The California Supreme Court just ruled that nonviolent sex offenders cannot be excluded a chance at early parole under Proposition 57, a ballot measure that was approved by 64% of voters nearly four years ago. The ballot measure included voting on early parole consideration for nonviolent offenders.
The plain language of the proposal, however, means that nonviolent sex offenders cannot be excluded from consideration. Correction officials, such as Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, argued that voters never intended for the Corrections Department to allow sex offense convictions as a nonviolent felony. They said that all sex offenders are by definition violent, while other times the court has used the state law’s definition of violence.
Both lower appeal and high courts ruled that the language of the ballot “is not ambiguous concerning its scope regarding offenders who were previously convicted of a registerable sex offense or who are currently convicted of a registerable sex offense that the Department has itself defined as nonviolent.
Critics lashed out at political figures, such as former Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed Proposition 57 and let its vague language cover early parole for sex offenders. The initiative was intended to reduce prison populations and costs by speeding chances for parole.
“I hate to say I told you so. This is something we warned the proponents about. They largely dismissed it as posturing,” said Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten, speaking on behalf of the state prosecutors’ association. He also pointed out that significant numbers of those types of offenders are usually exceedingly dangerous.
Violent offenses under California law include rape, sodomy, and continuous sexual abuse of a child. It does not include pimping, incest, indecent exposure, and possessing child pornography. There are around 22,400 inmates registered for a sex offense. More than 18,000 of them are also serving time for a violent offense. This still leaves 4,400 inmates who could be eligible for early parole.
The Board of Parole Hearings would consider the inmate’s current sex offense convictions and then evaluate the inmate’s suitability for parole. This excludes violent felony sex offenses, but inmates have still fought to be included under the Proposition 57.
Tustin, CA Councilman Austin Lumbard used Twitter to ask California voters and elected officials to help overturn this ruling. “I call on every elected official in California to take a stand and act to overturn this heinous law. I urge California voters to hold their elected representatives accountable. That includes Governor @GAvinNewsom,” he wrote.
Leave it to the liberals to let prisoners loose while defunding the police. If they aren’t putting victims of past crimes in danger, they are prepping streets for the next ones. And Democrats wonder why gun sales are at an all-time high.