What to do with habitual offenders?

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 12, 2014

What should the country do with habitual offenders?

Time and again suspects are convicted of crimes, serve time and are released only to reoffend.

One specific case is that of Scooter Robinson.

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Robinson was arrested in 2009 after he escaped from the local hospital while in the custody of the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department.

The day of his escape he had been taken to the hospital for medical care, but instead of going back to the county jail peacefully, he jumped into his girlfriend’s car parked outside and fled.

A high-speed chase ensued from Picayune all the way to Hancock County where Robinson was eventually captured. As officers attempted to subdue his vehicle and take him into custody by pulling him from the vehicle, Robinson grabbed the officer’s arm, punched the gas and drove off with the officer in tow.

Robinson was eventually taken into custody after his bullet ridden vehicle ceased to function. He was convicted of a number of charges, including aggravated assault on a police officer, for which he received two life sentences.

What stands out about this case, besides the fact he attempted to harm a law officer, is that prior to this incident Robinson had been convicted of six previous crimes; assault, burglary, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, possession of precursor chemicals and felony fleeing.

So, finally after six prior convictions and assault on an officer Robinson has finally received a sentence that ensures he will no longer be a threat to society. Even so, he attempted to appeal his conviction on the grounds that he was sentenced in front of a jury.

This week the state Court of Appeals upheld his conviction. Even though the court denied his appeal, this entire case shows that changes to the judicial system might be beneficial.