SB 220 A Wrongheaded Assault On Victims’ Rights

As someone who considers himself a conservative, but is also an elected Republican official, there are basic principles that a Republican, and the party itself, should adhere to.  One is following the documents that set forth the rules of government, being U.S. and State Constitutions.  Another basic principle is that those who cause physical, violent harm upon innocent human beings should be punished, and should serve their time in jail as given by their trial.

Certainly over the past few years, Republican State Senator Danny Martiny, from Kenner, has failed on both accounts.

In 2009, he voted multiple times for an unconstitutional income tax increase.  Sen. Martiny apparently did not care that said tax increase had originated in the Senate, a violation of the State Constitution, as all tax increases must originate in the House.

Last year and this year, he is failing tough on violent crime principles and failing victims of those crimes.

In the 2010 Regular Session, Sen. Martiny authored and pushed two bills that were clear assaults on victims’ rights in the State of Louisiana. These bills would have provided for parole eligibility to criminals who had been convicted of some of the worst violent crimes in our state, including murder.

Many of us fought back, contacting our State Senators, even though we were told that supposedly the votes were there to pass SB 494 out of the Senate.  The result, Sen. Martiny’s irresponsible bill was slammed down 10-25, with Democrat defense attorney Sen. Elbert Guillory leading the charge and giving an excellent speech against the legislation.

This sound defeat resulted in the other bad parole bill by Martiny that session, SB 621, to be amendment to include only non-violent offenders, but even that bill would not advance out of the Senate.

Even after that defeat last year, it appears Senator Martiny is still hell-bent on getting convicted, violent criminals paroled and out of jail, early, even if their sentence does not allow for such parole.

SB 220 this year would allow for parole eligibility of criminals who were sentenced to 30 years or more, with or without benefit of parole, who are at least 45 years old and have served at least 10 years. That amounts to 1/3 or less of their sentence.

The legislation dictates that the sentence must be a fixed number of years, therefore, would not include those convicted of the 4 Capitol Crimes (1st Degree Murder, 2nd Degree Murder, Aggravated Rape and Aggravated Kidnapping).   The bill also does not include those convicted of armed robbery.

However, convictions of all other Crimes of Violence are on the table, including assault in a police officer with a deadly weapon, assault by drive-by shooting, forcible rape, trafficking of children for sexual purposes, amongst others.  No exceptions made for the crime of attempted murder.  SB 220 also does not make exceptions if one is a repeat violent offender either.

Now, I understand there has been a movement recently to quickly treat and release non-violent offenders.  I have no problem with doing that to ease the state burden, not to mention, keeping jail cells open for those who deserve to remain.

But Senator Danny Martiny has show that he is not interested in limiting these parole bills to just our non-violent offenders.  He now has a history authoring and pushing bills to provide for the early parole of violent offenders, some who have committed the most horrible of crimes against their victims.

The word is that he may very well have the votes to get SB 220 out of the Senate next week.  Of course, we were told the same about SB 494 last year, and the PEOPLE stood up, contacted their Senators, and preserved victims’ rights once again in Louisiana.

The same can be accomplished this year.  SB 220 is scheduled to be debated and voted on in the full Senate THIS TUESDAY.  Therefore, please take time out of this Memorial Day Weekend to e-mail your State Senator, and ask him/her to vote NO on SB 220.

You can find his/her email address here:  http://senate.legis.state.la.us/senators/

Once again, it is time of conservatives, and all people in Louisiana who want to preserve the right of victims to receive justice against their assailants, and keep them in prison to serve their sentence, to stand up against State Senator Danny Martiny and what is an apparent agenda to pander to the movement of being soft on violent crimes.

And from a political party perspective, I find it an absolute shame that such legislation is being authored and pushed by a REPUBLICAN State Senator in a state as conservative as Louisiana.

Nick Bouterie

Alderman – Town of Iota

[email protected]



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