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Sacramento’s sheriff is blasting the recent gang shootout that killed six people and injured dozens more as an “entirely predictable” result of soft-on-crime legal policies “treating criminals like victims.”
Seething Sheriff Scott Jones noted in an interview with Fox News Digital that one of the suspects charged with having a machine gun in the recent carnage was free to roam the streets because he’d just been released from prison after serving less than half of a 10-year assault sentence.
Repeat offender Smiley Martin, 27, was freed in February even despite objections from local prosecutors who warned that he “clearly has little regard for human life and the law.”
Jones told Fox News Digital, “The best predictor of future behavior is past conduct, and violent people, they’re going to be violent when they get out, and that’s what we’ve seen here.
“Every crime has a victim, and these victims are racking up,” he said, “sometimes catastrophically” as with the April 3 bloodbath.
“This is the latest, but it unfortunately won’t be the last,” Jones said. “Because if we don’t change the way California and the rest of this nation treats criminals … then this is only going to be a continuing trend.”
The California sheriff blamed such cases on the eradication of tough-on-crime policies that he insisted were a victim of their own success.
“In the late 80s and early 90s … violent crime in California and across the country was so bad that it gave rise to things … to really address the out-of-control violence that was occurring,” he said, referring to measures that included harsher penalties for repeat offenders.
The drop in violent crime proved the moves worked, Jones said.
“But people have a short memory, and they say, ‘Well, since we aren’t as violent anymore, we don’t need these things,’ without realizing the cause and effect, that these things actually reduce violent crime,” Jones said.
“As we chisel away at these things … as we let people out of jail, as we start treating criminals like victims and victims like criminals — it’s entirely predictable what is going to happen,” he said.
“And we’re seeing it play out.”
“It is increasingly clear that gang violence is at the center of this tragedy,” the force said in an update Wednesday.
Martin was among the 12 people wounded in the shootout, getting arrested in his hospital bed Tuesday on suspicion of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun.
His 26-year-old brother, Dandrae Martin — who said in a social media clip that he’d been “hit” — was also arrested and charged with weapon offenses.
No one has yet been charged with homicide in the shooting.
Smiley Martin typically would not have been out on the street to allegedly unleash some of the deadly mayhem that day.
He would have been behind bars until at least May after serving a minimum of half his time for his previous arrest in 2017 for viciously beating up his girlfriend, whom he allegedly pushed into prostitution.
After punching her, he dragged her from her home by her hair and whipped her with a belt, court and prison records show.
But those crimes count as nonviolent offenses under California law, which considers only about two dozen crimes to be violent felonies, including murder, rape, arson and kidnapping.
The law allowed him to be freed early thanks to sentencing credits through Proposition 57, the 2016 ballot measure that aimed to give most of the state’s felons a chance at earlier release.
Martin had initially been denied parole in the case in May 2021, after the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office objected, highlighting his lengthy rap sheet and disregard “for human life and the law.”
Previously, Martin was caught in January 2013, six months after he had turned 18, with an assault rifle and two fully loaded 25-bullet magazines, prosecutors said.
Months later, he pushed aside a Walmart clerk to steal computers worth $2,800, they said. In 2016, he was arrested as a parolee at large. And less than six months after that was the assault that sent him back to prison.
After assaulting his girlfriend, Martin pleaded no contest and was sent to prison on charges of corporal injury and assault likely to cause great bodily injury in January 2018.
Even that was under a plea deal in which prosecutors dismissed charges of kidnapping — considered a violent felony — and intimidating a witness or victim.
Martin was released to the supervision of the Sacramento County Probation Department in February. County probation officials wouldn’t provide the terms, saying their records are not public documents.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, a progressive Democrat who formerly led the state Senate, was among those upset when he learned of Martin’s record.
“If people have a history of committing violent acts and they have not shown a propensity or willingness to change, I don’t think they should be out on the streets,” he said.
With Post Wires