The accused murderers of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia and six young people in Deltona last year were probation violators with violent pasts.
Now, TV crime fighter John Walsh is lending his support to a bill that requires court hearings before judges can allow violent felons who violate their probation to remain free.
John says, "How many times do you have to hurt someone, how many times do you have to commit a crime before we as a society determine that this person can’t function in society?"
A zero tolerance policy already requires probation officers to request those convicted of violent crimes be locked up if they violate their probation. We asked the bill’s driving force, Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist, if the court hearings are really necessary.
Charlie Crist says, "If we’re second in violent crime in America, if murder’s the only crime on the rise, it’s clear to me we need to do something proactive to protect the people of our state. You bet we need it."
The attorney general is calling his legislation the anti-murder bill, which could make it tough for some lawmakers to vote against, but several are raising concerns about the price tag.
Rep. Jack Siler has been lobbied hard by the attorney general to co-sponsor the bill, but he’s worried by analysis showing it could cost local governments more than $200 million by the year 2007.
Still, supporters argue, what price do you put on the life of an innocent victim?
Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist’s legislation won unanimous support in its first House committee Wednesday. The next stop for the bill is the Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee, where it may have a harder time because of the money issues.