By Michele Hanisee

The Supreme Court tie vote that preserved “agency shop” rules for public labor unions, kept in place a decades-old rule that allows public unions to require non-members to pay fees to help cover collective bargaining costs. Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio abandoned efforts to put a pension-busting initiative on the November 2016 ballot because they hoped the Supreme Court would rule against unions in the “agency shop” case and hamper the ability of unions to raise fund to fight their initiative.  Despite the Supreme Court ruling, challenges are plentiful for Deputy District Attorneys and other public sector employees in California.

On the labor front, those opposed to public employees have vowed to continue ballot attacks on our pay and benefits.  Reed and DeMaio have not given up.  They have vowed to slap a pension-busting initiative on the 2018 statewide ballot.

While past efforts to destroy the statewide public pension system have crashed spectacularly three times in the past two years, their disdain for hard-working government employees and desire to keep their names in the limelight assure us that they will continue their efforts to qualify an initiative to eliminate public pensions.  In the interim, they and their allies will continue to churn out op/eds that exaggerate problems with pension and public employee pay/benefits in an attempt to poison public opinion.

If some day they succeed, it would spell disaster for communities throughout California. One has to look no farther than the City of San Jose.  There, the fallout from Reed’s 2012 assault on public pensions in San Jose spurred an exodus of police officers and other public employees from that city, leading to soaring crime rates.

Additionally, various initiatives are proposed for the upcoming November ballot which may greatly affect the criminal justice system.

On the criminal justice front, Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing an initiative that would flood communities throughout California with dangerous felons after they have served only a portion of their prison sentences.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing a separate, misguided initiative-the laughably named “Safety for All Act of 2016”-which would make criminals out of law-abiding gun owners while incentivizing criminals to commit burglaries and robberies to obtain weapons.

Finally, the ADDA also is strongly supporting a critically important measure that would save the death penalty as a sentencing option by enacting much-needed reforms of the current badly broken system.

ADDA members know that our collective efforts will be needed to defeat ongoing and future threats to our employment.  We remain committed to supporting smart public policies that will preserve the protections California’s residents currently enjoy.

Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles. To contact a Board member, click here.

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, 2016, makes him eligible for an SB 261 Youthful Offender Hearing by the end of 2017. We must remain vigilant and continue to follow this case closely. Williams deserves to remain in prison for the long term for the crime District Attorney Jackie Lacey has cited for its “extreme degree of callousness and dangerousness.”

Williams was one of the conspirators in the plot which lead to the murder the detective on October 31, 1985.  He was convicted of conspiracy to murder Det. Williams and was sentenced to 25 years to Life. Daniel Jenkins, the actual killer and instigator of the conspiracy, was sentenced to death and remains on Death Row.  Another conspirator was also convicted of murder and was sentenced to Life without Parole.

Williams had been found unsuitable for parole in hearings in 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011 and February 2014.  The 2014 panel denied him parole for three years.  In an administrative review under their rules, the BPT granted him an earlier hearing, held in August 2015.  He was found suitable for release on parole at that hearing.

Since Williams was not convicted of murder, the governor could not reverse the grant of parole, and could only refer it back to the full twelve-member Board requesting reconsideration. The governor did request such reconsideration in November 2015.

District Attorney Lacey, Chief of Detectives of LAPD, and the Captain of the Robbery-Homicide Division of LAPD all spoke at the en banc BPT meeting on December 22, 2015, requesting the 2015 parole grant be rescinded.  The full Board ordered a rescission hearing to determine if the August 2015 grant had been improvidently granted, based on the concerns expressed by the governor.

BPT Commissioners Cynthia Fritz and Arthur Anderson (former Asst. Commissioner of the CHP), and Deputy Commissioner Kathleen Newman held the rescission hearing on Thursday at Solano State Prison in Vacaville.  The 2015 decision, which had incorporated all prior hearing transcripts by reference, was reviewed by the panel in detail.  In his summation, Deputy District Attorney Lawrence Morrison of the Crimes against Peace Officers Section referenced Williams’ many conflicting statements under oath in all the hearings DDA Morrison attended since 2006, pointing out his consistent lack of credibility and overall lack of insight.

After an hour long deliberation, the panel found the 2015 grant was not supported by the evidence considered by the 2015 panel.  They referred to his statements in prior hearings. Specifically, as the governor had noted in his referral, they found the inmate has not accepted full responsibility for his actions or explained the reasons he entered into a plot to assassinate a witness, still minimizes his role in the crime, and still does not fully understand the effect of his crime upon the community.  They rescinded the 2015 grant of parole.

