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Carjacking victim shocked by suspect's quick release
MILWAUKEE - It was about 3:30 Thursday morning when a man we will call Ryan believed he was moments away from losing his life.
It was a carjacking in front of his home on a quiet street in Riverwest.
"He opened the door, ripped me out, put the gun to my head, said 'give me the keys, gimme your phone, gimme your money.'" Ryan said.
After his attacker sped away, Ryan called police. Officers recovered the car within 30 minutes and took a 17-year-old into custody.
Maurice Hampton, 17, was arrested and charged with two felonies - armed robbery and stealing a car.
Ryan feels no comfort in that, knowing his accused attacker walked out of a Milwaukee County courtroom 36 hours later.
"I'm irate," he said. "You can put a gun to someone's head and steal their property and be out of jail in less than two days? It's unacceptable."
Hampton was released on what is called a "signature bond." It's basically a promise to behave and come back to court.
Sheriff David Clarke has criticized that practice, calling it a "revolving door" that puts dangerous people back into the neighborhoods they have already victimized once.
"It frustrates citizens and it has to make citizens start to wonder why they even bother," Clarke said.
Milwaukee County's chief judge said each case is assessed based on potential risk. In a telephone interview late Monday, Judge Jeffrey Kremers said that process was also followed here.
"In this case, the judicial officer set bail in keeping with the assessment," Kremers said.
Ryan thinks that makes no sense. Instead, he believes judges should imagine someone they love as the victim. They they can decide if an accused felon deserves to walk free.
"How would they feel," he said. "Or if it were them, themselves? How would they want justice to be carried out?"
The next court date for Maurice Hampton is July 2. Ryan said he will be there to ensure justice is served.