Where they are not coming from
Channel 2 ran a story on Monday during its newscast about a number of inmates at the Atlanta Transitional Center on Ponce with a sentence status of “life” with a background of (nominally) very dangerous offenses. After seeing Channel 2′s story we took another look at the place, and still believe that our long-standing observations still hold. But our research did turn up 30 offenders among that facility’s stated capacity of 257 with a sentence status of “life.” Those among the ones we found are in there mostly for murder, but also some armed robbers and rapists are among them. Only one was a minor (14) at the time of offense. Factoring out that one minor (now 32 years old), the average age at time of offense was around 27. While it may seem scary that this facility has 30 inmates currently incarcerated for murder, rape, and armed robbery, a mitigating factor lies in the fact that these inmates committed these offenses 20-30 years ago for the most part, with one case dating back to 1975. We have never known for that facility to house a Charles Manson or a Lawrence Singleton.
When searching for those with a sentence status of “Life, no parole” we get no hits among present and past inmates there. The only limitation in our information is that a facility search only turns up inmates whose latest institution is the Transitional Facility. Recidivists and violators would not turn up in this search criteria – those offenders would have a most-recent facility of somewhere else. Details and important data regarding recidivists, absconders (absconding from this facility is technically considered to be an escape), and re-assignment would have to come from more extensive research.
Other than the listed offense and calculating age based on data, nothing is known about the circumstances under which these crimes occurred. But in our ten years of operations, we have not known for inmates in that facility to cause trouble for the surrounding neighborhood nor have we known for any offenders to remain in the area after release from there, other than one unusual case that came with plenty of reassurance that this individual would offend no further.
Our experience and observations regarding the transitional center
The Atlanta Men’s Transitional Center on Ponce houses pre-release inmates for the Georgia Department of Corrections, who are technically incarcerated but are allowed to leave the facility to go to jobs out in the city. It is not like they are able to come and go as they please, and they live under supervision. Whenever they are not at work, they are to remain inside that facility. They go to their jobs following specific routes prescribed on a case-by-case basis. As we understand it, only very low-risk inmates get the privilege of being assigned to that facility. Inmates who violate the rules, or do not return promptly from work or other authorized leave, are quickly remanded back to a higher-security facility. Except for a brief stop at a convenience store (likely requires permission), there is no interaction between the Transitional Center and the surrounding community.
In the ten years we have been in operation, we have never had any issues with inmates at the Transitional Center on Ponce. Only one of the criminals we have indexed (currently over 300) has been known to have finished a previous sentence there – he has been out of the system for several years and has not re-offended or even re-appeared in Midtown. The inmates there always return to other areas of the state. Furthermore, at least one of our member businesses routinely employs inmates from the Transitional Center through a re-entry job program, and none of them have ever generated problems for the community. Despite watching this place closely for ten years like we do with other factors affecting the neighborhood, we just don’t have any dangerous or even problematic situations involving this place to report to you. As far as we can tell, the program at the Transitional Center is working as it should.
Most Common Criminal Profiles in the MPSA Service Area
1. Inmates released directly from medium and maximum-security facilities
We have problems with inmates being released from medium and maxim facilities directly into the community and then appear or (usually) re-appear at places like Ponce & Boulevard where they pursue a life of street drugs and the criminal activity going along with it. These criminals are not going through any kind of rehabilitative programs, and have no intentions of moving beyond a life of crime.
They leave prison and go straight to Peachtree-Pine, the Open Door Community, or a motel like the Savannah Suites [Check out the reviews!] or the Ponce Hotel, and from there they quickly snap back into their life of street crime that got them into prison in the first place. The fact that they immediately come back to a drug & street criminal culture like that in Bedford-Pine, at Ponce & Boulevard, or among the trans prostitute gang clearly reflects their intentions to continue a life of street crime. We are also seeing parolees leaving prison and re-entering one of these groups of criminals driving the need for the MPSA.
On this point we generally oppose early release of offenders whose sentence emanated from cases involving Midtown. Since they are generally released directly from medium and maximum security facilities, without a chance to adequately test their fitness for life beyond prison walls (via transitional programs), we are unable to feel assured that we will not have any further problems with these offenders. In fact our experience has shown that the majority of Midtown-related inmates quickly resume a life of crime that got them locked up in the first place. In order to better protect Midtowners, we work to stop the release of such offenders back into the community.
