ADDA Blog

A “Spring Cleaning” of Our State Prisons

By Eric Siddall In January, we sent a Public Records Act (PRA) request to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR ) requesting: All emails, correspondence, or texts between the governor’s office and parole board members, staff, and attorneys regarding the implementation of Proposition 57, including discussion of any rules and regulations proposed from […]

The Criminal Justice Shell Game

By Eric Siddall   When criminal justice experiments are not supported by structural reform, the result is more senseless murders, like Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer. It is time for the state to stop its cheap attempts at fixes to the criminal justice system, and implement meaningful reform. AB 109, Prop 47, and Prop 57 […]

A Bully’s Bill of rights

By Eric Siddall     Bullying, sexual assaults, and gun violence are recognized problems in our schools. Not according to Assemblywoman Shirley Weber who introduced AB 163. This latest piece of legislation, initially proposed by the ACLU in a 2016 report, seeks to protect suspects of these crimes and prohibit police from investigating or arresting […]

Death Penalty Opponents Still Trying to Keep Convicted Murderers Alive

By Michele Hanisee    California voters in November approved sweeping reforms to preserve and fix the state’s broken death penalty system by passing Proposition 66 and rejecting a proposition that would have ended the death penalty in California. However, within hours of passage, death penalty opponents filed a lawsuit to challenge the initiative, seeking to […]

A Cautionary Tale from the East Coast

By Michele Hanisee    As California suffers from a rising property crime rate thanks to Prop 47, prepares for a flood of felons getting an early release from state prison thanks to Prop 57, and contemplates refusing to jail accused criminals before trial, a cautionary tale has emerged from Washington, DC.  A four part series […]

Recent Increase in Hate Crimes Won’t Be Stopped by Prop 57

By Eric Siddall   Recent news reports confirm an increase in hate crimes. As highlighted by KFI reporter Eric Leonard, elected officials, including District Attorney Jackie Lacey, recently participated in a press conference to encourage reporting of hate crimes. They also acknowledged that the punishment is now limited by Proposition 57. The number of reported […]

Proposal to free cop killer underscores threat of Prop. 57

By Eric Siddall The state parole board has again demonstrated the folly of Governor Brown’s radical experiment with public safety– Proposition 57. Under this initiative, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) would have the ultimate power to release inmates. The sentencing decisions by judges would be disregarded. The legislature’s assign punishment ignored. The plea […]

Costly Lies Funded by Facebook

By Eric Siddall As the public learns inmates convicted of violent crimes will receive consideration for early parole, and all inmates not serving a life without parole or death sentence will be in line for earlier release via newly invented sentence credits, the backers of Prop 57 appear a bit worried. Thus, the news that Mark […]

Governor Brown’s Statement in Support of Prop 57 Provide More Reasons to Vote “No!”

By Eric Siddall Governor Brown is quoted in today’s Los Angeles Times, providing his reasons why voters should support Prop 57, the early release of felons initiative.  Every one of his statements lacks both merit and a basic understanding of the criminal justice system. First, the governor claims that his act would restore “deliberative thought” […]

Rapists, Human Traffickers & Other Violent Criminals to Be Set Free If Prop 57 Passes

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 adspromoting Prop 57, […]

Law Enforcement Murders Expose the Bankruptcy of “Criminal Justice Reform”

By Eric Siddall The recent murder of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Owens, Palm Springs Police Officers Jose Vega and Lesley Zerebny by career criminals is a bitter tragedy for their families, and a great loss for all of law enforcement and the communities they bravely served. In the Palm Springs murders, the suspect […]

Prop 47 Fallout Continues: Once Again CA Suffers a Rise in Property Crime Rate as Nation Sees a Decline

  By Michele Hanisee Just released FBI statistics for 2015 document that as in 2014, following the passage of Prop 47, California suffered a significant rise in the property crime rate.  By contrast, the rest of the nation saw the property crime rate fall in both 2014 and 2015. Thanks to Prop 47, California continues […]

False statements might be Prop 57’s winning formula

By Michele Hanisee Early polling shows Gov. Jerry Brown’s dangerous felon-freeing initiative is being supported by state voters, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. The falsehoods the Governor continually repeats-that his initiative only applies to “non-violent” felons-has crowded out the truth. Two-thirds of the people surveyed said they agreed with Proposition 57’s […]

New polling data should alarm responsible gun owners

By Michele Hanisee Law-abiding gun owners in California have cause to be gravely concerned these days. With the November election just seven weeks away, a new California Counts poll indicates state voters overwhelmingly support Proposition 63, the misleading anti-gun ballot measure that Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing. The so-called “Safety for All Act” would, […]

