By Eric Siddall
As the Sacramento Bee pointed out, “The term ‘nonviolent felony offense’ comes from the language of the governor’s sentencing measure itself. If the measure is approved by voters, it remains to be seen how ‘nonviolent felony’ will be defined.“
Governor Brown is spending millions of dollars on false radio ads promoting Prop 57, repeating that it only applies to “non-violent felons.” This claim is an attempt to fool the public into believing inmates who have committed crimes involving violence will not be eligible for the measures’ early parole.
In prior blogs, we have highlighted the multiple crimes of violence eligible for early parole under Prop 57: including rape of an unconscious person, rape with a foreign object, assault on a peace officer causing injury, assault with a deadly weapon, and many others. The Governor has pushed back, citing the Attorney General’s ballot description that it only applies to “non-violent” inmates amongst other defenses.
Turns out, as the italicized quote above highlights, there was absolutely no analysis by the Attorney General of the type of offenses and inmates eligible for release. Instead, the Attorney General has acknowledged they only parroted Brown’s description of crimes eligible for early parole under Prop 57. In short, instead of doing their sworn job the Attorney General’s office played politics.
To set the facts straight, this past opposition law enforcement leaders from throughout Southern California, including District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Sheriff Jim McDonnell held a news conference to speak out against Prop 57.
The simple and undeniable fact is that Prop 57 makes numerous inmates who have committed violent crimes eligible to be released years early from their prison sentence. Any ballot argument or statement by the Governor that says to the contrary is completely false.
Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.