Archive | Criminal Justice

RSS feed for this section

FOCUS ON GUN ACCOUNTABILITY NOT CONTROL: Op-Ed. M. Frank

(This article appears as Op-Ed in Florida Today, this date)

 

Here we go, focusing on “control” as a means to fix the nation’s problems with gun violence. Government leaders, to one degree or another, offer the perennial answer which is to control gun ownership by people who have a history of mental illness and/or felonious behavior. We’ve been doing this for many years. How’s it going so far?

     Now, the House of Representatives is considering new legislation which will improve background checks, ban high-capacity magazines and create red-flag laws entitling local police to remove guns from people believed to be a threat. Well, something is better than nothing. But it will not reach the heart of the problem. Nothing is really going to change.

     Year after year, decade after decade, we’re constantly focusing on “gun control,” instead of “gun accountability” as the issue in need of attention. Background checks are important, but they do not identify people who have severe mental problems unless they’ve already been incarcerated, and then it’s too late. Most of the recent notorious shooters had no past record by which a background check would mean anything. The real issue should be “accountability” and not “control.”

Read full story Comments { 11 }

RISKS OF BECOMING A COP – Op-Ed

(This article, by yours truly, appears in today’s issue of Florida Today Op-Ed page)

Anyone applying for a police officer job these days is doing so at great risk. Never before have public servants been the target of so much undeserved hate and condemnation. The real losers? We, the people.

Police officers were my extended family for 30 years in Miami-Dade County. Times have changed, not for the better. No sane and selfless man or woman would voluntarily enter the pits of hate, surrounded by enemy cameras, weapons and rebels, subject to unrestrained harassment and assault. It’s difficult enough knowing you are a target for rogue criminals simply because you wear the uniform, protecting the very people who hate you.

No one mentions how police account for the sixth highest rate of suicides among all professions, according to a recent CBS study and behindthebadge.com. In 2018, 159 cops killed themselves, more than the numbers killed in line of duty, according to the Huffington Post. In my career, I personally knew 10 officers who killed themselves.

There’s a lot of stress out there.

Worse times are ahead for law and order, particularly in larger cities. The more breaking of laws

Read full story Comments { 28 }

A BOY WHO MATTERED by Marshall Frank

Announcing the release of my non-fiction book, “A Boy Who Mattered,” Independently published by Frankly Speaking Enterprises through Amazon (KDP).

     In January of this year, my son, Bennett A. Frank, died at the age 58 of from a mixed overdose of three powerful drugs. He had lived a floundering life in and out of dependency, yet he was loved by many including his son, daughter, brother and father. He wasn’t a bad person. He was, simply, a diehard drug addict with a weak constitution.

     While I certainly grieved, like millions before me, I thought it would be worthwhile to share the story of this complicated life with others who are either suffering from powerful addiction, or are emotionally and physically tied to a sufferer. I hope there is something significant that can be learned from Bennett’s struggle by turning a negative into a positive, imparting the highs and lows, struggles and mistakes along the way.  The book is for those who suffer from the disease of addiction, or – equally important — for others in the arena including loved ones, family and friends who struggle as they hopelessly watch a human deteriorate day by day.

     The following paragraph is the

Read full story Comments { 1 }

TRUMP’S CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM SHOWS RESULTS (OpEd)

This OpEd by yours truly appears in the June 24, 2019 issue of Florida Today.

 

Most people are not aware of the First Step Act, signed into law by President Trump in December of 2018. It is a major achievement in improving the criminal justice system, long overdue.

This law seeks to incentivize prison inmates to participate in training programs targeted at increasing opportunities once released. Participation can earn as many as 47 days per year knocked off their sentences. Inmates also earn lighter sentences while ensuring, after release, they will become a productive member of society.

We all want to see criminals pay their debts for committing crimes, particularly violent felonies. No argument there. But imposing extreme sentences on people who will spend 20 to 50 years behind bars does nothing to rehabilitate. Rather, it further reduces opportunities for ex-inmates to become productive citizens.

Some want to see criminals enter prison for decades. But we forget that most of those inmates will be coming out one day, with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Not everyone has family members or friends. Not all have support systems. Many are released without any source of income.

Ricky L. was

Read full story Comments { 15 }

HARD TO JUDGE: PARKLAND SCHOOL OFFICER

 

Op-Ed Published June 13, 2019, in Florida Today

 

Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

That’s one way to sum up an analysis of Broward School Resource Officer Scot Peterson’s behavior, or lack thereof, as to why he did not take appropriate action when a crazed shooter went on a shooting rampage at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, killing 17 kids and adults, and wounding 17 more. After all, taking action was his job.

Peterson, age 56, with a 30-year law enforcement career behind him, has now been charged with 11 counts of criminal misconduct including culpable negligence, perjury and felony child neglect. Upon being arrested and fired from the job, the judge set a modest bond at $39,500. If convicted on all counts, Peterson could conceivably be sentenced to 97 years in prison.

What did he do? Nothing.

That’s the problem. Rather than take action, even if it meant risking his life, he took no action other than communicating on radio. This is a case of someone being charged with a crime for what he didn’t do, not what he did do. Several news reports relate how Peterson walked outside of the building, as multiple gunshots

Read full story Comments { 18 }

WHY I AM AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

Op-Ed published in Florida Today, March 31, 2019.

Marshall Frank, Community columnist

Friends and readers generally tag yours truly as a conservative, though I do view some issues with a liberal lean. Capital punishment is one of those issues.

I’m no bleeding heart. During my 30 years with Miami-Dade Police, 16 working homicides, I was witness to hundreds of premeditated killings, gore, deadly riots and inhumanity of people killing other people. For those who plot and carry out grisly murders, I believe they should receive the harshest of punishments. But not death.

Who decided death to be harsh? Is it harsh when an inmate pleads for a rapid end of life, as did Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing? Is it harsh when we condemn our pets to die by a needle because it’s “humane?” Is eternal sleep a punishment?

The new governor of California recently made news by banning executions for all its 737 death row inmates. In fact, California has not executed an inmate in 13 years.

There are many reasons to halt executions. The top of the list is the fear and probability that even one innocent human being may be, or has been, executed. That probability is

Read full story Comments { 9 }

MISSING FROM TRUMP SOTU SPEECH: MENTAL HEALTH. (Op-Ed)

This Op-Ed by yours truly appears in today’s issue of Florida Today.

President Trump’s recent State of the Union address covered a myriad of topics, all vital toward improving life, liberty and happiness in a world rife with poverty, violence, crime, terror and more. Absent from his to-do list was any mention about government’s role in dealing with the epidemic of serious mental illness.

     We blindly turn our backs to this tragic problem as though it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t make a lot of noise. It gets little attention. There are no protesters or demonstrations. The media doesn’t cover the problems nor do bleeding heart groups. Politicians skirt the topic with a minimum of attention because mental health is not a priority and garners no political steam, left or right. Besides, it’s difficult to quantify. It makes no difference to any political base.

     The medical field does their part in numbing psychotic people with prescription medicines, which only works if the patient 1) does not abuse the drugs, 2) does not sell the drugs or 3) fails to take the drugs. But it does not solve and/or cure the illness. It’s a means of getting by.

     But

Read full story Comments { 26 }