quotes Rick Dierenfeldt with the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, who said “As part of a plea agreement with the prosecutor’s office, all but one of those charges are dropped, and they plead guilty to one. You could also see a drop in the reclassification of a charge, they may have been initially arrested and charged with a felony. It’s not uncommon for them to serve 10% to 20% of their sentence length, and then they’re back out on the street.”
A source close to The Tennessee Conservative that has worked for the state’s top law agency, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, where all criminal records for the entire state are housed, shared their observations stating that the police do their job, arrests are made, and charges are filed.
However, once the cases are handed off to the various DA’s offices for prosecution, many charges are either dropped or reduced and sentencing is fraction of what has been handed down.
The source, who wished to remain anonymous, described the justice system in Tennessee as something like a “criminal mill” where offenders enter, exit and reenter the system with regular frequency. For charges that are filed with no conviction being produced, the perpetrator can apply for and receive an expungement, at no cost to them, with the expense falling on the taxpayers of Tennessee.
On Roberts record, there are at least two prior cases from 2003 and 2009 involving confrontation with a weapon, which in the state of Tennessee are felony charges which should result in years of incarceration, keeping the public safe from what can arguably be described as a dangerously unstable and violent person.
Some place the blame for the rising crime rate on the criminal justice reform policies that Governor Lee made a central priority in the beginning of 2020’s legislative session.
According to reports, Governor Lee’s idea of criminal justice reform is “having fewer people in prison, more productive citizens after they leave, less taxpayer money spent on incarceration and a lower crime rate in the state.” He continued, “It isn’t going to be easy to get that done,” he said. “We have to be creative and innovative and disruptive and challenge the way we’ve been doing things forever.”
This, apparently, according to the Governor’s own words, is what creative criminal justice reform might look like: allowing dangerous criminals to avoid spending any time in jail for the crimes they commit that many say only emboldens them to commit more and even more dangerous crimes in the future because they had little to no consequences in their previous experiences with the criminal justice system in Tennessee.
About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member. Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty. Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.