After three men were killed Tuesday morning in a Fresno shooting rampage, Fresno Police Department Chief Jerry Dyer says changes need to be made in the criminal justice system.
During an interview with Fox 26 News, Dyer explains how the focus of criminal justice has shifted to be more focused on giving criminals extra chances than holding them accountable for their crimes.
“Over the last five years, our criminal justice system in the state of California has become very weak,” the Chief tells Fox 26. “The pendulum of criminal justice has swung far to the left — the laws have changed.”
The Chief explains how the laws have changed over time and says he understands giving people a second chance.
“What used to be a felony, is now a misdemeanor. What used to be a misdemeanor is now an infraction, and what used to be an infraction is now legal,” Dyer tells Fox 26. “We have to get control the laws, and I understand second chances and third chances for individuals, but we have a penal system today and a criminal justice system that are providing far too many chances to these individuals.”
The Chief, whose interview falls on the heels of his department arresting Kori Muhammad — the man who murdered the three men Tuesday — says there needs to be legislative reform and action from the governor.
“At some point, they (legislators and the governor) have to realize the carnage and the damage being done in local communities as a result of their decisions,” Dyer said. “They need to be held accountable.”
The chief argues California voters have to exercise pressure to enact positive change from the government.
“We need, as a constituency, to put pressure on them to make sure we have the proper laws in place, and sentencing guidelines, that allow these individuals … such as Kori Muhammad … to go to prison and to stay in prison.”
Reporters from Fox 26 asked Dyer why someone like Muhammad, who had served time in federal prison, is out on the street.
Dyer said Muhammad was prosecuted federally and served seven years on a nine-year sentence and although he believes in federal prosecution, and has praise for the district attorney, he says the laws in California today shows criminals there are very few consequences for criminals, and they fully understand that.
During the interview, it’s noted Muhammad … being a convicted felon … is not allowed to have a firearm.
“He’s a felon, and should not posses a firearm,” Dyer replies. “But, there are a lot of felons out there that do posses firearms.”
The chief says laws need to be changed so that felons who are found with a firearm are appropriately sentenced.
“I believe that the laws need to be modified to that when we have a individual that is a convicted felon, that is armed with a handgun … a firearm … the sentencing for that individual has got to be very, very serious,” Dyer tells Fox 26. “We have to send a message in California, and across this nation, that we are not going to tolerate gun violence in our communities.”
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