Category: Probation and Parole

California’s Crime Rates Reflect Dangerous State Policies

Katy Grimes of the California Globe has this story discussing what is making California’s cities more dangerous with recent data on crime rates.  Grimes mentions a few of the propositions that have impacted crime over the last decade. 

Proposition 47 largely decriminalized theft and drug crimes by reducing those crimes and a number of other “non-violent” felonies to misdemeanors; Prop. 57 allows early release for “non-violent offenders,” including rape by intoxication of an unconscious person, human trafficking involving a sex act with minors, arson causing great bodily harm, drive-by shooting, assault with a deadly weapon, and hostage taking. 

However, there is one bill that was not highlighted.  AB 109 signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 which allowed for the release approximately 30,000 felons from state prison with most going on probation rather than parole. This bill removed the option of prison sentences for crimes such as auto theft, drug felonies and domestic violence and replaced it with county jail time or rehabilitation services. 

Continue reading . . .

Gascón’s Directive Releases Dangerous Criminals on Probation

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón’s Special Directive 20-08,  forbids the deputies working for him from applying sentencing enhancements to charges against criminals, even for violent crimes. As reported by Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) President Michele Hanisee today:

Nearly all…crimes are probation eligible. Murder is probation eligible. Carjacking is probation eligible. Kidnapping is probation eligible. What typically causes a crime to be ineligible for probation is the addition of a sentencing enhancement, for example, use of a deadly weapon or infliction of great bodily injury. But since filing all but a handful of sentencing enhancements is prohibited, nearly every crime remains probation eligible. Thus – even for murder – the presumptive offer for those roughly 95,000 plus cases for which plea bargains are offered must be probation absent “extraordinary circumstances.”

The directive does not define what qualifies as “extraordinary circumstances.” What does that mean in the context of a murder case, or a carjacking case? But by definition, “extraordinary circumstances” will be a rare exception. The rule is that prosecutors must offer a plea bargain that results in the defendant going home on probation rather than serving time in custody.  Even for murder.

Continue reading . . .

CA Double Murderer Gets Early Release

Fox LA has this story on Howard Elwin Jones, a gang member who murdered two teenagers at a party during Christmas in 1988. One of the boys, Chris Baker, was only 17 years old, and was shot by Jones on the assumption that the red Santa hat he was wearing indicated his membership in a rival gang. Jones was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison. SB 260 was signed into law in 2013 by Gov. Jerry Brown, made Jones eligible for parole.  He had been denied twice until Jones had his third parole hearing in February by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s parole board and was found eligible for release.  The parole hearing excluded prosecutors per District Attorney George Gascon’s directive that their involvement in cases ends at sentencing. This murderer’s early release also included  Gov. Gavin Newsom’s review and approval. Jones is set to walk out from San Quentin on Monday. 

Continue reading . . .

California to Release over 70,000 Inmates

The Associated Press has this story on the early release of thousands of inmates; “California is giving 76,000 inmates, including violent and repeat felons, the opportunity to leave prison earlier…” This is result of a promise made by Governor Newsom to decrease prison populations throughout the state of California and close prisons.  Thanks to Proposition 57 (adopted in 2016) state prison inmates, even those convicted of violent crimes, receive “good time” credits to reduce their sentences by up to 50%.  Last year approximately 21,000 inmates in California were released from prison. There will be a total of 3 prison closures in California by next year.

Continue reading . . .

Murderer Released on Parole Kills Again

A Los Angeles murderer who raped and stabbed a woman to death in 1982, was released on parole in 2018 under new rules adopted by Jerry Brown’s Proposition 57, “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016”.  Bill Melugin of Fox News reports that on April 8, 2021, Eddie Allen Harris was arrested for stabbing another woman to death.  Brown’s Act gave the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation unlimited authority to release convicted criminals, even murderers.  It is the second time Harris benefited from Jerry Brown’s soft spot for criminals.  Back in 1982, when Harris killed his first victim, Brown, serving his second term as Governor, had appointed liberals to the state parole board, vetoed a law to restore the death penalty,  signed a bill into law called the Prison Inmates Bill of Rights, and had created the most liberal Supreme Court and appellate courts in state history.  A conviction of the rape and stabbing murder of a woman would typically be charged as aggravated first degree murder, carrying a sentence of death or life without parole.  Under the Brown administration Harris got 15-years-to life.  In a just world, he should have never set foot outside of prison

Continue reading . . .

Murderer on Parole Arrested for Attacking Asian Woman

An Asian American woman 65 years old, was beaten in NYC on her way to church on Monday morning (3/29). The suspect, Brandon Elliot, a 38 year-old African American man, was arrested just after midnight.  In an article this morning by Stephanie Pagones of Fox News, “Police sources told Fox News on Wednesday that Elliot has two prior arrests. In 2000, he allegedly robbed his mother in the Bronx, where he stole jewelry and allegedly choked her, according to the New York Post. Just two years later, in April of 2002, he was arrested for murdering her.” 

Continue reading . . .

Another Stacked Commission, Another Slanted Report

Last year, the California Legislature created a committee to study revision of the Penal Code. Unlike, e.g., the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the statute made no effort whatever to achieve balance or bipartisanship. Yesterday, the committee issued its first report. See this article by Don Thompson for AP. Unsurprisingly, the report reflects a 100% pro-perpetrator viewpoint. Every change proposed is to move the law in the direction of reducing the consequences of criminals’ choices to violate the law and, in most cases, to violate the rights of other people. The possibility that some of the changes of the last decade have already gone too far and need to be rolled back does not appear to have even been considered. Continue reading . . .

Catch-and-Release Has a Cost — It Just Gets Pushed Behind the Curtain

But the curtain will get pulled back in this space.  Here’s the story’s opening paragraph:

Jerry Lyons, 31, had spent his entire adult life committing crimes. He had dozens of arrests in California — attempted robbery, burglary, evading police, driving a stolen vehicle, weapons charges, drug charges, shoplifting, trespassing, etc. — but kept getting turned loose until Thursday, when he finally killed somebody. Sheria Musyoka, 26, was an immigrant from Kenya who had graduated from Dartmouth and moved to San Francisco with his wife and three-year-old son. Lyons was behind the wheel of a stolen car when he killed Musyoka.

It doesn’t get any better.

Continue reading . . .

By All Means, Let’s Bring Back Parole…….

…..or maybe not.  Here’s the headline from People Magazine:  “Mom Allegedly Left Newborn in Toilet After Giving Birth While on Parole for Role in Death of Another Baby.”  The sub-head is also informative:  “Denette Williams allegedly told police she did not know she was pregnant when she felt cramps and heard a ‘plop’ in the toilet.”

Ah yes, loving motherhood.  What better way to enter the world than as “a plop in the toilet.”

Continue reading . . .

LA DA Mythology on Parole Hearings and Victims

Bill Melugin of Fox 11 LA, has posted on Twitter the LA DA’s message to the media in response to the Sheriff’s letter on attendance at parole hearings, noted here Wednesday. One can only wonder what alternate reality these people are living in.

“When heart-wrenching crimes occur, victims and their families are changed forever. That is why District Attorney Gascón has directed our office’s victim advocates, who are trained to provide trauma-informed care, to support victims during parole hearings. They are available to attend any hearing where victims want them present. Sheriff’s deputies, like prosecutors, do not have all the pertinent facts and evaluations at their disposal. The Parole Board does — and its sole purpose is to objectively determine whether someone is suitable for release.” — Alex Bastian, Special Advisor to District Attorney George Gascón

Where do we begin? Continue reading . . .