Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In W.Va., Crime Really Does Pay

Today's Charleston Daily Mail had an excellent editorial (unfortunately, they only publish articles from the last 14 days online) condemning the $50,000 verdict recently returned by a Kanawha County jury in favor of Mark Allen Harris--murderer, jail escapee, former star of America's Most Wanted, and child molester--because the state was somehow negligent in an incident in which Harris fell out of the back of a paddy wagon.

The award included $30,000 for mental and physical pain and suffering; $10,000 for annoyance and inconvenience, and $10,000 for loss of enjoyment of life. How does a convict serving a life sentence for a sexually violent offense committed while he was on parole for murder and escape lose enjoyment of life?

Let's review this man's rap sheet: murder, jailbreak, got paroled at the first possible opportunity, raped a 12-year old three years after getting paroled, then this little incident en route from the jail to the courthouse. In the process, Harris landed an appearance on America's Most Wanted while he was at large. It's just too bad the jury in this civil case didn't get to hear why he was in that paddy wagon to begin with.

How did a convicted murderer who escaped from jail get paroled? And why does our Legislature continue refusing to strengthen this state's sex offender and Three Strikes laws to protect law-abiding citizens from the most serious criminals out there?

Also, check out Hoppy's commentary on this issue and Don Surber's comments.