Florida State Attorney Monique Worrell and Rep. Rachel Plakon are pushing for changes in the criminal justice system after two suspects with long criminal histories were arrested for robbing an Amazon delivery driver at gunpoint last month, according to Fox 35 Orlando.
Convicted felons Arkimase Divinard, 23, and Joel Aime, 24, were arrested by the Orange County Sheriff's Office after dashcam video showed them holding driver Louis Rodriguez at gunpoint before stealing at least 10 packages from the truck on Jan. 13.
Rodriguez told Fox 35 he was frightened and hoping he wouldn't die. Thankfully, he was not physically harmed.
After the two men were identified, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said there were 85 felony charges and 11 convictions between them – a fact Worrell and Plakon both said was concerning.
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"You say 87 arrests and only 11 convictions, but that doesn't account for the fact that we don't convict children," Worrell said, according to Fox 35.
Plakon, who is on the state's criminal justice committee, added to Worrell's remarks and said she was going to "find out what went wrong in this case" during an upcoming trip to Tallahassee.
"We’ve got a great justice system, but at the same time, once in a while, you find a loophole," Plakon said. To which Worrell said, "Is there a loophole? I would call it a crack, and a crack these individuals are falling through to the detriment of our community."
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Worrell said both Divinard and Aime are mentally ill and have long criminal histories dating back to childhood. Divinard reportedly spent six years in an adult prison as a juvenile, got out, committed another crime and returned to an adult prison.
"These were individuals who, from a very young age, suffered from mental illness and weren’t appropriately addressed," Worrell said, adding that she would like to see a change in how juveniles are sentenced. "The maximum amount of time a child will be kept in custody is 18 to 36 months. As we see increasing violent crimes being committed by our children, that’s not sufficient for rehabilitation purposes."
The state attorney also said she wants to see mental health issues addressed while promoting public safety.
Worrell suggested providing the necessary resources so that those struggling with mental illness do not become repeat offenders, ultimately keeping the community safe from potential crimes.
When asked by a Fox 35 reporter if that meant a secure facility, she responded "it could mean that."
Plakon also plans to take action, so residents like Rodriguez feel safe again.
"Even when you have good prosecutors, even when you have good judges, you’ve gotta make sure they have the tools they need, the laws they need, that they can enforce those," she said.