« Important and worrisome new multivariate analysis from USSC of post-Booker sentencing patterns | Main | "Michigan board reverses parole for sex offender" »

March 12, 2010

Accused murderer of Chelsea King avoided going back to prison after 2007 parole violations

This new Los Angeles Times article, which is headlined "Sex offender violated parole but wasn't sent back to prison," reports on the latest controversy in a high-profile murder case:

The sex offender charged with murdering Chelsea King violated parole in 2007 by living near a school, but state officials opted against sending him back to prison because he complied with orders to relocate, according to a summary released Thursday by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

John Albert Gardner III was barred from residing within a half-mile of an elementary school when his parole officer found him living near a college's day-care center in San Diego County in September 2007.

Gardner moved within two weeks, according to state officials, and avoided a parole hearing process that could have landed him back in prison. He was on parole after serving a five-year sentence for molesting a 13-year-old girl in 2000.

The department's handling of Gardner has come under scrutiny since it was disclosed that officials destroyed his parole file under a policy that has since been reversed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The new disclosures fueled more criticism, with some politicians and victims' rights groups saying that state officials missed an opportunity to keep Gardner from committing more crimes.

Gardner had several potential parole violations, the summary said. He missed a parole meeting, was suspected of marijuana use and had four low-battery alerts from the global positioning system strapped to his body. All were considered minor.

"If we were to return to custody individuals with these types of infractions, the system would not be able to take it," said Oscar Hidalgo, a department spokesman. "We would flood our agents and our parole offices with technical violations that we couldn't sustain. The system itself couldn't sustain it."

March 12, 2010 at 12:28 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Accused murderer of Chelsea King avoided going back to prison after 2007 parole violations:


Thank you for bringing a well thought out and reasoned comment to the discussion.Thanks for the law blog.

DUI Attorney

Posted by: Shaniatwain | Mar 12, 2010 1:56:42 AM

of course it's pretty hard to violate him when YOUR the one who more than likely gave him permission to live there in the FIRST PLACE! since last time i lookd ALL probation/parole houseing had to be preapproved.

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 12, 2010 2:50:32 AM

This is all worthless lawyer nit picking and gotcha. It is bs. The real tragedy is the bias of the criminal law in favor of the criminal.

It chose to protect a vicious predator over the lives of the victims.

He should have been dead as soon after age 14 that the public could stomach. That would have spared 100's of likely victims their traumas and indeed their lives. The criminal generates massive lawyer make work and cush indoor sinecures. No one may touch this precious lawyer commodity. The victims generate no lawyer fees, and may rot. The lawyer profession has the same guilt as the murderer because the number of victims has the foreseeability of planetary orbits. As sure as the sun rises in the east, this predator would kill.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 12, 2010 7:04:00 AM

I don't understand what relevance it was whether he lived within a mile of a day care. He seems to have been attracted to teen aged girls. He attacked Ms. King on a lonely jogging trail, she wasn't in a day care. I haven't heard of any offenders barging, and bursting into a day care center and dragging off any young children despite calls to the police. This is hysterical type thinking again. Mr. Hidalgo said that law enforcement cannot handle investigating all these little tecnical useless laws. Maybe, if there weren't so many little technical useless laws, then the law enforcement officials would have more time to actually investigate suspicious activity that is relevant. But, tell that to all the politicians who only make these little silly technical laws in order to get votes.

Posted by: DLJ | Mar 12, 2010 12:38:55 PM

i agree right behind all the illegal useless laws covering sex offenders and halloween. funny in 50 years there has NEVER been a case covering a sex offender attack of a child trick or treating!

just more useless bullshit from our ILLEGAL GOVT!

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 12, 2010 2:11:52 PM

Supremacy Claus.. if this guy was dangerous at the age of 14 and should have been put to death, does that mean that you support the idea that someone who is 14 is capable of adult decisons and actions? If so, there are a BUNCH of sex offenders who want your representation because you just proved that they did not do anything with anyone who was not capable of engaging in an adult decision and relationship. By the way, I am not a defender of murder, but you said the defense attorney has the same guilt as the murderer. Wow, in this case, we have not even proved the guy killed King. You know, innocent until proven guilty? Anyhow, I THOUGHT thats how it was supposed to work in this country.. I could be wrong, but I thought the burden of proof was on the state, and if their case is not that good, then that tells me insufficient proof means not guilty. I mean, it sucks that private attorneys cannot make money for helping the puported victims of crimes , but that does not mean that AGs and other prosecutors don't get paid to do their job.. and they do their job in such a tenacious and overbearing manner, that they will try to throw the book at innocent people too, and see how good their defense attorney is REGARDLESS OF EVIDENCE. I think thats just as wrong as an attorney with knowledge of his client's crime defending them anyway.. so I think the door swings both ways.

Posted by: tbucket | Mar 16, 2010 12:46:53 PM

What is being overlooked here is the obvious. If a 20 year old male is convicted of having sex with his 16 year old girlfriend he would have the same prhibition regarding living within a half mile of a school. That would encompass a diameter of one mile. Most communities do not have a residential area that large free of schools. While it is tragic that a chance was missed to prevent a crime, not giving parolees the option of correcting a technical violation would fill our prisons beyond capacity and lock up many who are otherwise law abiding and attempting to live within the conditions of parole. The problem here is not that he was in violation of his parole. The problem was that a person was paroled before completion of his sentence, in spite of clearly being a threat.

Posted by: Bruce Ricketts | Apr 8, 2010 1:28:02 PM

Consider this scenario: A young man barely of legal age gets drunk in a bar one night and exposes himself to a female patron. He is convicted as a sex offender and forced to comply with all the associated rules. He gets married, has a family, buys a house, and leads a good life forever after.

Then one day his town decides to build a school within a half mile of his home. He has to abandon his property and life's work and uproot his family. It can happen, surely will, and probably already has many times. What sensationalized cases like the King case do is make it impossible for reason to prevail. Newspapers, politicians, and people who represent the law are inundated with angry letters denouncing their "soft" stance on crime. This case will be used to punish not the perpetrator of this evil crime, but thousands of innocents.

Posted by: Bruce Ricketts | Apr 8, 2010 1:59:21 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB