Violent Offenders on Bail Will Continue to Offend [OPINION]
A Fall River punk who was released on bail after being held for two years on charges of armed robbery while masked would have faced a pretrial hearing in court tomorrow, had he not killed himself in a fatal crash while fleeing from police on the Cape on Saturday night.
But in doing so, he took two other lives, including that of a Marine veteran who had become a first-time father just a few days earlier.
Twenty-two-year-old Mickey Rivera was ordered held on $35,000 bail in connection with the 2015 robbery, but won a bail reduction to $1,000 last fall. Rivera also faced charges in connection with a homicide in Fall River and an unrelated armed home invasion in which two Taunton women were stabbed. Charges were dropped in that case when witnesses were unable to identify him and another witness was granted Fifth Amendment privilege.
All of that before he even turned 20 years old.
So this piece of human excrement was running from police when his car slammed head-on into an SUV being operated by 32-year-old Kevin Quinn of Mashpee. Quinn, who was busy serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan while Rivera was terrorizing the streets of southeastern Massachusetts, was returning home from the hospital after visiting his wife Kara, who had just given birth to their first child.
Twenty-four-year-old Jocelyn Goyette of New Bedford was in the passenger seat when Rivera's car struck Quinn's SUV. The impact ejected both of them and split the car in two, which then burst into flames. Goyette also died from injuries suffered in the crash.
In reducing Rivera's bail in September, Judge Thomas McGuire reportedly claimed he was following the guidelines of the State Supreme Judicial Court. But Rivera had a lengthy juvenile and adult criminal record, and was on GPS monitoring. Why was he allowed any bail at all?
Something has to be done about the criminal justice system. It is out of control. How someone with Rivera's background could even have been on the streets on Saturday night is unfathomable. Yet,we keep hearing stories just like this one over and over again.
If the judges are to blame, we must remove them. If the laws are not tough enough, we must strengthen them. Not one more decent life should be lost because we cannot find a way to remove scum like Rivera from the streets forever.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.