2. Fulton County’s Drug Court and lax sentencing patterns
The failures of Fulton County’s Drug Court program very negatively affects conditions in the neighborhood. Too many Drug Court criminals slip away from the program only to return to Ponce & Boulevard and resume their same old criminal way of life. Our index of known criminals is full of those who have played the system by way of the Drug Court, and it is that segment that causes most trouble for us, by far. Fulton County tends to recycle chronic offenders through these programs, and often despite advanced stages of criminal living. In researching criminals coming to our attention, we often find references to drug programs despite very long criminal histories (Usually by Judge Downs or Judge Lovett).
We have also seen scores of criminals in Midtown who were sentenced to probation running concurrently with existing sentences. These offenders are also sent into court-mandated rehab programs over and over. We can certainly understand probation and rehab programs for first-time offenders. However we find it highly inappropriate to apply these kinds of sentences to those who have clearly demonstrated incorrigibility. As a result, the greater community continues to suffer the results of these criminals’ dedication to a life of crime.
Notables among these kinds of criminals:
While these are for the most part obviously not as serious as murder, rape and armed robbery, these are the kinds of offenders most intensively afflicting Midtowners. Many of the street prostitutes on our watch list remain chronic criminals in large part because of Fulton County sentencing practices. Also some of the robbery suspects in incidents earlier this year had been through Drug Court. Here are some examples from our actual experience with street criminals, and the presence of these kinds of criminals synergizes into an inordinate volume of patrol and public security needs for the neighborhood:
Daniel Holt burglarized a home in the neighborhood after having served three prison sentences and having been recycled through the drug court program.
Donald Rayfield, was imprisoned for a burglary just across the Beltline and was seen loitering on Ponce again within a week of release from prison. Previously he headed straight to Ponce after being released from prison in South Carolina, and went to jail on average of about every 45 days. He is currently in Dekalb County jail on auto-theft charges. The car belonged to someone living just south of our service area. http://www.midtownponce.org/ptag/donald-rayfield
Jackie Sue Hunter served a prison sentence for possession of firearm by convicted felon, and upon release immediately checked into the Ponce Hotel and resumed her life of street prostitution at Ponce & Boulevard. We continue to see her on Ponce regularly despite a judicial banishment from most counties in Georgia.
Kenneth Lamb, a three-time rapist who served 20 years during his latest prison sentence, headed straight for the drugs on Ponce. From there he started his menacing conduct, and has walked away from all court-mandated rehab programs resulting from several criminal cases since his release from prison.
Michael Blackmon was paroled from a sentence for trafficking methamphetamines. and appeared in Midtown almost immediately. His life of drugs on parole escalated into a burglary in the neighborhood. Despite being on parole for trafficking methamphetamines, Judge Downs sentenced him to drug rehab in 2011 on a meth charge. A few months later, he burglarized a house in Midtown. Again, Judge Downs only sentenced him to probation running concurrently with existing sentences. He did get his parole revoked and is now back in prison serving the remainder of his original sentence.
Jonathan Wells has been processed through Fulton County’s drug court program, and went on to burglary and other crimes. He was among the “Three Burglateers” in 2008 and did serve two years in prison. Upon release he came back to Ponce, and since then has been arrested on drug and theft charges. Judge Dempsey sentenced him to a residential treatment program in a case after his three prior prison stints. He was arrested this week for shoplifting, and last week he was seen by neighborhood watch prowling around on St. Charles Avenue during the overnight hours.
Andrew Arnett is another criminal that has been playing the system in Fulton County for years. Every time he is sentenced for a felony he ends up being sentenced to rehab and probation concurrent with existing probation. And every time his criminal activity becomes worse. He was finally sentenced to incarceration in a Gwinnett County burglary case, but that sentence runs out in September. Given that he likes to be near Gay bars (he had been a problem for most of the ones on Ponce), he will likely re-appear in our area. For that we stand a high risk that his next offense will take place right here in Midtown.
Lee Arthur Kynard, has for years, been in and out of jail for car break-ins and other offenses. Judge Downs put him through Drug Court in 2008, despite plenty of criminal history going into this. Kynard went on to breaking into more cars – he was arrested several more times afterwards. It was not until his last case that he was finally sentenced to a prison term (46 months). Atlanta Police believe that he was driving car break-ins along 10th Street last year.
