Last week, a 43-year-old Long Island man named William Farnum was being pursued in his vehicle by the NYPD. The suspect eventually crashed into a utility pole. When the police arrived on the scene and approached to investigate they discovered that Farnum had slit his own throat in the driver’s seat of his car and was dead. The bad news didn’t end there, however. When officers attempted to notify his next of kin they discovered two dead bodies in his home. They are believed to be the remains of Farnum’s father and sister, reportedly killed by Farnum.
What’s really got the local police and Republican lawmakers up in arms about this situation is the fact that Farnum never should have been out on the streets when all of this was taking place. Scrolling through the man’s recent history of engagements with law enforcement and the totality of his criminal record, he should have been behind bars. But new bail reform laws in New York have tied the hands of judges and it was virtually impossible to keep Farnum locked up for more than a few hours at a time. (Newsday)
Law enforcement unions Tuesday called for the repeal of state bail reform laws, citing the case of a Bellport man with a lengthy criminal record who killed himself after a brief pursuit, leaving police to then find the bodies of two relatives in his home…
Farnum died by suicide after crashing his 2003 Honda Civic into a utility pole on Washington Avenue in East Patchogue on Oct. 7. When officers approached the vehicle, they found Farnum had slit his throat, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Homicide detectives, attempting to notify the next of kin, entered Farnum’s home and found the body of a man and a woman, authorities said. While police have yet to identify the victims, police union officials Tuesday said they were Farnum’s father and sister.
Democrats who support the bail reform laws are arguing that bail reform had nothing to do with how Farnum wound up dead on the side of the road. But looking at his history, that’s a pretty tough argument to make. At the time of the crash, Farnum was on parole after being released from prison last year after a four-year stretch for burglary and assault. That was his third time going to prison. Over the course of this summer, Farnum had been arrested four times. While he was on parole. He also had another outstanding warrant for felony grand larceny. And every time the cops caught him and brought him before a judge he was set free again.
Granted, the majority of Farnum’s most recent arrests were for comparatively minor offenses, mostly having to do with property crimes. But how many strikes does someone get in today’s criminal court ball game before you finally send them back to prison? Farnum was a career criminal who had been in trouble with the law pretty much since he became an adult. And at the end of his time here on Earth, he allegedly upped the stakes considerably when he added homicide to his list of lesser crimes.
If anything good can come out of this tragic sequence of events, perhaps Farnum can serve as a warning for all of the liberals who want to “Empty the Jails” and do away with bail requirements for suspects. Not everyone in jail is some “misunderstood youth” being subjected to “racist police policies” that was “just getting their life together.” Some people are behind bars because they are violent sociopaths who are not safe to leave wandering the streets among law-abiding citizens.
William Farnum should have been back in jail the first time he was arrested while out on parole. That’s a big part of the reason we have the parole system. It allows prisoners a chance to prove that they aren’t risks for recidivism. Farnum failed that test miserably and repeatedly. And now his father and his sister are dead and so is he. If he’d been safely back behind bars, none of this would have had to happen.