Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Brizzi Scores One Against Kennedy

Prosecutor Carl Brizzi scored a big hit this week when he called attention to a proposal by Democratic candidate Melina Kennedy to reward amnesty to gang members who voluntarily renounce membership in their gangs. Kennedy, who has launched repeated attacks against Brizzi for being weak on prosecution, found herself in a difficult position to defend. As the Star's Matt Tully explains:

In a race where both candidates are obsessed with being seen as "tough," Brizzi couldn't have asked for more.

"These are not the types of criminals we need to give second and third chances to," he said with typical showmanship. "What we want to do is make Indianapolis as inhospitable as possible for these guys."

The problem for Kennedy is Brizzi has effectively bashed her lack of prosecutorial experience for weeks. Her proposing "a get-out-of-jail-free card," as Brizzi called it, gave him another chance to point to that issue.

"Only someone who has never prosecuted a gang member would propose something like this," he said.

In a race this big, each candidate will have bad days. Brizzi's had a few. Monday was Kennedy's turn.

Her response was weak. She defended her gang proposal but tried to downplay it by insisting it was only a "concept." She said the "concept" was aimed at "taking down the whole gang infrastructure by trying to peel away the young wannabes" and getting them to "testify against the gang leaders."

She wouldn't say what level of crimes would be forgiven but pointed to offenses such as carrying a handgun illegally.

Reality check. How many gang "wannabes" will take the stand and testify against gang leaders in exchange for dropping a minor charge?

As for renouncing gang affiliation in writing, Brizzi compared that to naively making gangbangers "write on the blackboard 50 times, 'I will not be in a gang.' "

"Gang members," he said, "will say and do anything to get out of trouble."

I suspect the policy wonk who stuck this amnesty idea into her policy position statement is taking a few licks today. This plays right into Brizzi's hand. As he has said before, gang members in L.A. refer to Indianapolis nowadays as "little L.A." Rewarding amnesty to law-breakers doesn't strike me as the right approach to this growing problem.


Anonymous said...

He sure did score a big one. I'm a Dem, and I was a little stunned when my party chose someone with no experience. I was just getting used to that tidbit, and now, she comes up with this gang amnesty program.

I'm no fan of Carl. He comes off as a sanctamonious ass. Maybe I'll write in Steve Goldsmith.

Jeff Newman said...

I was fairly impressed with Kennedy when I heard her speak, but I was taken aback by the gang-member amnesty thing as well. A large blunder on her part it seems, and in a race as heated as this one you have to wonder what in the hell she was thinking giving her opponenent such an easy opening.

With Brizzi's mantra being inexperience on her part, she sure showed her inexperience at campaigning.

Anonymous said...

I think politically, its a foul-up, but I also think it shows something that Carl absolutely isn't. Smart.

Simply being tough on every crime isn't getting it done. Perhaps you should be really tough on the really bad guys (stick) and try to help the screw-ups get a life back on track (carrot).

Good policy does not always equate with good politics. (Police Merger)

Anonymous said...

One myth that should be destroyed is that Goldsmith had no experience. He had 8 successful years of trial experience. In addition to working for a big law firm he was the city's Chief Trial

Brizzi does come off as a sanctamonious ass however, that is not truth. From someone who knows him well, he was a latch-key kid
with no father influence, or child
support and had a mother who worked
two jobs to support them. Since he
decided to take the high road, the
persona you see he had as early as
15/16 years. Rather than an ass he
is a no excuse guy..a just do it guy.

Anonymous said...

I will not be in a gang anymore . . .today!

Anonymous said...

Contorversy, controversy, no substance, no experience, grabbing any issue to get media attention, no track record Melina Kennedy.

Enough said!

Anonymous said...

I can see how many would feel the Brizzi's a "sanctamonious ass" but what person (dealing with the scum of the earth) wouldn't be? I know Carl on a professional level and he has never come off as an ass in any way.

Melina, however, has never seemed like a particularly approachable individual and her cronies make it a tad difficult to even speak with her. Carl's campaign approach is "Experience, Tested, Tough" and he is just that. Melina's new proposal to give amnesty to people who chose a life of crime has nothing to back it up. Is she going to introduce any kind of rehabilitation program (no doubt using more taxpayers' hard earned money) to help these "poor kids" get back on track?