William Carter and Wanda Jordan-Carter said they are worried about top Pennsylvania and Philadelphia court officials’ decision to drop criminal charges against approximately 19,400 defendants who skipped court years ago.
Jordan-Carter, 48, said “some people could be innocent,” but others could end up repeating the offenses that brought them the criminal charges in the first place.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in a Nov. 12 article that Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, a former Philadelphia district attorney, said these more than 19,000 defendants were “clogging up the system.”
“You’re never going to find these people,” Castille told the Inquirer. “And if you do, are you going to prosecute them? The answer is no.”
Carter, 47, said officials need to look at the bigger picture.
“They need to evaluate the whole criminal justice system,” he said. “If it’s congested, there’s a real problem.”
He said city officials should find ways to create more jobs, which he said is a possible solution to some of the 19,000 criminal charges.
“Everyone focuses on locking people up,” he added. “I bet that about 90 percent of the people who committed those crimes were trying to get money at some point.”
Some of the criminal cases and fugitive bench warrants canceled include accused burglars, drug dealers, drunk drivers, thieves, prostitutes and sex offenders.
Jordan-Carter said she was upset about officials letting accused sex offenders off the hook.
“Some off them do it for the kicks,” she said. “We need to lock them up and throw away the key.”
Josh Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.