Dear Mrs. Clark,

HB 585 is worse than we thought. It will have a significant effect on increasing crime —misdemeanors and felonies.

1. Right now, a 3rd or subsequent conviction for shoplifting ( 97-23-93) is a felony, but HB 585 provides that for a 3rd or subsequent shoplifting conviction, it is a felony only if the value is at least $500 and provides NO PENALTY if the value is less than $500. Therefore, a criminal committing a 3rd or subsequent shoplifting offence will receive NO PENALTY if the value is less than $500.

2. A career criminal can be convicted of numerous misdemeanors and NEVER serve one day in jail after conviction because HB 585 makes probation (rather than jail) mandatory even on subsequent (2nd, 3rd,4th, 5th, etc.) offences. Probation is mandatory and jail time is not allowed if a criminal agrees to probation. Therefore, to avoid jail time on a 3rd or greater offense, a criminal simply ensures that (a) the value of the property stolen or damage incurred is less than $500 and (b) the criminal agrees to do probation. Crimes Increase.

Consider the following long example of crimes committed by Billy:

The week of July 6, 2014, Billy commits the following 13 crimes where the value of the property or damage in each crime is less than $1000:

97-17-42 motor vehicle theft, 97-17-43 petit larceny, 97-17-62, theft of rental property, 97-17-64 larceny under rental agreement, 97-17-67 malicious mischief, 97-17-70 receiving stolen property, 97-21-29 forgery, 97-21-37 possession counterfeit instrument, 97-21-59 uttering counterfeit instrument, 97-23-19 embezzlement, 97-34-3 computer fraud, 97-45-5 offence against computer user, and 97-45-7 offense against computer equipment

Week of July 20,2014, Billy has not been caught and commits the same 13 crimes again where the value of the property or damage in each crime is less than $1000.

On July 27, 2014, Billy is arrested.

July 28, 2014, Billy pleads guilty to all 26 misdemeanor crimes. The judge is required to ask Billy if he is willing to do probation.

Billy says “Yes, I will do probation.” The Judge cannot sentence Billy to jail— only to probation.

Aug. 1, 2015, Billy sucessfully completes one year of probation and is released from probation.

Billy has read HB: 585 and now he knows that to avoid jail time on a 3rd or greater offence, the value of the property or damage needs to be less than $500.

Week of Aug. 2, 2015, Billy commits the 13 crimes where the value of the property or damage in each crime is less than $500. These are the same crimes he committed the week of July 6, 2014.

The week of Aug. 16, 2015, Billy has not been caught and commits the 13 more crimes where the value of the property or damage in each crime is less than $500: These are the same crimes he committed the week of Aug. 2, 2015.

Aug. 23, 2015, Billy is arrested. On Aug. 25, 2015, Billy pleads guilty to all 26 misdemeanor crimes (13 - 3rd offences and 13 - 4th offences).

The judge is required to ask Billy if he is willing to do probation.

Billy says “Yes, I will do probation.” The Judge cannot sentence Billy to jail — only to probation.

From July 6, 2014 through Aug. 23, 2015, Billy has committed fifty-four (54) misdemeanors and doesn't serve any jail time if he pleads guilty and agrees to probation.

This cycle can continue forever.

Jim Johnson

Lee County Sheriff

510 N. Commerce Street

Tupelo, MS 38804

(662) 841-9040

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