Prop 57 – A “Criminal’s Bill of Rights”

By Eric Siddall Governor Brown’s Proposition 57 is a “Criminal’s Bill of Rights.” It grants convicted felons a constitutional right to get released after completing only a minimal part of their sentence. In some cases this number can go as low as two percent of their original sentence. This new “Criminal’s Bill of Rights” trumps […]

Michele Hanisee: A yes vote on Prop. 66 is a vote for justice

http://www.montereyherald.com/opinion/20160917/michele-hanisee-a-yes-vote-on-prop-66-is-a-vote-for-justice By Michele Hanisee, Guest commentary This is in response to your editorial (Sept. 9, Herald) urging a no vote on Proposition 66. Those in support of abolishing the death penalty point to the possibility of an innocent person being executed. In California this couldn’t be further from the truth. Those who commit a capital […]

Governor Brown, Time to Debate Prop 57

By Michele Hanisee Governor Brown recently visited the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board to sell Prop 57, telling them “I could talk about this all day.” What Governor Brown needs to do is talk about this initiative in a debate setting, where his statements about the scope and application of the initiative can be discussed with an […]

Jerry Brown, Line 1 — It’s Your Flawed Initiative Calling

As the story about a voicemail message left by Governor Jerry Brown scolding Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims for her opposition to Proposition 57 goes viral, what is disturbing is the voicemail reveals the Governor’s lack of understanding of his own initiative.  As both theADDA and ALADS have repeatedly written, and the Governor’s spokesperson has admitted, Proposition 57 will allow […]

Grim Sleeper killer is a perfect example of why we need to pass Prop. 66

By Eric Siddall  Each and every one of the 746 people on California’s death row are prime examples of the importance of preserving the death penalty for the state’s most brutal killers. Serial killer Lonnie David Franklin, Jr., is as deserving as any. Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy sentenced Franklin, better known as the “Grim Sleeper” […]

Proposition 57 Unmasked: A Detailed Analysis of the Misleading Initiative

By Michele Hanisee Proposition 57 is a many headed monster that will wreak havoc on public safety. It allows the early release of inmates serving time in state prison for violent and non-violent offenses through parole grants or accelerated sentence credits. In addition, it changes the juvenile system by disallowing prosecutors to directly charge juveniles who commit murder, […]

Gov. Brown rightly rejects parole for Manson family murderer

By Michele Hanisee The ADDA commends Gov. Jerry Brown for denying parole to brutal murderer Leslie Van Houten. Brown on Friday rejected the state parole board’s recommendation to grant parole to the Manson family member. Van Houten originally was  sentenced to death for holding down Rosemary LaBianca on Aug. 10, 1969 so fellow Manson-follower Tex Watson could skewer […]

Competing death penalty initiatives could spur confusion Prop. 66 will preserve and reform the death penalty system

By Michele Hanisee This November, California voters will be presented with two of the most important ballot initiatives in state history. One – Proposition 66 – would preserve the death penalty for the most heinous criminals by enacting critically needed reforms to the system. The other – Proposition 62 – would scrap the death penalty, […]

Those Who Care About Victims of Sex Crimes Should Oppose Gov. Brown’s Initiative

By Michele Hanisee The Senate Public Safety Committee recently passed AB 2888 in response to the outrage in California and across the country over the probation sentence given to Stanford swimmer Brock Turner for his sexual assault of an unconscious woman. AB 2888 would make prison mandatory for anyone convicted of eight specific sexual assault crimes, with most of […]

Prisoner, Prisons and Jails-A Reality Check Which Includes A Discussion About Victims

By Michele Hanisee Several pieces in the Los Angeles Times regarding prisoners, mental health, and TV shows portraying same caught my eye, and frankly, require a response.  It is clear that a false narrative is developing of state prisons packed with non-violent offenders.  Baloney. It’s important that any discussion be guided by facts, not anecdotes or singular cases. First, […]

California State Senate votes to reward repeat drug dealers

By Michele Hanisee The California State Senate voted to reward repeat drug dealers byrepealing a three-year enhancement imposed for a subsequent conviction for selling drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and PCP. Senate Bill 966 was introduced by State Senator Holly Mitchell, and in its original version would have repealed the enhancement in its entirety.  The original […]

