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Government

Dallas DA Elevates Social Justice Over the Rule of Law

He announces his office "will not prosecute theft of personal items less than $750."

Arnold Ahlert · Apr. 22, 2019

In Dallas County, District Attorney John Creuzot has decided Social Justice™ should supersede the Rule of Law. “Criminalizing poverty is counter-productive for our community’s health and safety,” states a letter released by Creuzot. “For that reason, this office will not prosecute theft of personal items less than $750 unless the evidence shows that the alleged theft was for economic gain.”

It gets worse. Criminal Trespass also gets a pass because “jail is not a suitable place for the mentally ill and homeless — those most often charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass — whose only crime is not having a place to go.” Driving with a suspended license gets a pass because it’s often about “prosecuting a person for being too poor to pay off their fines and fees.”

Several drug-related charges will be similarly ignored, probation periods will be reduced with no jail time for “technical” violations, and bail will be replaced by “presumption of release” in most cases. Where bail becomes necessary, it “should never be requested by a prosecutor unless there has first been an ability-to-pay determination, and then the amount requested should be based on what a person can afford.”

Creuzot’s rationale for trampling equal protection under the law with class-based exemptions? “The question is, if we put them in jail, are they going to pay restitution? You know what the answer is: No,” Creuzot insists. “So we’ve burned up taxpayer money for a hungry person or a needy person under this fake premise that we’re going to get the money back. And it doesn’t happen.”

How about the real premise that crime requires punishment, not only for justice to be done but to deter more crime?

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata illuminates the utter nonsense in play here. “I take great offense to saying that poor people just go out and steal,” Mata stated. “The people that will take advantage of this are the criminal element who will steal, steal, steal from every business until somebody tells them it’s not OK to do it.”

Sheldon Smith, a Dallas Police Department sergeant and president of the National Black Police Association Dallas chapter believes the transparently obvious reality that mom-and-pop stores will become targets for those who know they can game the system with impunity. “And so the little store owner, he has no chance of staying in business,” he asserts. And why would they? And who’s hurt in the end? The community’s hurt.“

Business owner Cody Ellison, who has three shops in Dallas’s Bishop Arts District, is potentially on the receiving end of this agenda. "To have the thought of someone being able to come in and steal $750 from us and there be no consequence is unfathomable to me,” Ellison stated. “They say essentials. For us, essentials are clothing. People have to have clothing.”

April Gonzales, who owns a medical-clothing store was equally blunt. “The first thing that came to mind is like, great, now Dallas County is going to be a free-for-all.”

Gonzales knows what she’s talking about. Her business has been hit by both shoplifters and armed robbers so many times that she has multiple security cameras in her shop and a handgun for personal protection.

Apparently some of the blowback led Creuzot to “clarify” his policy. “Maybe I should say consumption items,” he said. “Maybe we should have put that word in there. We’re talking about food and formula that people need to live. Maybe I didn’t put enough words in when I said personal items. Maybe I should have said personal consumption items.”

Maybe Creuzot should make an official list of which “personal consumption items” are permissible to steal. Or publish an income threshold below which the presumption of need — and the right to steal — becomes automatic.

Maybe Creuzot should also explain why the state’s welfare programs are an insufficient deterrent to lawlessness, or how repeat offenders can be determined by a policy that will undoubtedly engender non-arrests by cops knowing such efforts will be in vain, allowing those repeat offenders to avoid building a criminal record.

Yet cluelessness persists. Jason Roberts, owner of AJ Vagabonds in the same Bishop Arts district, support the DA’s policy. “I would hate to have the worst thing you’ve done be the flag for who you are as a human being for the rest of your life,” he declared.

How Roberts knows what the “worst thing” a particular individual has done is anyone’s guess. Perhaps he and other supporters of this policy could reveal how many thefts they’re willing to tolerate for the “greater good” of preserving the “dignity” of a thief.

Ellison sees the writing on the lawless wall. “People are going to become more and more confident with stealing, opening a floodgate for more and more theft in the future,” he said. “If it grows, there will be no more small business owners.”

Mata also sees the downside with regard to shop owners who refuse to abide such insanity. “Either that shop owner is going to have to take matters in his own hands, or he’s going to have to let $600 worth of merchandise walk out of his store,” Mata said. “And so that might force him to get engaged into an altercation that he shouldn’t.”

Would Creuzot prosecute the shop owner to the fullest extent of the law?

Not every law-enforcement official is on board. DeSoto Police Chief Joseph Costa stated his office would not comply with policies that don’t accord with state law. He further warned the DeSoto Municipal Court would take cases Creuzot rejects to “keep the city of DeSoto safe and secure.”

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott also hammered Creuzot’s policy, stating the Attorney General was embracing “wealth redistribution by theft.” When a tweet countered Abbott’s assertion, he doubled-down. “You and others reveal that STEALING is ok when people want things. … That’s socialism,” Abbott stated, adding that Texas offers government programs to help the poor.

Socialism? Anarchy is more like it, and if Abbott is truly concerned, he should make every legal effort possible to remove Creuzot.

In the meantime, the DA remains unbowed. “It doesn’t make sense to clog up our jails with people who are not a danger to society,” Creuzot said in a written statement. “We need to focus on criminals who are a threat to our communities and individuals who commit thefts for economic gain.”

No, what doesn’t make sense is deliberately and very publicly turning a blind eye to law-breaking because it doesn’t align with a bankrupt “progressive” worldview. One in which the words “victim” and “perpetrator” are interchangeable, as long as “need” is part of the equation.

If Creuzot wants to change Texas state law, “then he can run for a legislative office and change it in Austin for the whole greater good of the state of Texas,” Mata explains. “I think you get on a very, very slippery slope when you start to legislate from the bench.”

Slippery Slope? A Marxist-inspired cliff is more like it. One where each business owner “gives” according to his ability, to each perpetrator, according to his “needs.”

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