Posted on | April 7, 2013 | 26 Comments
Chandler’s Ghost reminds me of a story I’d really rather forget: The kidnapping and sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl in Northridge, California, by two career criminals who never should have been out on the street. There are layers and layers of horror in this story.
First of all, the girl was kidnapped at knifepoint from her own home in the middle of the night by two complete strangers in what police say was a “hot prowl” burglary that escalated. One of the suspects, Daniel Martinez, is in custody and, evidently, thought he was just going to be driving the getaway car for a burglary. Instead, the other suspect, Tobias Dustin Summers, kidnapped the girl. Martinez wanted no part of that crime, so he split the scene. Summers then took the girl to a nearby abandoned house, where he sexually assaulted her — and took nude photos of her — before the girl was finally dropped off at a shopping center several miles away. Someone spotted her walking barefoot through the parking lot, battered and bruised.
Compounding the harm — as if that weren’t bad enough — consider this: The girl’s mother discovered her missing shortly after she was kidnapped. This chubby redheaded girl’s name and photo were published and broadcast everywhere during the 12 hours when she was missing:
After she went missing, the girl was initially identified by The Times, citing authorities. However, it is the policy of The Times not to identify victims in cases of alleged sexual crimes.
Oops. Now her identity is known to everybody in the community — teachers, classmates, neighbors. At least she is alive, but to understand how badly was she victimized, it is necessary to say only this: Summers has been charged with 36 counts of sexual assault.
And neither Summers nor his accomplice should have been out on the street. Headline from the Los Angeles Times:
Less than a year before this girl was kidnapped, Martinez was convicted of “threats of death or great bodily injury,” which you might think would have kept him locked up a while, considering his previous convictions for burglary, petty theft, grand theft, resisting a police officer and unlawfully entering a property. But no, here he is out on the street within a year, wheelman for his jailbird buddy, Summers:
According [to] court records, Summers has convictions for receiving stolen property, grand theft, possession of an explosive and presenting false identity to police. In 2009, he was convicted of battery. Originally, he was also charged with annoying a child, but it was dismissed.
“Annoying a child”? I’m not exactly sure what that charge describes, but here’s the rancid icing on the rotten cake:
LAPD officials said [Summers] was released from custody in July 2012 under realignment.
“Realignment”? Better brace yourself for this one, folks:
The Cornerstone of California’s Solution
to Reduce Overcrowding, Costs, and Recidivism
In 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill (AB) 109 and AB 117, historic legislation that has helped enable California to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons. It is the cornerstone of California’s solution for reducing the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prison to 137.5 percent of design capacity by June 27, 2013, as ordered by the Three-Judge Court and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
All provisions of AB 109 and AB 117 are prospective and implementation of the 2011 Realignment Legislation began October 1, 2011. No inmates currently in state prison have been or will be transferred to county jails or released early
Ah . . . not so much, eh? What was sold to the public as a beneficial “solution” was, in fact, a quiet surrender to the fact that California is slouching toward bankruptcy and had to cut costs, even if that meant endangering 10-year-old redheaded girls because the state couldn’t afford to keep creeps like Tobias Dustin Summers locked up.
As if that weren’t enough to make you want to scream, there’s just one more tiny detail: Summers got busted on a probation violation in January, but was turned loose within a week. And this was really a matter of policy, as our California friend Chandler’s Ghost points out:
It would be unremarkable if the prisons simply couldn’t afford to hold prisoners, though it would be bad enough. However, in 2011 Governor Jerry Brown signed a sweetheart deal with the corrections officers’ union that gave them unlimited vacation payout upon retirement and extra monthly cash if they got physicals once a year, among other benefits.
What we see here, then, is a government agency unable to perform its basic duties because of the deals that it made with taxpayer-supported labor. Criminals are allowed back into the society that is supposed to be protected by the prison system.
In other words, dangerous career criminals get released from prison early, so that the prison guards can get extra retirement benefits.
I’m sure one little redheaded 10-year-old girl is happy about that.
Tobias Dustin Summers is a fugitive and is now believed to be in Mexico, after he was seen crossing the border at Tecate a few days ago.