ADDA encourages members to get involved and help the community

By Michele Hanisee One of the great things about being a Deputy District Attorney is the countless opportunities we have to get involved with charitable organizations that provide terrific networking opportunities while enabling us to give back to the community. The ADDA encourages all of our members to participate in charitable organizations. Here are just a few. […]

Death penalty reform initiative passes key hurdle, but our work has just begun

By Michele Hanisee The crucial initiative to reform and preserve the death penalty for California’s most brutal criminals has cleared a significant hurdle bysecuring enough signatures to qualify for the November statewide ballot. The Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings campaign recently submitted 593,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office. Qualifying an initiative requires about […]

Shirley You Jest – Stanford Sexual Assault

By Michele Hanisee Fallout from the six-month sentence of rapist, Brock Turner, continues. This week, 16 California Legislators signed a letter to the Commission on Judicial Performance requesting disciplinary action against Judge Aaron Persky, the sentencing judge. A second letter sent to Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen demanded he appeal the sentence.  One signatory to the letters caught my […]

Stanford Sexual Assault Case Typifies California’s New Approach to Criminals

By Michele Hanisee National outrage ensued over a six-month county jail sentence imposed this past week on a former Stanford student who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. A powerful 12-page letter by the victim describing the emotional and psychological devastation the attack inflicted upon her failed to sway the sentencing Judge, who explained he did not sentence […]

Governor’s spokesperson confirms his initiative will allow early release of violent inmates

By Eric Siddall Governor Brown’s charade is over!  His own spokesperson admitted that his initiative will allow early release of violent prison inmates. Well respected Sacramento columnist Dan Walters, following up on the excellent analysis by California District Attorney Association, got the governor’s spokesperson to admit the truth. The spokesperson “confirmed the association’s interpretation is correct.” This means inmates […]

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

By Michele Hanisee I’m not usually one to cry out for the assistance of the ACLU, defense attorneys, or “civil liberties activists” – but where are they when you need them?  Lt. Governor Newsom’s Safety for All initiative would adversely impact law abiding gun owners, but it would also strip criminals of their Constitutional Rights.  So […]

Skid Row — The Emergency That Cannot Wait

By Michele Hanisee The criminal justice system, burdened with being the de facto forum for dealing with the mentally ill population in Los Angeles County, has now becoming the forum of last resort to deal with the homeless population of which the mentally ill are a subset. For three decades the Central City East Association (CCEA) […]

Cop Killer Stays In Prison – For Now

By Eric Siddall Voltaire Alphonse Williams will continue to remain in prison for the brutal murder of LAPD Detective Thomas C. Williams. The Board of Parole Hearings (BPT) listened to reason and decided Williams must remain in prison – for now. We say “for now” because a new state law that took effective January 1, […]

Gov. Brown: Longing for the 70’s

By Eric Siddall California’s constitution guarantees public safety. It expressly forbids the early release of prisoners for financial reasons. It gives victims’ rights regarding their cases. It allows prosecutors to use relevant evidence in court. These are just some of the public safety rights currently in our constitution. Why are they in our constitution?  Well, […]

The Prop 47 fallout continues — decreased arrests, plunging conviction rates, and light sentences

By Marc Debbaudt The Prop 47 fallout continues-decreased arrests, plunging conviction rates, and light sentences Can we say “no surprise?”  Not only has the crime rate in California soared since the passage of Prop 47, but other aspects of its devastating effect on public safety continue to be revealed. A recent report studying many large counties, including […]

Ballot measure on guns, ammo hinders law enforcement

By Michele Hanisee California’s law enforcement officers and prosecutors responsible for fighting criminals and terrorists need more tools to fight crime. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new ballot initiative gives us less. Newsom is bypassing the legislative system and turning the ISIS-inspired attack in San Bernardino into his latest political scheme. His new proposal will restrict law-abiding […]

Governor Brown’s Power Grab

By Eric Siddall Governor Brown’s “early release” initiative is nothing more than a power grab on the part of the executive to take away power from judges, the legislature, and local prosecutors while centralizing power in the office of the governor. It undermines separation of powers and the authority of judges. After a conviction, judges […]

Help save the death penalty in California

Californians for Death Penalty Reform & Savings (CDPRS) has been working hard to collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. However, their work is far from over. In order to keep pushing hard towards the signature turnin deadline, they NEED YOUR HELP. The campaign has a tremendous opportunity next Tuesday at 4 PM. The […]

Safety for All Act is a dangerous misnomer

By Michele Hanisee As prosecutors whose job is to pursue felony criminal cases, we would enthusiastically support any proposed law that promised to be a realistic tool against gun violence.  Sadly, the “Safety for All Act of 2016” is not one of those laws. Indeed, the ballot initiative would harm law-abiding gun owners while actually encouraging […]

