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Activist Judges and Leave the Pot Heads Alone

Reported by Donna - May 19, 2005

I saw the story coming today on Studio B with Shepard Smith. A man, Tony Pope, killed his wife, infant son and stepdaughter last week in Chattanooga, Tennesee. The problem is, the man was convicted of killing his girlfriend in 1995 by bludgeoning her to death with an iron skillet and only served 5 years of his 15 year sentence.

I thought, oh no, who is going to get the blame for this and will O'Reilly pick up on this story and start attacking the judicial system in Tennesee?

The first guest was Tennesee State Representative, Gerald McCormick, who said that everyone was outraged that the man had only served 30% of his sentence. He did say that recently the law had been changed so that violent offenders would now have to serve at least 85% of their sentences.

Smith asked him if there was anything that could be done to keep these people from being around the rest of us.

McCormick started his speech that they had shortened the time that they could keep prisoners in jail because they had Federal Judges forcing them to make the prisoners more comfortable. (How the Federal Judges forced them he didn't explain) He went on to say that they spend more money on prisoners that they do on their college students. McCormick stated that the next legislative session they would further address it.

Smith's second guest was James Fotis, Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America and a retired police officer. This second conversation actually became somewhat comical.


Sheppard Smith: There must be a solution.

James Fotis: There should be no parole and there should be no early release.

SS: Oh, you can't have no parole or no early release, can you?

JF: Well, it worked in Virginia. Several years ago it was passed in Virginia.

SS: We have these drug laws that leave a bunch of people who have a second marijuana offense locked up and tying up our (prisons). When are clear thinking people gonna say people who murder ought to stay in jail for a long time and people who get high in their own living rooms, and not bothering anyone else, maybe we ought not to clog up our jail system with them?

JF: I agree with you Shepard, but as we know, drugs do lead to violence.

SS (Very sarcastic and enthusiastic) Oh, absolutely, because, you know, everyday you see a man smoke a joint and going out and murdering 10 or 12 people. That happens everyday.

JF: (nervous laugh) No, I'm not saying it happens everyday...

SS: It's preposterous.

JF: ...but it definately can lead to violence.

SS: I don't believe that.

JF: (Changing the subject) In addition to that, why are we letting violent offenders out of jail everyday. Many of them, because of federal mandate, they go and they take over the criminal justice system in various states and they are mandated to release these violent felons.

I think the drug situation is another matter for another day.

SS: It probably is.

They both spoke briefly about the law having changed in Tennesee, but it may need to be made more strict.

Smith ended the segment by saying that 'and maybe people would like to consider whether we want to keep people locked up who are not violent offenders. We'll see.'

Comment: Both guests blamed the judicial system for this man's release. The Tennesee State Representative did not take any blame for laws being passed that allowed this man to be released. I just wondered while they were blaming 'judges' if maybe O'Reilly's interns were taking notes and preparing a segment for him to come down on another judge, this time in Tennesee. As Smith said, 'we'll see.'

Aside from that, it was amusing to watch how animated Smith became when he spoke about smoking marijuana. He seemed very liberal and passionate about the subject.

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