Newsom Signs Bills Reducing Sentences
Doubling down on his commitment to empty out California’s prisons, Governor Gavin Newsom signed several bills last Friday to block sentence increases for habitual felons and drug dealers. Patrick McGreevy of the Los Angeles Times reports that Newsom signed SB 81, introduced by Alameda County Democrat Nancy Skinner, to require that judges dismiss sentence increases (called enhancements) for using a gun in a crime or due to prior convictions. According to Skinner eliminating these enhancements would reduce the “discriminatory racial impact” on minority criminals. The fact that blacks commit 7 times as many felonies as whites and 93% of their victims are other blacks is not of importance.
A companion measure, SB 483 by Los Angeles Democrat Ben Allen allows retroactive repeal of sentence increases for criminals who have served prior terms in prison our county jail for past felonies. This should allow thousands of habitual felons to gain early release. AB 333, sponsored by Los Angeles Democrat Sydney Kamlager will eliminate sentence increases for criminals who are active members of criminal street gangs. Kamlager explains that something like 92% of criminals who receive gang enhancements are “people of color.” She is apparently unaware that the membership of California’s street gangs, including the LA Crips and MS-13 are almost exclusively “people of color.” The survival of an Irish street gang trying to cut into LA’s lucrative drug market would most likely be measured in days, if not hours.
Finally, the Governor signed SB 73 by San Francisco Democrat Scott Wiener into law. That bill eliminates the mandatory minimum sentence for so-called “non-violent drug offenses.” Because virtually all drug transactions are non-violent, the bill allows judges to release any drug dealer to probation. Wiener, of course, said that this change in the law is required to end a “racist policy failure.”
Considering that renowned U.C. Berkeley Criminologist Franklin Zimring told a reporter last week, “This has been a very peaceful era in California, crime-wise,” it seems like a perfectly good idea to sharply reduce the sentences of habitual felons, the members of violent street gangs and drug dealers. Thank goodness the legislature and Governor are looking out for our safety.