Low-income communities will be devastated by felon-freeing fiasco

By Eric Siddall Gov. Jerry Brown’s woefully misguided bid to free thousands of dangerous felons from state prisons would slam low-income, minority neighborhoods that are already battered by disproportionally high crime rates. Under Brown’s dangerous initiative, felons would be eligible for parole after serving 50 percent of the sentence for their primary offense – regardless of […]

Felon-freeing initiative advances

By ADDA Board of Directors Gov. Jerry Brown’s bid to flood California communities with dangerous felons after they have served only a fraction of their prison sentences has inched closer to reality. The California Supreme Court on Friday authorized Brown and his allies to start gathering signatures for a November ballot initiative that would offer early release […]

A Radically Dangerous Experiment with Public Safety

By Eric Siddall Governor Brown has proposed a radical experiment with public safety.  It will mean the early release of 40,000 prisoners. It will potentially give the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) unlimited power to grant early release for the remaining 80,000 prisoners, including those who committed murder, rape, and child molestation. This constitutional […]

ADDA Urges Parole Board to Deny Freedom to Cop-Killer

By ADDA Board of Directors The Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys strongly urges the state parole board to deny freedom for a woman who was convicted of the assassination of an LAPD officer in 1988. On the night of September 3, 1988, Officer Daniel Pratt  and his partner, Officer Veronica Delao Jenkins, were undercover in […]

Wait in Line Governor

By Eric Siddall Today is Super Tuesday. Millions of Americans will patiently stand in line to vote for candidates who they have heard about, heard from, and who have been vigorously scrutinized by the media. Today is also the day that the California Supreme Court will hear how Governor Brown refused to stand in line and refused to […]

Your life or your privacy?

By Michele Hanisee Apple’s position of refusing to cooperate with the FBI to help it unlock the phone of terrorist Syed Farook reminds one of the old Jack Benny line “Your money or your life”, or as Apple might put it “Your privacy or your life.”  Apple would have one believe that is the seriousness […]

The Myth of the Nonviolent Drug Offender

By Eric Siddall The most repeated falsehood about the criminal justice system – that our prisons are stuffed with non-violent drug offenders – had a repeat airing in an editorial in the “newspaper of record,” the New York Times. The use of the term “nonviolent” stirs up an image of some poor individual who is locked up for […]

Where is the celebrity outrage over a baby’s murder?

By Marc Debbaudt On Tuesday evening, a lovely baby was murdered in Compton. A gunman sprayed bullets into a converted garage where Autumn Johnsonlived with her parents.  She had just turned one. When the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived, they found one of the bullets had struck Autumn in the head. Since paramedics had not yet […]

Beyoncé’s Super Bowl activism was misguided

By Marc Debbaudt Celebrities, by the very nature of the attention they attract, have built-in bully pulpits. They most often use them to shed light on honorable causes encompassing everything from disease and world hunger to animal rights and anti-bullying campaigns. At times, however, their activism is misguided. A case in point is singer Beyoncé Knowles’ […]

Three Strikes and They’re Out

By ADDA Board of Directors Unable to secure funding for paid initiative circulators and lacking public support for their measures, Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio announced January 18, 2015, they would not seek to put either of their proposed pension initiatives on the 2016 ballot. Instead, the less than dynamic duo of ex-politicians announced a list […]

The “Ammo Police” is not the answer to criminal use of firearms

[By Michele Hanisee] California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed the California Safety for All Act; which will appear on the ballot in 2016.  The initiative proposes to solve the problem of criminals using guns against law abiding citizens by sharply restricting the ability of the law abiding citizens to acquire ammunition.  Cleverly named “Safety […]

New Law: Plea Bargains Must Try To Avoid Deportation

[By Marc Debbaudt] In my continuing quest to educate the public about the legislature’s new sanctuary from safety philosophy, I turn my attention to a new law that goes into effect on January 1, 2016 that creates a double standard for United States citizens and non-citizens in this country (aka “illegal aliens” or “undocumented aliens”). Governor Jerry Brown signed […]

Join Public Safety Leaders & Victims to Fix the Death Penalty

[By Michele Hanisee] Voters support reform of California’s death penalty. It has become ineffective because of waste, delays, and inefficiencies.  Fixing it will save California taxpayers millions of dollars every year, assure due process protections for those sentenced to death and promote justice for murder victims and their families. Death row inmates have murdered over 1000 […]

Let’s Stop Behaving Like Luddites

[By Anthony Colannino] It has been said that the problem with being a hammer is that every problem begins to look like a nail. The same can be said for lawyers and laws. And like hammers, laws are blunt instruments whose destructive capacity equals or exceeds their constructive uses. These two premises are the concerns […]

Proposition 47 lottery: When will your crime victim number be called?

