Rantz: Prolific offender and meth addict allegedly rapes woman after courts go easy on him
Kitsap County courts routinely went easy on Anthony J. Brown, a prolific offender and drug addict. He just allegedly committed a violent rape that could have likely been prevented had the courts intervened. This is what reimagining public safety and the criminal justice system looks like.
Brown is accused of raping a woman in a downtown Bremerton parking garage elevator. The woman was choked, beaten, and threatened with murder during last week’s violent assault. Brown was armed with a knife at the time.
It’s the fourth felony case allegedly involving Brown. It comes after he has been arrested, booked, and released from jail four times since April due to misdemeanor charges the courts didn’t take seriously enough.
The prolific offender gets endless chances by courts
According to police, per the Kitsap Sun, Brown followed the victim into the elevator last Wednesday, Dec. 8. Court documents reveal Brown said, “he had been planning this for a while, and he had a plan for what he wanted to do to her.”
During the assault, the victim tried to fight off Brown, but it was futile. Another woman was able to intervene when she saw it occurring in the elevator. Brown fled after claiming the sex was consensual, though he also threatened the witnesses, according to the documents.
An officer tracked Brown down. He was found on another floor in the building, masturbating while holding onto the victim’s shoe. He’s since been charged with multiple counts, including Aggravated First-Degree Rape and First-Degree Kidnapping.
This is Brown’s fourth felony case since last year. He’s already racked up four misdemeanor cases where he was simply released from jail.
Previously caught and released
Brown earned previous three felony charges between August and October 2020.
The first felony charge stems from possession of meth. But police also suspected he was breaking into cars in downtown Bremerton to help feed his habit. He was released from jail without bail. This charge was dropped thanks to the dubious decision by the Washington State Supreme Court to declare the felony drug possession law unconstitutional.
The second felony, just a month later, involved a burglary after he was found sleeping in the laundry room of a Comfort Inn in Port Orchard. Again, he was released from jail without bail.
One month later, Brown was again charged with a felony. He was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle after a man reported his car was stolen (along with his wallet, which was stolen after a break-in). Police found Brown inside the man’s car. They found the victim’s wallet in Brown’s possession. He spent October 2020 through April 2021 in jail.
During this time, a judge ordered Brown be administered medications to treat “unspecified schizophrenia spectrum or other psychotic disorder.” The Kitsap Sun reports a Western State Hospital psychologist offered this diagnosis. Brown’s condition worsened due to his meth addiction.
Misdemeanor charges without consequences led to rape
Since April, the Kitsap Sun reports Brown was arrested four times in separate misdemeanor cases. The charges include criminal trespass, vehicle prowling, and malicious mischief. He pleaded not guilty and they are pending.
But those cases were “non-violent” and Brown was released.
Four misdemeanor charges without being held led to an inevitable escalation in alleged criminal behavior. And it’s due to a ridiculous, progressive approach to criminal justice where prosecutors, judges, and politicians choose to eschew jail time under the ideological belief that the criminal justice system is racist and must be dismantled, then rebuilt.
Soft-on-crime creates more crime
I don’t believe in throwing everyone in jail for the sake of it. A 20-year-old who breaks into a car to feed his heroin addiction belongs in treatment, not in jail.
However, if the addict isn’t getting treatment and we’re unable to compel it, there are consequences. And we can stop some of them. If the addict is choosing criminal behavior that’s either escalating in frequency or seriousness, the courts are supposed to put them in jail — not because it helps them get the treatment they desperately need, but because it helps protect their future victims. A person’s addiction shouldn’t mean dozens of people fall victim to property crime, or worse.
In many cases, we’re not dealing with addicts. We’re dealing with criminals who only feel emboldened by the endless chances. It’s why we have such a serious prolific offender crisis in this state.
And it’s only worsening due to progressive prosecutors, judges, and politicians who either choose not to punish those who need it, or change laws and policies under the guise that they’re reforming an institution that needs it.
But all this light-on-crime approach has done is create more victims. Brown should have been in jail pending trial. He was a risk to the public. And it became fully realized for his latest victim.
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