In a scathing blog post titled “A Sane Rant for a Crazy System: Part I,” St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson sharply criticized city judges who he argues are too lenient on defendants charged with gun crimes.
In his post, published Monday, Dotson wrote, “when you combine a runaway gun culture with a lack of judicial accountability, it seems like anything is possible.”
He then presented the case of Armond Calvin, an 18-year-old who was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest in February.
“What decisive action did our courts take in response to this proven threat to public safety?” Dotson wrote. “They sent him HOME with an ankle bracelet to await trial.”
Armond was brought back in court for violating terms of his bail, Dotson said, but was not held in jail.
On May 22, Dotson said, Armond was riding in a car involved in a fatal accident. Two stolen assault rifles and a .45 caliber pistol with a defaced serial number were found in the car. Court records indicate he was charged with possession of the defaced weapon.
“P.S. Do you know what the bond is for our suspect for having a defaced firearm while awaiting trial for possession of a gun and resisting arrest? $2,500. SERIOUSLY,” he wrote. “Thank judge Calea Stovall-Reid. Sarcasm intended.”
Court records indicate Armond’s bond for the initial case, for possessing a gun and resisting arrest, was set to $30,000 this month after he violated court terms.
“Judges are accountable to virtually no one,” Dotson wrote. “They make the decisions and we get stuck living with the consequences. And no matter how bad those decisions turn out to be, they hold on to their jobs and their power.”
The chief has criticized judges in the past and has long argued the St. Louis Circuit Court should create an “armed offender docket” to focus on gun possession cases.
Last year, a court spokesman called the proposal an “unconstitutional punishment court.”
In February, the circuit court began streamlining certain felony gun cases through dedicated judges.
Police said Dotson was not available for further comment.
Stovall-Reid could not be reached. A spokesman for the court, Thom Gross, said Missouri Supreme Court rules bar judges from commenting on cases in the media.