By Doug Wyllie
In January 2002, members of the Roman Catholic Church were shaken to their core at reports of unthinkable—even unforgivable—sins committed by one of their own. Father John Joseph “Jack” Geoghan—a clergyman within the Archdiocese of Boston—was accused of sexually abusing scores children over three decades, with allegations dating back to the 1960s.
According to the Boston Globe, more than 130 individuals had come forward to report terrible assaults on children—at most, elementary-school-age at the time of their victimization—while the Archdiocese transferred the aggressor from one parish to another in an effort to cover up his transgressions. Geoghan was ultimately arrested, prosecuted, convicted, defrocked, and sent to prison. He was murdered by a fellow inmate a year into his 10-year stint.
In February 2003, surgeons at Duke University Hospital performed a heart and lung transplant on 17 year-old Jésica Santillán. They were confounded when her body went suddenly into shock almost immediately after the procedure was completed. Jesica suffered severe brain damage, slipped into a coma-like state, and was pronounced dead two weeks later.
According to the New York Times, the patient received organs of the wrong blood type because the surgeon—and, in fact, every single other hospital staffer involved in Jessica’s “care”—failed to confirm that the donor and the recipient were the same blood type.
In July 2013, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was making a standard approach for landing on Runway 28L at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). On this sunny, cloudless afternoon, three people died and another 187 were injured—49 of them seriously—in the first fatal crash of that aircraft type since it entered service in 1995.
According to KRON-TV News, the pilots of the Boeing 777 flew their visual approach too low over the southern threshold of the airport, clipped a seawall at the end of the runway, and sent the aircraft tumbling into a fiery, skidding slide off the pavement and into a parallel culvert.
In all those cases, errors in judgement, inattentiveness to detail, and/or blatant incompetence led to a tragic result. Those events left countless people suffering, grieving, or dead.
Just as there are priests who shouldn’t be priests, physicians who shouldn’t be physicians, and pilots who shouldn’t be pilots, there are members of parole boards who shouldn’t be members of parole boards. In fact, there are whole parole boards that are so completely, totally, and universally inept, the entire body should be dismantled and begun again anew.
New York State has such a parole board.
Dangerous Business and Reckless Calculus
In March 1986, Officer James Holmes of the New York City Housing Authority Police Department had been visiting the home of a friend in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn when a 21-year-old robbery suspect knocked him unconscious, stole Holmes’ gun, fled the scene, and then returned to shoot his victim to death. Holmes had served his police agency for 17 years, and at the time of his death left behind his wife and four children.
In mid-September of this year, Alexander Evans—now a 57-year-old man—was released from Otisville Correctional Facility in Orange County, New York. Evans had been sentenced to 32 years to life after being convicted of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He is now out on parole. It merits mention that Evans was on parole when he killed Officer Holmes in 1986.
According to the New York Post, Evans is the 37th cop killer to be granted release by the New York State Parole Board since 2017—the year the legislature passed and the governor signed into law a revision to “rules” that “govern” how the 17-member board makes “decisions” on such matters.
We’ll get into the substance of that legislation momentarily, but first, let’s do some math.
We’ve got 37 total parolee cop killers in six years. Six years is 72 months, right? Okay. Seventy-two divided by 37 is 1.945945945… Nobody likes numerals with nine decimal places, so we’ll just rough that cumbersome number “up” to an even two.
That means that once every other months, the penal system in the Empire State unleashes into the general public a person who has demonstrated a willingness to murder an armed, trained, professional public servant sworn to protect society’s innocents.
It should go without saying—but we’ll say it anyway—that it is dangerous business to allow even one convicted murder out on parole. It also goes without saying that allowing even one cop killer out on parole is beyond dangerous—it’s careless and reckless.
Now multiply that by 37.
Well-Intentioned Legislation and Unsupported Speculation
As noted above, in 2017 New York lawmakers made some significant changes to the way in which the Parole Board calculates their decisions on releasing certain offenders—particularly incarcerated individuals who were/are 55 years of age (or older) who have served 15 years or more of their prison sentence.
Under what has been dubbed the “Elder Parole Law”—or Chapter 139 of the Laws of 2017—the Parole Board now operates on the assumption that aging and elderly individuals who have been in prison for an extended period are less likely to pose a significant risk to public safety.
We address numbers and data and statistics as objectively as is humanly possible, so it’s important to note that—according to DOJ analytics of prisoners released in 34 states over a five year period from 2012-2017—offenders who have been convicted of murder and served a lengthy prison term have a lower propensity to reoffend than other recidivists.
“Eighty-one percent of prisoners age 24 or younger at release in 2012 were arrested within 5 years of release, compared to 74% of those ages 25 to 39 and 61% of those age [sic] 40 or older,” the DOJ report said.
However, civilized society should expect—indeed, demand—permanent protection against any individual who has demonstrated their willingness to:
- abscond a crime scene at which they left an innocent victim beaten and barely conscious,
- return to said crime scene to assassinate that victim with multiple gunshot wounds, and
- once again flee the crime scene… only to be brought to justice some time later.
Such behavior is entirely, inherently, and irredeemably evil.
Top that off with the fact that the victim was a law enforcement officer, and you’ve got another, even more extreme form of evil.
Statistics may support an assertion that an “old guy” recently released from a long stint behind bars may hesitate to commit any act that lands him back in the slammer for his remaining—and rapidly diminishing—days on Earth. However, any speculation that evil diminishes with age is unsupported by facts.
Evil closely mimics the scientific definition matter—it can be neither created nor destroyed.
Evils simply exists.
This brings us right back to the abovementioned New York State Parole Board.
Recognizing Responsibility and Reckoning with Evil
It’s important to recognize those individuals who are responsible for granting freedom to the likes of Alexander Evans (and three dozen other cop killers) in the span of just six years.
Members of the New York State Parole Board are appointed by the Governor of New York. They serve on the board for a six-year term, or as long as the governor who appointed them remains in office and chooses to retain them in their positions. After their initial six-year term, they may be either relieved of duty or reappointed when a new governor is voted into office.
So, in essence, the New York Parole Board is two degrees of separation from the voters’ choice at the ballot box. Said differently, the voters are two degrees of separation from voting to free cop killers.
All current members of the Parole Board—Tana Agostini, Erik Berliner, Marc Coppola, Michael Corley, Joseph Crangle, Otis Cruse, Charles Davis, Caryne Demosthenes, Tyece Drake, Chanwoo Lee, Carlton Mitchell, Sheila Samuels, Elsie Segarra, and Darryl Towns—were appointed by either Kathy Hochul, her immediate predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, or David Paterson.
In fairness, each of those 20 people isn’t necessarily evil. Nor are the voters who put them into those elected and appointed positions. However, the release of 37 cop killers out onto the world IS evil.
Evil must be reckoned with—while it cannot be destroyed it can be and must be mitigated and minimized to every possible extent—and that process starts with a vote.