Here are some folks that look good in those orange jail uniforms…
Midtown Meth Dealer sent to Prison
We are happy to report that a drug dealer we have been watching for quite a while has finally found his way to prison. Heyward Hagenbuch was sentenced last year to ten years imprisonment for Sale and Trafficking of Methamphetamines. Hagenbuch was arrested in May of 2012 when he attempted to make a $650 sale of methamphetimines to an undercover officer. According to the police report narrative, Hagenbuch texted the police decoy to meet him in the parking lot of Krispy Kreme on Ponce, where he was arrested when he produced the drugs. At the time of this arrest, his stated home address was on Ralph McGill Boulevard, but he had previously been known to live in different locations within the MPSA service area. At one of those addresses, neighbors kept us abreast on criminal activity. He was eventually arrested on a warrant in another jurisdiction. He has an extensive history of drug arrests in multiple jurisdictions across Georgia and Florida. The parole board has not set a tentative parole date, but we will certainly monitor his case and take appropriate action if it turns out to be an unduly short prison sentence. His max date is February 2023, according to Department of Corrections records.
Trans Prostitute Gang
Joshua McFee, known as “Chloe” on the street and who also keeps a high profile among the trans prostitute gang, was recently arrested when he tried to purchase goods at Walgreens with a fake $100 bill. He has a history of public indecency and cashing stolen checks, among other things. Every time he is released from jail he returns to the neighborhood to bring us more criminal activity. He was already on the watch list we shared with you earlier this year, and we would like to see him and his fellow trans criminals “sent down the road,” which is street jargon for getting sent to prison. Since his release from jail on 4/20 he has been seen walking the streets of the neighborhood at night.
Antonio Hunt – So far we seem to have been successful in averting a premature release of another transvestite criminal. We sent a letter to the parole board opposing the release of Antonio Martinez Hunt, who “went down the road” after a conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. That arrest came out of a trespass incident on Myrtle Street when he was making himself at home on some stranger’s front porch. Unfortunately he has a max date of July of this year, so this neighborhood is faced with the prospect of once again having a street prostitute known to carry a gun prowling around the neighborhood – very soon. [Previous: http://www.midtownponce.org/index.php?s=antonio+hunt]
Christopher Stockton, another trans prostitute that used to hang around Ponce & Penn at times, went “down the road” after being convicted for burglary in Coweta County. Since last year he has been serving his third prison sentence, and has a max date of February 2016. We will monitor his parole date, which has yet to be set. [Previous: http://www.midtownponce.org/p728.html]
Armaine Britt, another trans prostitute coming into the neighborhood every night, was arrested last week after throwing a rock at a car and cracking a windshield. This one was already on our watch list. The victim was conducting neighborhood watch work, when he came upon Armaine Britt lying in wait on someone’s porch with a rock. After canvassing the area for an hour, this criminal was apprehended and booked into the Fulton County jail. The prostitutes coming into the neighborhood at night are very territorial, and the SOAP Ordinance would provide another tool to get rid of this gang. MPSA is still working on getting this legislation passed.
Ponce & Boulevard
Donald Rayfield, a street hustler who has been on our radar for several years, was arrested in Dekalb County on theft by receiving (Auto). According to a police report, an officer making a traffic stop found the vehicle he was driving to have been reported stolen. Rayfield remains in the Dekalb County jail – Judge Hunter of Dekalb Superior Court signed an order denying bond on April 8th. He was previously sent to prison for a burglary just across the Beltline from us. Both before and after his last prison sentence and he keeps a high profile among the drug culture at Ponce & Boulevard, but he gets around too. He came under our radar after being released from prison in South Carolina and coming to Ponce. Prior to that he had spent nearly all of his adult life in prison for armed robbery – he’s clearly not fit for life outside prison walls, and neighborhoods like ours experience the results of his state of mind.
Eric Hair, another street hustler and druggie among the Ponce & Boulevard drug culture, was arrested recently for possession of meth. Police spotted him on a bicycle without operating a headlight at night – neighborhood observers had just seen him at the Ponce de Leon Hotel. He has a long criminal history of drug offenses and forgery, and was paroled from prison in 2011. Shortly after his release, he started hanging out at Ponce & Boulevard again, and visiting certain people at the Ponce de Leon Hotel (We have intel that he is staying at one of the motels in the Cheshire Bridge/Piedmont Circle area, but appears here for drug-related purposes). Fulton County recycled him through the drug court program as they notoriously do, but once they released him Gwinnett County charged him with probation violation (his assigned probation office is there), and we are under the impression that Gwinnett County takes these criminals more seriously than Fulton County courts.
