The California Supreme Court docket in the present day rejected an interpretation of California’s Proposition 57 that might have allowed convicted felons with a determinate sentence for a mixture of violent and non-violent felony convictions to hunt parole, when these with solely a single violent crime conviction couldn’t. That such a weird result’s even a believable studying goes solely to indicate how poorly written and poorly conceived this initiative was.
How did all this even get on the agenda?
In 1976, then-Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s Determinate Sentencing Legislation. That legislation abolished indeterminate sentences and parole for many crimes. It substituted sentences for a hard and fast time period, often called determinate sentences, topic to discount solely with sure credit licensed by statute, corresponding to for good conduct, work, or training. In 2016, then-again-Governor Jerry Brown, backed by deep-pocketed malanthropist George Soros, offered an initiative to Californians offering for, amongst different issues, parole for determinate-sentenced felons “convicted of a nonviolent felony offense.”
From the arguments made for the initiative, it’s clear that the proponents have been telling the voters that violent felons have been excluded from this provision. That’s, it was for felons convicted solely of a number of nonviolent offenses and no violent offenses. Certainly, certainly one of their promoting factors was that releasing nonviolent felons would unencumber jail area to insure that the violent ones would not be launched by federal courtroom order and could be stored locked up.
However a strictly literal studying produces a shocking and absurd consequence. Legislation college examination model, say Don is convicted of 1 rely of theft, a violent offense. Dave is convicted of 17 counts of theft and one rely of possessing stolen items, a nonviolent offense. Actually, Dave has been “convicted of a nonviolent offense” whereas Don has not. Does that imply Dave is eligible for Prop. 57 parole whereas Don will not be? Does Dave get extra lenient remedy for committing extra crimes?
That will be absurd. And that’s the reason you don’t draft constitutional amendments on cocktail napkins over drinks at Frank Fats’s (a long-time Sacramento political hangout).
A California Court docket of Enchantment really purchased the argument, however in the present day the Supreme Court docket unanimously reversed.