Carlie Brucia's Brutal Murder

Carlie Brucia is dead because the criminal justice system would not protect her.

Her alleged killer, who apparently told police where her body was, is 37-year old Joseph Smith (search), a drug addict, who has been arrested at least 13 times in Florida since 1993.

In '97, Smith was tried in Manatee County on kidnapping charges. Twenty-year-old Teri Stinson testified in court Smith grabbed her on the street, knocked her down, threatened to cut her with a knife. Ms. Stinson escaped and stopped a passing car for help. Smith ran and hid.

Finally, a police dog found him. Despite Ms. Stinson's vivid testimony, a jury acquitted Smith after he told them he had grabbed the woman because he thought she was going to jump into traffic.

The death of Carlie Brucia is directly on the shoulders of the jurors who acquitted Joseph Smith. You people have a lot to answer for.

And so does Florida Judge Harry Rapkin. Despite the fact that Smith had convictions for aggravated battery and multiple convictions for drug crimes, Rapkin refused to imprison him last year after he violated his probation. The judge issued a statement today blaming the probation department for not giving him more information, but that is bull. Rapkin had to know this guy was a serial offender.

Smith got out of a Florida prison on New Year's day in 2003. Ten days later -- 10 days -- he was rearrested for possessing cocaine. Since that time, he has two other probation violations. Yet Judge Rapkin would not send him back to jail. So I believe Judge Harry Rapkin is in part responsible for the death of 11-year-old Carlie. If you see Rapkin on the streets of Florida, you tell him for me he should immediately resign his position.

On the radio Friday, I got callers asking if Carlie's parents bore any responsibility. I say no. An 11-year-old should be able to walk a public street in this country at 6:00 p.m. without parental supervision. I did. And so did millions of you.

I believe this thug, Smith, did the same thing to Carlie that he did six years ago to Teri Stinson. He grabbed her and threatened to cut her. America is now a much different place than it was 40 years ago when I was walking around as a kid. Judges give the benefit of the doubt now to career criminals. Juries are too stupid to convict obvious predators. And drug addicts are seen as victims, rather than people who are operating in a criminal world.

There's no way on this earth that Carlie Brucia should be dead. But a jury, a judge and a society would not protect her.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

The Janet Jackson brouhaha still a fairly hot topic. Some of our cable news competitors are going all breast all the time. While we feel such coverage is not uplifting, we have given you our opinion.

And now you've given us yours. The poll question asks: Should the government fine CBS because of the Janet Jackson incident?

Close to 30,000 of you voted. Eighty-three percent say, yes, CBS, which broadcast the display, should be fined. Seventeen percent say no.

Good poll question. Not ridiculous at all.

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