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October 12, 2008

California's confusing efforts to do criminal justice by initiative

With only weeks until election day, I found interesting this article from the Sacramento Bee, headlined "Justice issues collide on ballot."  As the article explains, a set of diverse criminal justice issues are coming directly before California voters this fall.  Here is how the article starts:

Law and order activists, critics of California's drug laws and victims rights groups independently have loaded three separate crime measures onto the Nov. 4 ballot, and they're not making it easy for state voters to sort them out.

Together, Propositions 5, 6 and 9 cover 115 pages, would change scores of laws and would affect billions of dollars in state spending.

"My mom asked me if I have positions on all of them, and I told her I'm still working on it," said Assembly Public Safety Committee chairman Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana, who presided over nine hours of hearings on the measures. "There's a lot to digest."

On Nov. 4, voters will decide whether to drastically change the way the state prosecutes drug addicts and the lower-level property crimes they commit, to the tune of diverting an estimated 18,000 offenders from prison into treatment programs. That's the basic thrust of Proposition 5.

They're also being asked to give local law enforcement more money, protect what funds they already get, and toughen laws aimed at street gang members, methamphetamine cookers and serious ex-cons who possess guns in public. Those are the basics of Proposition 6.

The third measure seeks to put victims at or near the center of the entire criminal justice process and give them a constitutional right to participate in plea bargaining and parole decisions. It also wants to make life-term inmates wait 15 years between parole hearings, stop early inmate releases and have counties build tent jails to handle inmate overflow. That's Proposition 9.

October 12, 2008 at 02:28 PM | Permalink

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Comments

The California prison guard union supports 6 and 9 through its Crime Victims United mouthpiece.

Some Halloween candy for Kent. Republican Judges Jumping Ship For Democratic Party

DALLAS -- As many as seven Republican judges in Dallas County are jumping to the Democratic Party.

The judges said the switch is a business decision.

Posted by: | Oct 12, 2008 6:15:12 PM

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