Stanley Spradlin, another criminal frequently hanging around with the Ponce & Boulevard drug culture, was arrested recently for burglary and entering auto in the Virginia Highland area. About the same time a woman woke up to find Spradlin had entered her apartment through a window and then left with items when confronted. The victim recognized him as the one who gave her a ride home the night before from the Ponce de Leon Hotel where she had been visiting a friend. Several witnesses reported seeing two males loading items into a black Thunderbird, and it was found that culprits had just broken into several cars. With the information, Police immediately dispatched a unit to the Ponce de Leon Hotel and found Spradlin and another male unloading the black Thunderbird. On the police report narrative Spradlin gave the Ponce de Leon Hotel as his address.
Spradlin was released from prison at the beginning of this year, after having served a stint for a burglary in Virginia Highland. Since his release from prison he has generated suspicious person reports after going door-to-door in that area, and has also been hanging around Ponce & Boulevard. His accomplice, a Ben Elder, was charged with misdemeanor theft by taking.
Tommy McGuire aka “Diamond”, another long-term guest at the Ponce de Leon Hotel was arrested for pimping and possession of Cocaine on April 10th. According to sources on the street, he has been working out of the Ponce Hotel to “manage” his girls. Our Community Prosecutor told us that the pimping incident itself occurred somewhere in the Fulton Industrial Boulevard area. According to the police report in this arrest, McGuire told an undercover that he had 21 women working for him in different places around the city. He was seeking to bring an undercover female officer posing as a prostitute under that umbrella. Once he was put under arrest, police found 9.1 grams of crack cocaine and nearly $7500 in cash in his pocket. Within 48 hours he was released from the Fulton County jail. McGuire was convicted last year in Dekalb County for burglary, and was already on probation for that and another felony conviction.
MPSA NOTE: Except for Spradlin and Hagenbuch, all of these criminals are known for involvement in street prostitution, and each illustrates the need for the SOAP Ordinance and other strategies to rid Midtown of these criminals.
We set a record for tips this weekend – $1275. In the next couple weeks we will also receive a percentage of the sales (amount to be determined later). This will fund an extra 80 hours of patrol coverage in the near future. We would like to thank all the volunteers for making this possible! Special thanks also goes out to the organizers of the Dogwood Festival for giving us this opportunity every year. It will help make the neighborhood a little safer!
Here are some pictures from this year’s beverage booth:
SOAP Ordinance Update
To date there have been two work sessions in the City Council’s Public Safety Committee on the proposed SOAP ordinance. Representatives from MPSA were in attendance at both sessions giving the only support for the legislation. Activists from several organizations turned out in full force for both work sessions in protest of the banishment provisions. At the last work session, the proposed ordinance was put on hold indefinitely, and the Mayor’s office will put together a work group to take an in-depth exploration into the various approaches to the problem of street prostitution. It is worth noting that at the end of the last session Councilman Bond explained that the city does not provide social services, and is not in a position to do so. Those are provided by the county and he advised those in attendance who wanted to see social services provided for prostitutes to approach county commissioners on the issue.
- See MPSA’s comments in this AJC OP-ED piece http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-forward/2013/02/27/soap-and-prostitution/
As of this writing the participants in this work group have not been named, but we expect that groups representing neighborhoods afflicted with street prostitution, including ours, will be represented on this work group In any case we remain firmly insistent that the proposed SOAP ordinance will, at very least, include significant banishment provisions.
More Notes on Street Prostitution
Street prostitution takes many different forms around the city, and even in Midtown. Some niches of the street prostitution market, what we call the high-visibility types,take on a more intense level of blatancy and visibility, characterized by loitering on street corners waiting for/flagging down “rides” and direct solicitation, like the transvestite prostitutes. The rent boys on Cypress Street also fall into the high-visibility group, along with the white females that used to openly solicit at Ponce & Boulevard.
