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April 11, 2007

Commission coming in California?

Speaking of bills to create a state sentencing commission (Colorado story here), the news out of California should be heartening for those who hope a sentencing commission could help chart a better path for California's dysfunctional sentencing system.  This article provides the latest state legislative news:

A bill to place state sentencing policy in the hands of a newly created commission passed its first legislative test Tuesday, but not until some of the heaviest hitters in California law enforcement took some meaty swipes at it.

The California District Attorneys Association, the California Police Chiefs' Association, the Police Officers Research Association of California and representatives of seven other groups all stepped forward at the state Senate's Public Safety Committee meeting to rip the measure proposed as a major fix to the state's incarceration crisis.  Mostly, the groups blasted the outlines of the sentencing commission proposed by state Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, as taking authority away from the elected Legislature and giving it to a panel featuring a mixture of appointees put there by the governor, lawmakers and the courts....

Romero said she was "disappointed" in the opposition to Senate Bill 110 that was expressed by the police and prosecutor groups representing both labor and management.  But she expressed satisfaction that the bill still passed the committee she chairs on a 3-2 party-line vote.  Romero also predicted successful, if not smooth, sailing as it moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee, to the chamber's floor and then over to the Assembly, where a similar bill being carried by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, also is getting aired.

April 11, 2007 at 07:16 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Anyone interested can read the bill analysis here.

Why isn't the prison guard union opposing it? Did they grow a heart or were they promised representation on the commission through one of their victim's rights groups?

Posted by: George | Apr 11, 2007 1:09:12 PM

Prof. Berman, I am a prosecutor in a large-
sized CA county. I am trying to gauge the context of your comment that CA's sentencing system is "dysfunctional." Are you referring
to the triads (yes, the triads still exist
post-Cunningham and SB 40), Prop 36, 1192.7,
the habitual offender statutes, or the
selected few crimes subject to an ISL (i.e.,
15 yrs to life) term? Or, is that a general
comment directed at the effects of CA
sentencing, such as the overall prison
population v. available space, treatment or
"diversion" programs v. custodial sentences,
or civil commitment proceedings for
mentally disturbed offenders and sexually
violent predators.

P.S. The website is great!! I read it every
day. Thanks.

Posted by: Large County DDA | Apr 11, 2007 4:44:12 PM

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