Suspect in Sunday St. Paul shooting was sentenced to a year in jail in August

A gunfight broke out in a bar on St. Paul’s popular West 7th Avenue in the early hours of Sunday morning leaving 14 people injured and 27-year-old Marquisha Wiley dead. So far, this tragic incident illustrates a couple of serious policy failures.

Minnesota’s revolving door courts

Judge Klein

The first is the ongoing failure of Minnesota’s judges.

As the excellent @CrimeWatchMpls Twitter feed explains, the suspect in Ms. Wiley’s murder, Terry Lorenzo Brown, should have been in jail on Sunday night, not on West 7th. In August, he was convicted on Gross Misdemeanor DWI and was sentenced to 365 days in the Hennepin County Workhouse. However, Judge Julia Dayton Klein, appointed by Gov. Tim Walz in June, stayed the bulk of his sentence and released Mr. Brown with time served.

Judges who refuse to apply the appropriate sentences pose a grave threat to public safety. This case may well be another example of that.

Policies targeting legal, not illegals, guns

The second failure is of the ruling DFL party’s proposed solution to the explosion of violent crime in the Twin Cities.

Their proposals — to expand criminal background checks to cover most private firearms transfers and enact a “red flag” law to let courts temporarily remove guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others — are directed at guns that are traded and owned legally. They will have absolutely no effect on guns that are traded and owned illegally, such as that allegedly used by Mr. Brown.

As WCCO reports:

Court records show Brown should never have had a gun. He was convicted in 2018 of violating a no-contact order. That is a felony, and he is still barred from possessing a weapon.

Brown was also convicted of two misdemeanors after that felony conviction.

Later in 2018, he was convicted of giving a false name to officers during a traffic stop. And in September 2020, he was convicted of DWI.

The DFL’s policies would do nothing to keep a gun out of Mr. Brown’s hands. The policies will involve more police, but the DFL, held hostage by its activist base, seems unable to accept this.