(KMOV.com) – Three months after the St. Louis courts began to fast track gun possession cases, judges state that more than 70 percent of backlogged cases on the docket have been disposed, but there are some people unhappy with the punishments.
Most of the cases have ended with a guilty plea, with around 60 percent being let off on probation.
“People are doing thing and not thinking,” said Deandra Rounds, mother of a gun violence victim, “They’re just going to go out and do it and it’s their first offense, so it’s no big deal, because they’re showing us it’s no big deal.”
Rounds lost her 16-year-old son Chauncey Brown to gun violence last September. Brown was found face down with a gunshot wound to his chest in a backyard in north St. Louis. Rounds believes slapping even first time gun possession offenders with harsher punishments will deter criminals and save other families form the grief she’s felt.
The gun possession cases aren’t placed into a separate court or even on a separate docket. They remain in line with all of the other cases, but are given a higher priority.
Judge Hettenbach told News 4 most first time offenders never see jail time, but are instead placed on probation as each case is looked at individually.
“Law enforcement is perfectly free to advocate for greater punishment and that’s their job,” said Hettenbach, “But somebody in the system has to serve as a constitutional firewall.”