St. Louis Police Chief renews call for special gun court - KMOV.com

St. Louis Police Chief renews call for special gun court

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson renewed his call to create a special gun court in the city that he believes would bring about harsher punishments to those convicted of gun crimes.

Dotson and others and others say the court is needed to prevent murders by those who have committed crimes with a gun before but are given probation. Dotson cited the example of 22-year-old Rashad Edwards, who is accused of killing a man in north St. Louis. Edwards was previously arrested on a weapons charge, but was only given probation.

“That probation did have impact on him, it did not change his life. There were not life changing consequences to change his behavior. He rode the system when he was 17, now he’s 22 and charged with murder,” Dotson said.

Police also released surveillance video of Edwards and another man. The other man is still at large.

A spokesman for the St. Louis Circuit Court issued the following statement about the proposed gun court:

The issue of an “armed offender docket” was resolved two years ago when the Court studied and debated the proposal at length and rejected it for constitutional and practical reasons.  As a get-tough-on-crime slogan, it sounds great.  In practice, however, it is simply an unconstitutional punishment court.  Judges must consider many factors when they sentence people.  Their decision is always difficult and is always carried out on the record in open court—never anonymously, as suggested by proponents of armed offender docket.  Crime-fighting ideas that sound good but are unconstitutional are actually bad ideas.

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