Editorial: Another crime, some more time isn’t cutting itPublished 10:32pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012
A 53-year-old Niles man, Brian Shepardson, received the 49th notch in his criminal record and two years in prison last week in Cass County Circuit Court.
What is mind-boggling is that this felon — although sentenced fairly for this crime, stealing tools from an auto shop — was still living as a free man until last week. Shepardson is a career criminal, and should be treated that way. Rehabilitation is unlikely after 49 convictions. Another stint in prison is just a Band-Aid for the broken judicial system.
Sadly, there are far too many criminals like Shepardson living freely.
Dowagiac resident Christopher Beebe, 50, was sentenced last month to a year in jail and three years probation for his eighth drunken driving offense. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.25 — three times the legal limit.
In what was one of the worst drunken driving records Cass County Judge Michael Dodge had ever seen, Hesperia resident John Tufts was also sentenced to two years in prison for his eighth drunken driving offense in December.
Edwardsburg’s Kevin Degraff, 45, logged his 18th criminal conviction after nearly hitting another vehicle while driving with a 0.24 BAC level. He has been sentenced for drunken driving incidents in every county in this area.
People like these are driving on our streets. They are living in our neighborhoods. They are working in our businesses. When they get out of prison after their short sentences, they are at high-risk to offend again. Probations will be violated. They will drive regardless of whether they possess a license.
This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.