Cincinnati police are routing more gun-related cases to federal court because the sentences are much tougher – sometimes as much as 10 times longer – than sentences handed down by county judges, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The time to get tough is when people are caught illegally carrying guns, says Sgt. Jeff Hunt. That way, some homicides could be prevented before gun-toting thugs get a chance to kill. Hunt says the federal court system isn’t the answer. State court judges need to hand out tougher sentences, he said.
State court judges say adding time for gun-related crime isn’t so simple as it may sound. “You can’t predict who is going to kill somebody,” said Judge Robert Ruehlman. In federal court, the average prison term in 10 randomly chosen gun cases from 2005 was a little more than 100 months – or slightly more than eight years. In Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, the average prison term in a random sample of 77 gun cases was just under 10 months. Twenty-nine of the 77 defendants got off with probation.