The rantings of a Public Defender constantly fighting against society's pervasive Police Industrial Complex. Enjoy the unique perspective of one whose life's work is to fight the system through the system.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Here it Comes Again - the "Son of Three Strikes" - Prop. 6, is on the November Ballot

They are calling it the "Stealth Initiative" because no one, not even me, saw it coming. Here's an article on Prop. 6, on November's ballot: http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=d01148783101be65ceadfc3d57ee9944

Proposition 6 is called the "Safe Neighborhood Act" and it is a doozey. It is actually worse than Proposition 21, which expanded Three Strikes in 2001 and forever worsened an already horrible juvenile justice system in California. From a group called Ballotpedia.org: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php?title=California_Proposition_6_(2008), Prop 6 would do the following:

"Require new state spending on various criminal justice programs, as well as for increased costs for prison and parole operations. This funding would come from California's General Fund, reallocating funds currently spent on K-12 Education, Higher Education, Health and Human Services, Business, Transportation and Housing, and Environmental Protection

Deems any youth 14 years or older who is convicted of a "gang-related" felony as unfit for trial in a juvenile court, thus, prosecuting these youth as adults.

Necessitate that all occupants who are recipients of public housing subsidies submit to annual criminal background checks. If any occupant did not pass this criminal background check, the entire family would be removed from their housing.

Increase penalties for several crimes, including violating gang injunctions, using or possessing to sell methamphetamine, or carrying loaded or concealed firearms by certain felons.

Eliminate bail for undocumented individuals charged with violent or gang-related felonies.

Establish as a crime the act of removing or disabling a monitoring device affixed as part of a criminal sentence.

Change evidence rules to allow use of certain hearsay statements as evidence when witnesses are unavailable.

Require a 3/4 vote to amend.

Requires only a majority vote to add."

This is actually a HUGE change for California law. For starters, possession of meth now becomes a straight felony - no more misdemeanor meth cases. This, in itself, is huge. The flow of cases will now be very, very great. The description given above for 14+15 year-olds is incorrect, in my opinion. They only need to be charged with a gang crime to get booted from juvenile court. Imagine that - almost all "gang-crimes" allegedly committed by a 14-15 year-old will now go to adult court. And adult prison if convicted. You know, gang crimes like vandalism, car theft, or even misdemeanors committed by a gang member for the "benefit of the criminal street gang," which is pretty much the entirety of the Penal Code.

Here is the website against Prop. 6: http://www.defeatrunner.org/?p=home

Here is the website in favor of Prop. 6: http://www.safeneighborhoodsact.com/

This is bad, bad, BAD for PDs around the state. How come nobody knows about it?

Prediction: It's going to pass overwhelmingly, and then people are going to bitch more and more "why can't California pass a budget?"

Dennis Wilkins
The Guest PD Blogger

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