On Crime, Liberals Still Don’t Get It

Across the country, Americans are up in arms about spiraling crime rates. Minnesota is one state that has been hit with an explosion of criminal activity in the wake of the George Floyd riots and the attacks on law enforcement that followed. You might think that even liberal politicians would understand that voters want them to get tough on crime, but in my state at least, you would be wrong.

Out of the public eye–where leftists usually like to operate–Minnesota’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission is considering a proposed revision to the state’s guidelines that would change the way in which convicted criminals are sentenced. Eight of the eleven commissioners have been appointed by Minnesota’s far-left governor, Tim Walz. So, is sentencing going to be toughened? Of course not! The proposal is to make Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, already absurdly permissive, even more liberal.

My colleague Bill Walsh explains:

The presumptive sentences are displayed in a grid that is used by judges to determine the appropriate sentence once someone is convicted of a felony. The y-axis on the grid refers to the severity level of the crime, from low-level assault (1) all the way to murder (11). The x-axis refers to the criminal history score of the perpetrator.

You can follow the link to see the grid.

On Dec. 16, 2021, the Sentencing Guidelines Commission will vote on a proposal to eliminate custody status points from consideration for felony sentences. The commission believes criminals should not be given stronger sentences if they commit more crimes while on probation or parole, or even if they’ve escaped custody. That will mean lower sentences for criminals who commit murder, rape, assault, robbery and felony DWI!

This proposed change would lower presumptive sentences for convicted felons in all categories, with sex criminals getting a special break:

Worse yet, sex offenders currently receive double points for their custody status, so eliminating this part of the grid will disproportionally benefit the worst criminals in our system.

You are probably wondering: who could be so out of touch as to propose such measures in the midst of a crime epidemic? The answer is, Governor Tim Walz and the commissioners he has appointed. They are pushing this initiative, and have the votes to enact it over the objections of judges and other more sensible members of the Commission.

Walz appointee Tonya Honsey describes herself as “a revolutionary mother, a truth-teller, a survivor of incarceration and a community healer.” Her position on the Commission is that the interests of convicted felons should be given priority over the interests of victims and the general public, lest felons by “re-traumatized”–her term–by incarceration. “Public safety needs to include everyone,” the Walz appointee says, and that means convicted criminals.

Honsey is an extreme left-winger, and also a fraud–Minnesota’s Elizabeth Warren. She made her career by passing herself off as Native American, which she is not:

After Honsey introduced herself as an “Indigenous Woman from Turtle Island” at the 2018 National Council for Incarcerated Women and Girls in Tulsa, Oklahoma, organizers began to question the authenticity of her claims. Eventually Honsey admitted she lied about her ancestry, having grown up in a typical Minnesota middle class white family.

This admission started a chain reaction of public repudiations from several groups, starting with her employer, the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which promptly fired her as Executive Director. A nonprofit Honsey actually founded, We Rise! disbanded. The American Indian Prison Project also put out a statement repudiating Honsey.

If the Minnesota Freedom Fund doesn’t ring a bell, this is the group that was promoted by Kamala Harris; it bailed out Minnesota felons and returned them to the streets. They gave Honsey the boot, but Tim Walz appointed her to the Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

It is an understatement to say that this is a clown show. It is also typical of left-wing governance. Minnesota’s governor appoints fellow leftists to important positions and then tries to disclaim responsibility for their actions.

Hardly anyone would have known what was going on in the Commission had my organization not publicized the proposed weakening of sentencing guidelines. The St. Paul Pioneer Press was moved to do a story on the Commission’s pro-criminal orientation. The Pioneer Press asked Governor Walz to comment on the Commission’s actions. This is the response they got; note that the link goes to a web archive:

A spokesperson for Gov. Tim Walz said he had no comment on the matter as the governor appoints hundreds of officials to state boards and he is removed from the decision.

Way to take responsibility for your administration, Tim! Walz’s office realized that his disclaimer didn’t look good, so they called the Pioneer Press and demanded that it be removed from the article. The newspaper complied.

This is the depth of corruption to which Blue America has sunk. But the battle is not yet lost. The Sentencing Guidelines Commission will meet on Thursday for a final vote on the proposed weakening of the guidelines. Via this site, my organization has enabled thousands of Minnesotans to express their opposition to the Walz proposal. We need just one Walz-appointed commissioner to change his or her vote for the proposition to fail.

But as always, the ultimate accountability is at the ballot box. Tim Walz is up for re-election in 2022. If you live in Minnesota and are in favor of more crime, especially more rapes and other sex crimes, Walz is your man.

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