Cogitating…

In Santa Cruz County, a couple of parolees made the local news. I’ll call them John and Juan. They’re both about 40 years old. They’re both abiding by at least a portion of their parole terms by staying drug free.

John is apparently turning his life around. He’s an honor student at the local community college. He’s made friends. He drives a car.

Juan flips burgers. He can’t afford a car and rides a bicycle. He’s also dating a 17 year old girl, which is more than mildly icky in my book.

John and Juan apparently ‘exchanged words’ when John allegedly assaulted Juan by swerving his car into Juan’s bicycle in the road. Juan reported this assault to the police, and John is now at San Quentin awaiting a hearing to determine his status as a parolee.

The community has shown an outpouring of support for John. His classmates, friends and family have written letters to the parole board and have encouraged other residents to do the same. One local paper has editorialized that because Juan was not injured, John shouldn’t be thrown back into prison. After all, John is an upstanding citizen who drives a car and is turning his life around, while Juan is a low life who rides a bike and is probably a child molester besides.

If John threatened Juan with a loaded handgun, there would be no question about John’s parole status. But because John’s weapon is “just” a car, there’s no harm, no foul, and John should be let go. And besides, the local attorney has declined to prosecute because he doesn’t believe there’s enough evidence to guarantee a guilty verdict.

What do you think? Should John have another chance?

More –> Release denied.

19 Comments

  • Duncan Watson
    October 8, 2009 - 5:56 pm | Permalink

    On one hand, a car is a weapon. I am tired of such occurrences happening to me (swerving, yelling, throwing). OTOH I want to encourage someone who is trying to get out of a hole.In this case I err on the side of helping the guy out of the hole but I cringe what it does for the cause of free roads.

  • Duncan Watson
    October 8, 2009 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    On one hand, a car is a weapon. I am tired of such occurrences happening to me (swerving, yelling, throwing). OTOH I want to encourage someone who is trying to get out of a hole.

    In this case I err on the side of helping the guy out of the hole but I cringe what it does for the cause of free roads.

  • jasonk
    October 8, 2009 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Duncan. You want this guy to have a shot at turning his life around. But man, he's got to get a grip on his anger. And how smart can he really be, if he only has two months left on parole, and he pulls a stunt like this?The petition means nothing to me. Heck, I can get three hundred signatures on a petition to end women's suffrage, because people are stupid (everybody but me. and you).

  • jasonk
    October 8, 2009 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Duncan. You want this guy to have a shot at turning his life around. But man, he's got to get a grip on his anger. And how smart can he really be, if he only has two months left on parole, and he pulls a stunt like this?
    The petition means nothing to me. Heck, I can get three hundred signatures on a petition to end women's suffrage, because people are stupid (everybody but me. and you).

  • Ron
    October 8, 2009 - 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Howdy–Throw away the key. His life circumstances are about as relevant as how many Oscars Roman Polanski has earned. Just as you don't want to give movie directors cart eblanche to have their way with your 13-year-old daughters, you don't want to give drivers a pass if they decide to play chicken with other road users.Happy Trails,Ron Georg

  • Ron
    October 8, 2009 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Howdy–

    Throw away the key. His life circumstances are about as relevant as how many Oscars Roman Polanski has earned.

    Just as you don't want to give movie directors cart eblanche to have their way with your 13-year-old daughters, you don't want to give drivers a pass if they decide to play chicken with other road users.
    Happy Trails,
    Ron Georg

  • clever-title
    October 8, 2009 - 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Sure, maybe he shouldn't go back to prison (I'm not too convinced of the rehabilitive effect of cramming people into cells), but how about suspending his license, and requiring him to attend anger management class?

  • clever-title
    October 8, 2009 - 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Sure, maybe he shouldn't go back to prison (I'm not too convinced of the rehabilitive effect of cramming people into cells), but how about suspending his license, and requiring him to attend anger management class?

  • murphstahoe
    October 9, 2009 - 6:19 am | Permalink

    but how about suspending his licenseHe broke parole, which is a lot harder to do than driving on a suspended license.

  • murphstahoe
    October 8, 2009 - 11:19 pm | Permalink

    but how about suspending his license

    He broke parole, which is a lot harder to do than driving on a suspended license.

  • Yokota Fritz
    October 9, 2009 - 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I like that a couple have suggested a middle path — not the slammer, but not total unhindered freedom either.

  • Yokota Fritz
    October 9, 2009 - 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I like that a couple have suggested a middle path — not the slammer, but not total unhindered freedom either.

  • Yokota Fritz
    October 9, 2009 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    I like that a couple have suggested a middle path — not the slammer, but not total unhindered freedom either.

  • Erik Orgell
    October 10, 2009 - 6:46 am | Permalink

    Anybody that uses a car as a weapon is not someone I want on the road. That he was a parolee with just a short time left on his parole tells me he's kind of an idiot. Yes, he was turning his life around but then he turned his car into a weapon and tried to kill someone with it. Sorry but I think he should go back to prison. Nobody made him swerve into the cyclist, he did it of his own stupid free will.

  • Erik Orgell
    October 10, 2009 - 6:46 am | Permalink

    Anybody that uses a car as a weapon is not someone I want on the road. That he was a parolee with just a short time left on his parole tells me he's kind of an idiot. Yes, he was turning his life around but then he turned his car into a weapon and tried to kill someone with it. Sorry but I think he should go back to prison. Nobody made him swerve into the cyclist, he did it of his own stupid free will.

  • Erik Orgell
    October 9, 2009 - 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Anybody that uses a car as a weapon is not someone I want on the road. That he was a parolee with just a short time left on his parole tells me he's kind of an idiot.

    Yes, he was turning his life around but then he turned his car into a weapon and tried to kill someone with it. Sorry but I think he should go back to prison. Nobody made him swerve into the cyclist, he did it of his own stupid free will.

  • bikesgonewild
    October 10, 2009 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    …whereas w/ the average joe, in that situation might have his license suspended & then utilize public transportation, make it a term of his parole that he has to ride a bike (w/in reason) so that he gets the full effect of being exposed & vulnerable……plus cycling related community service…

  • bikesgonewild
    October 10, 2009 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    …whereas w/ the average joe, in that situation might have his license suspended & then utilize public transportation, make it a term of his parole that he has to ride a bike (w/in reason) so that he gets the full effect of being exposed & vulnerable……plus cycling related community service…

  • bikesgonewild
    October 10, 2009 - 4:20 am | Permalink

    …whereas w/ the average joe, in that situation might have his license suspended & then utilize public transportation, make it a term of his parole that he has to ride a bike (w/in reason) so that he gets the full effect of being exposed & vulnerable…
    …plus cycling related community service…

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