Others, what we call low-visibility types, engage in street prostitution mainly by spontaneous opportunity, like the male hustlers walking along Monroe Drive between Cheshire Bridge and Ponce who will take advantage of a “ride” when it comes up, but their mainstay is other crime like burglary and theft. Those types always have their eyes open for their next opportunity for drug money, be it through prostitution or a house to break into. With the latter the solicitation is less direct and and up-front. Many of the criminals featured in Eye on Midtown fall into the low-visibility type and are not specifically labeled as street prostitutes. The many we have identified have made their mark with us with other (usually more serious) criminal activity.
In other words, street prostitution in a given place including Midtown has to be sliced two ways for accuracy: Geographically and by modus operandi. Regardless of how one sorts out street prostitutes, we have consistently found these two main characteristics across the board among the many street prostitutes coming into the neighborhood over the last ten years:
- Street drugs drive street prostitution, and without drugs there would simply be no street prostitution. Where ever you find street prostitutes, drug dealers are always nearby. We have never known it to work any other way in Midtown. The US Department of Justice also acknowledges that street prostititution and drugs are often interlinked.
- All variants of street prostitutes are jacks-of-all-trades when it comes to criminal activity, and do so to support a drug habit. We see this over and over in their criminal histories of those we have identified and tracked. This wide range of criminal activity includes car break-ins, burglary, john-rolling (prolific source of stolen checks and credit cards), theft, street scams, peddling stolen goods, drug dealing, drug running, and in some cases robberies. Street prostitution is probably the most convenient of those “trades,” as it yields instant cash for drugs.
With time the street prostitutes, like the other street criminals causing trouble in the neighborhood, become deeply entrenched in a life of street drugs and the criminality that goes with it. Those entrenched in street prostitution have to be pried from the environment in which their drug addiction flourishes in order to move past a life of street crime. By imposing banishment on those on probation for prostitution, a convenient means of funding a drug habit can be severed. Cases where Midtown criminals have been sentenced to drug rehab have shown that they will quickly return to a life of drugs. By imposing banishment and making them liable for arrest by virtue of mere presence greatly facilitates uprooting them from a life of street crime.
Those still living in the grips of drug addiction are always looking for that “one more”, and the convenience of getting that “one more hit” by picking up “rides” seriously undermines any chances of rising above life on the streets. An ordinance like SOAP will help greatly in driving a prostitute to the point where there is nowhere to go but into rehab or treatment program, and onward to a more productive and meaningful way of life. We certainly would like to see street prostitutes move beyond this way of life, but at very minimum they must discontinue their negative influence upon the surrounding community. The banishment provision of the SOAP ordinance holds the most promise of applying the necessary pressure by prying them away from the destructive way of living.
Some older pictures from our files of street prostitution…
After months of observations, we have compiled a watch list of chronic transvestite & transgender prostitutes coming into the neighborhood on a very frequent basis, and in some cases daily. We have submitted the full list to APD for further processing and strategy planning to effectively address these street criminals. Below we have presented the specific criminals on this list.
We researched the named individuals in preparation for the watch list (we have omitted the three unnamed from the website version) and found, as expected, that other unrelated criminal activity always accompanies street prostitutes. Working to get rid of them will almost automatically eradicate the portion of the crime they bring into the neighborhood on a nightly basis.
The many reasons we have crime and disorder in the neighborhood have names, including these street criminals who insist not only on imposing their criminal way of life on this neighborhood, but do so in such a high-profile way. We are planning our strategies for dealing with these particular criminals (and the many more of course), and in the coming months will take additional measures to counter their detrimental affect on our neighborhood. Their ongoing criminal and nuisance activity has no place in our vision for the thriving neighborhood we call home.
Here are some of the street criminals on the prostitute watch list:
1. Almost every night, Armaine Britt can be seen marauding around the neighborhood and soliciting. He also appears during the day and evening hours especially at Ponce & Piedmont, and Ponce & Myrtle. He spends alot of time in the area around Peachtree-Pine “shelter.” He was arrested during an undercover operation in December. According to the report, he solicited an undercover officer as he loitered in front of people’s homes on Piedmont & 5th. His criminal way of life extends beyond street prostitution – he has had previous cases for shoplifting, public indecency, battery with visible physical harm, and probation violations. Every time he is released from jail he hurries back to the neighborhood with his criminal way of life.
