ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Ramsey County’s Office and area law enforcement are teaming to go after the worst of the worst with the new Dangerous and Repeat Offender Program.
The goal is to target for aggressive prosecution of career criminals and those who pose a threat to the public.
“A lot of these individuals are coming into the system over and over again… and I also know as an elected official that is particularly frustrating for members of the public to see this happen again and again,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.
Peter Bradley and his wife Barbara have lived in their Crosby Pointe Apartment in St. Paul apartment for eight years and have always enjoyed the true sense of community in the building.
“That sense of community was significantly rattled after not just one but several burglaries, several of them in this very room,” said Peter Bradley.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Samantha Smith Reports
Those burglaries were committed by 44-year-old Michael James Constantine. He had been arrested 43 times before he stole a television from the community room of the Crosby Pointe Apartments in 2010, including 12 prior felony convictions and seven pending felony charges.
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office took him to trial on the burglary charge and successfully won both a conviction and a career criminal designation from a jury. He was also prosecuted on a federal criminal charge and sentenced to 17 years and nine months in prison in the same case.
Along with concurrent sentences of 20 years in Ramsey County, 10 years in Dakota County and four years in Washington County for additional cases.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi stood in front of a wall of Constantine’s mugshots Friday and explained how they’re now taking advantage of a law that’s already in place.
“That statute allows for enhanced penalties in sentences for repeat and dangerous offenders,” said Choi.
According to Choi, research shows that a significantly large percentage of all felony crimes are committed by a very small percentage of criminals.
“The DROP program will focus our resources to get the few people who wreak havoc on our communities off our streets and in prison for a significant time,” said Choi.
He’s confident the rewards, both in public safety and money saved, will be great.
“It’s about doing the right thing, to the right people, for the right reasons,” said Choi.