[Marc Debbaudt] This past week I engaged in a radio debate on Which Way, L.A. with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon over the effect that Proposition 47 has had on the crime rate in California. Prop. 47, as you now know, is a law that was deliberately mistitled The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act – like putting the label “Health […]

Boycott the cop-hater Tarantino: Let him know hate speech has consequences

The message was bad enough: Police officers are murderers. But the timing and context in which film director Quentin Tarantino delivered it was perhaps even worse. Tarantino referred to police as murderers during an anti-cop march last weekend in New York City. He demonstrated an almost unimaginable level of callousness by making this statement just […]

Years of Deliberate Foot-dragging by California State Officials on Death Penalty Ends With Announcement of One Drug Protocol

[Michele Hanisee] After years of deliberate foot-dragging by state officials who refused to adopt an execution protocol to avoid the uncomfortable possibility of anyone actually being executed, Governor Brown will soon announce that California, once again, has an execution protocol.  This progress was not motivated by the fact that an initiative to end capital punishment […]

One Pension Scheme Shelved – New Ballot Measure Planned

Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio announced they will not be circulating for signatures the pension initiative they previously announced earlier this year-while promising to announce two more pension initiatives. The decision reflects, again, that Reed and company can’t “handle the truth” about their pension schemes. The recently aborted initiative was a full-fledged assault on the pensions of […]

Public Safety Community Applauds the Rejection SB 443

The public safety community in California is pleased with the defeat yesterday of Senate Bill 443 by Senator Holly Mitchell, a bill that would have impeded the ability of law enforcement agencies to go after drug kingpins. In response to the defeat of SB 443, Marc Debbaudt, President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, issued the following statement: […]

What Realignment Has Done to Restitution Collection and How It Can Be Fixed

[Lydia Bodin] In October of 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bills 109 and 117 that created Public Safety Realignment.  Prosecutors are very familiar with the effect and influence of realignment on sentencing and incarceration but are, perhaps, less familiar with the unintentional collateral consequence that made restitution collection impossible at the county […]

Increase In Attacks On Police Officers Should Be A National Wake-Up Call

Over the last several months, our nation has seen rhetorical attacks on police morphing into unprovoked ambushes and murders of police officers across the nation. In response, ADDA President Marc Debbaudt issued the following statement: “The spike in unprovoked ambushes and murders on police officers across the nation demands further public attention.  While a handful of leaders […]

Coalition Letter Opposing Parole for Voltaire Williams

Coalition Letter Opposing Parole for Voltaire Williams (8-31-15) ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// August 31, 2015 Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr. Governor of the State of California State Capitol Sacramento, CA 915814 Dear Governor Brown: The  Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the California College and University Police Chiefs Association, the California Correctional […]

Attorney General: Reed initiative eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension benefits

The California Attorney General has acknowledged that the scope of Chuck Reed’s initiative is to eliminate constitutional protection for the vested pension benefits for all current public employees, and subject their future salaries and benefits to a public vote. In the  official “Title and Summary” for the initiative, the Attorney General states that the initiative, […]

City must protect travelers at LAX through strong background checks for TNC drivers

[Michele Hanisee] On Tuesday (August 18) a committee of the Los Angeles City Council takes up the issue of allowing so-called transportation network companies (TNC) to access Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) legally. The Board of Airport Commissioners recently adopted a policy to do so and delegated authority to the Los Angeles World Airport’s executive […]

California Crazy: Conspirator in Cop Killing Paroled — A Hint of Things to Come?

The headlong rush to empty California prisons of dangerous criminals who are serving life sentences has unfortunately received scant coverage by the media. Most people would be horrified to know that a record 902 “lifers” were granted parole this past year, far surpassing the numbers released in prior years. A case in point is Voltaire […]

Prosecutors Rely On Facts And Evidence, Not Individual Biases In Making Charging Decisions

[Bobby Grace] A recent opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times bytwo Stanford law professors discussed a study they conducted that purportedly documents a lack of diversity among California prosecutors.  The op-ed created a great deal of discussion among career prosecutors in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The essential premise of the article […]