Repeat Offenders Reflect Weak Drug, Property Laws

By KBJR News 1

May 2, 2012 Updated May 2, 2012 at 7:00 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- A Duluth career criminal has been apprehended after attempting to burglarize a deceased person's home.

Michael Hanson is described as a long time drug dealer and thief in the Duluth area.

He has over ten convictions since 1979 ranging in severity from felony drug convection to felony burglary.

Hanson is the latest example of what the Duluth Police say is a career criminal problem in Duluth; law breakers that are regularly in and out of jail.

Hanson isn't the only career criminal in Duluth.

Chief Ramsey has named other habitual offenders including Robert Schuller and Curtis Fairbanks, both of whom have extensive criminal histories.

All three men have a mix of offensives but there is a common thread of burglary and drug and alcohol violations.

These crimes, when stacked up against more severe offenses, don't hold water in the justice system and can lead to a revolving door situation, with offenders repeatedly going in and out of the courthouse.

"Frankly in Minnesota our laws are not as strict as a lot of other states when it comes to career offenders for non violent crimes."

Professor Samfell-Jones also said that most of the time these repeat offenders are drug addicts that are breaking into homes to retrieve copper and other items to sell in order to feed their addictions.

According to Chief Ramsey, Hanson was stripping copper wire out of the house before he was apprehended.

A judge can take into consideration the number of offenses when sentencing but according to professor Samfell-Jones, when a Judge departs from the guidelines it is usually to give a lighter sentence, not a stiffer one.