2. Joshua McFee is among the transvestite street criminal gang. He was picked up last September during an undercover vice operation. According to the police report, McFee approached an undercover vehicle in the 200 block of Ponce de Leon Avenue and asked for a ride. Once inside the vehicle, he initially pursued a sexual transaction for $20. In the course of the conversation McFee directed the undercover officer to go to the Stratford Inn, where $60 would buy him 30 minutes. At that point the undercover had cause to charge him with solicitation.
Like his fellow street prostitutes, his criminal and nuisance activity does not stop there. In December an officer on routine daytime patrol discovered McFee and two others engaging in sexual activity in full public view on Currier Street , one block from the Peachtree-Pine “shelter.” Last April police were called to a bank in the area, where McFee was attempting to cash a stolen check for $190. The account from which the funds were to be withdrawn belonged to a College Park man who had reported his checkbooks missing the day before. That police report also noted that earlier in the day McFee had cashed additional checks for $125 and $195. Fulton County records also show probation violations and another prostitution case. McFee continues to appear in the neighborhood on a nightly basis, and has been seen by MPSA observers servicing johns on the public sidewalk and behind people’s homes.
3. Bernard Armour is also on our radar, and comes into our neighborhood to loiter and solicit johns. Last September he was picked up during an undercover vice operation. He entered the undercover vehicle from the street, and directed the decoy to the Stratford Inn where a $60 transaction would take place. He got handcuffs instead of the money. His criminal background includes lots of burglary, theft by receiving (auto), and criminal damage cases. He is also another one of these revolving-door criminals in Fulton County – despite his criminal way of life the Department of Corrections shows no history for him.
4. We are also monitoring Jeremiah Wilson, another known prostitute frequenting the neighborhood. Last October he was arrested by the vice unit when he approached an undercover vehicle and asked to be allowed inside. According to that police report, he then solicited the undercover officer for $40 in exchange for a sexual transaction. He was arrested without incident. Other notables from his criminal history include a drug arrest in Renaissance Park. According to the police report dated 3/31/2012, two officers on routine patrol observed Wilson and another smoking crack during the 6pm hour. The officers approached the two individuals, and observed one of them throw down what was later determined to be crack cocaine onto the ground. The officers also noted finding crack cocaine on the bench on which they were sitting, along with a hot crack pipe. Both were arrested for possession of cocaine and drug-related objects.
In a November incident officers noted Wilson in a police report for “engaging in illegal narcotics activity in a known drug area.” The responding officer approached Wilson and demanded that he open up his clinched hand. That exposed one hit of suspected crack cocaine. He was arrested on a felony charge for cocaine possession. This incident occurred at 464 Courtland Street, behind the Peachtree-Pine “shelter” and down the block from Crossroads Ministries, the “home” address noted for Wilson in this police report (Crossroads Ministries operates an address service intended for homeless folks in order to facilitate applications for benefits and assistance). Wilson can be seen begging from customers at area businesses, trying to get into cars with people as they are stopped at the red light, and loitering around the Piedmont & 3rd area.
5. Marquette Matthews is also on our watch list and appears frequently in the neighborhood. He not only has been picked up during vice stings in the past, but brings with him quite an array of criminal activity. The Georgia Department of Corrections notes three prison stints for aggravated assault and criminal damage in the second degree. Fulton County records show cases of drug offenses and prostitution.
6. We’ve also got an eye on Jermaine Jordan, an old-timer on the transvestite prostitution scene. He has criminal history for drug offenses and prostitution. A 2010 Cobb County case shows a conviction for prostitution. He was fined and sentenced to 12 months probation. His co-defendant, a white male now around 69 years old, pleaded nolo contendere to cocaine possession in the case. Jordan still appears regularly in the neighborhood and likes to wait for “rides” on Myrtle Street during the wee hours of the morning.
As an aside, Jermaine Jordan was among the three transvestites that made the big mess on Myrtle Street last summer. The other two were Armaine Britt and Bernard Armour. Photo of the mess in the slide show below.
7. Last but certainly not least, Lamar Coleman is not only on this watch list, but an active court watch case for us at this time. We have attended one hearing for him so far, but there are more to come. We will be on hand to deliver a community impact statement once he is convicted. Because of the intensity of the street prostitution problem, we have advised our community prosecutor that this is a high-priority court watch case for us.