Score one for the lawbreakers

Young lawbreakers in California just got another free pass. Minors who get caught riding mass transit buses, trains, cable cars, and bay ferries without paying a fare will no longer be charged with a crime.

Passed by the ultra-liberal California legislature and signed into law by uber-lefty Governor Jerry Brown, the new rule ends criminal penalties for transit fare evasion by those under 18.

The law’s author, Democratic State Senator Bob Hertzberg, claims the law, “will prevent youths from being drawn into the criminal justice system simply because they can’t pay to ride the bus or train.” He also believes youngsters charged with even minor crimes are far more likely than their classmates to drop out of school.

Note to Senator Hertzberg: young miscreants are more likely to drop out of school because of ongoing rebellion, not because they were caught committing a crime. If anything, being charged with a crime should be a kid’s wakeup call to never do something like that again.

Mass transit fare evasion is an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $250. A third conviction can be charged as a misdemeanor. However beginning in January, when the new law takes effect, fare cheaters won’t even get so much as a second look from the authorities.

The Youth Justice Coalition, an early advocate of the new law, says fare evasion was the most frequent criminal charge against juveniles in Los Angeles County three years ago. In a written statement to the legislature they stated, “Addressing fare evasion through the Penal Code essentially criminalizes youth for poverty.”

Note to the Youth Justice Coalition: being poor doesn’t mean one is forced to break the law to get from point A to point B.

Never mind that the Golden State’s police chiefs and sheriffs opposed the bill, along with the California Transit Association, which represents local transit agencies. The libs in California have not only just rewarded lawbreakers but have eroded the rule of law as well. Remember, in America every citizen is to be governed by the same laws—but apparently not in California.

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Brian Sussman

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