The Court Monitoring Program set up by Senator Jeff Klein is making an impact in the court room after a local criminal was given a prison sentence.
Officer Matthew McGrath of the 47th Precinct arrested 30-year-old John Hamilton on Wednesday, January 19 on the corner of E. 211th Street and White Plains Road for unauthorized use of a vehicle in the second and third degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth and fifth degree and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
The vehicle, a Honda Accord owned by Rubiela Sierra from Queens, said that she did not give Hamilton permission to use the automobile and he was immediately charged, facing up to a three year prison term.
According to Assistant District Attorney William Zelenka, Hamilton already has an undisclosed felony on his record, and on Friday, March 25 at the Bronx Courthouse on 265 E. 161st Street, Hamilton plead guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison in front of five members of Senator Klein’s Court Monitoring Program.
The program, which began in April 2010 after growing concern of repeat offenders not receiving jail time, has become successful over the last year and Senator Klein believes residents are taking a strong stand in attempting to stop these crimes from happening in their neighborhoods.
“As my constituents already know, I have zero tolerance for any crime and I know they feel the same way,” Klein said.
“Having concerned residents works very well because oftentimes we see too many repeat offenders getting back into the streets. This program proves that residents are keeping their eyes open for these criminals in their areas.”
Country Club resident Louis Amend, a strong advocate and member of Senator Klein’s program, believes that the group has already made a huge impact inside the court room, but also feels that the program could use more volunteers to create a stronger stance.
Amend, a life-long resident of the Bronx, is worried that repeat-offenders are given too many chances after committing crimes in local neighborhoods.
“With our presence inside the court room, we show the judge that we are concerned with the safety of our communities,” Amend said.
“We all feel that going to these court hearings is a big plus and ultimately has an influence on the judge’s final decision on an offender. We want these criminals to serve the time they deserve and stay out of our communities.”
If anyone in Senator Klein’s 34th District wishes to take part in the Court Monitoring Program, contact his office at (718)-822-2049.
©2011 Community News Group