Under BPT rules, Williams will have another de novo parole consideration hearing within 120 days.  Since he was one month shy of his 23rd birthday at the time of the crime, he now qualifies as a “Youthful Offender” under SB 261 as of January 1, 2016.  Therefore, even if the next panel finds him unsuitable for the minimum three year denial period, he must have an SB 261 Youthful Offender Hearing by the end of 2017.  Under SB 261, BPT will be required to consider “the diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to that of adults” in determining his suitability for parole.

This case will be one of the first tests of SB 261.  We shall watch closely to see if it turns out to be a rationale law that makes sense in extraordinary circumstances or another case of a new law with unintended consequences undermining the criminal justice system.

Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.  He can be contacted at esiddall@laadda.com.  The view and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ADDA, which represents nearly 1,000 Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.

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, in large part thanks to Governor Jerry Brown and the disastrous decisions of his supreme court appointees when he served as governor in the 1970’s.  Most notable was Rose Bird appointed in 1977.  She led an unabated assault on victims of crime. Her decisions always protected criminals and disregarded the rights of victims.  In case after case, she sought to handcuff prosecutors by excluding relevant evidence from being presented in court.

Her rulings were so outrageous that Californians voted to restrict state appellate judges from making decisions on search and seizure law based upon state law.  Instead, voters mandated that California judges must follow federal rulings on search and seizure which was considered less friendly to criminals.

The excesses of the Bird court ended when she was thrown out of office. Her removal was the only time in California history that a sitting chief justice of the California Supreme Court was unceremoniously ousted from office. She didn’t just lose her election – she was crushed by huge margins with a whopping 67 percent voting to remove her.

Thirty years after her removal, Governor Brown failed to learn his lesson. He wants to take California back to the late 70’s and early 80’s. The bad old days where victims’ rights were ignored and the criminal was king. This time, using every effort and trick at his disposal, he wants to hoodwink us by having us believe that his proposed constitutional amendment promotes public safety by calling it the “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act.”

What Governor Brown wants is “Rose Bird 2.0.”, by changing the penal code via initiative instead of Supreme Court rulings. Not satisfied with the release of over 50,000 prisoners, Brown’s goal is to give the remaining 100,000 inmates their chance of early release. He wants to undermine every piece of legislation that was enacted by voters in the wake of the disaster that was Rose Bird.  Let’s be clear, Brown wants us to believe that he is forced to ask for these changes, but that is not the case since we are in compliance with the federal mandate to lower the prison population.

Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.  He can be contacted at esiddall@laadda.com.  The view and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ADDA, which represents nearly 1,000 Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.

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.

recent report studying many large counties, including Los Angeles, concluded conviction rates have dropped by a staggering 45%.  Of course, this isn’t the least bit surprising. When you don’t arrest criminal offenders, you won’t be able to convict them. Speaking of those arrest rates concerning offenses which had been reduced to misdemeanors by Prop 47, the study found a 31% drop in bookings for property crime offenses and a 68% reduction for drug offenses.  The few who were convicted of these now reduced crimes served substantially less time than what they would have served prior to Prop 47.

While the study claimed “savings” of $20-130 million (a huge range) from Prop 47, the study ignored the cost of increased crime as a result of Prop 47. It cost Los Angeles County $250 million in just the first six months of Prop 47, and that number represents only one county in a state with a soaring property crime rate.  It’s far past the time that the proponents claiming huge “savings” finally acknowledge the enormous human cost of the increased crime rates of their failed experiment on citizens and businesses across this state.

The excuses by proponents of Prop 47 grow increasingly and tragically comical as the true toll of Prop 47 continues to be revealed. For example, lead proponent San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón dismissed the increased crime rate, stating the crime rate was already increasing in San Francisco before Prop 47 passed!  How does this make sense?

Certainly, in fact, the crime rate was increasing in San Francisco pre- Prop 47.  One reason for that increase in crime was Gascón’s own prosecution policies during those years, which were essentially his early experimental version of Prop 47. Even with his policies leading to what he acknowledges was a rising crime rate, Gascón was a principal proponent of Prop 47. The result – San Francisco had to the #1 ranking for the highest percentage increase in property crime rate from January-June, 2015, that is, right after Prop 47’s passage.

While the supporters of Prop 47 like Gascón continue to delude themselves and seek to delude the public with fantasies of drug addicted offenders who suddenly decide to flock to treatment and abandon their criminal ways, the innocent public continues to suffer.  As the crime numbers increase, their transparently hollow excuses for why there is no link between Prop 47 and the increased rate will become even more empty and desperate.  However, I choose to believe that at some point the public will say “enough!”

For factual information, please read my previous blogs that details the various problems with Prop. 47 (1)  An explosion of California property crimes – due to Prop. 47 (2) Legislature should fix the Harmful Repercussions Created by Prop 47 (3) Public and Private Deception of Prop 47 (4) California’s Proposition 47 – The LA Times Cost Savings Myth(5) Proposition 47 lottery: When will your crime victim number be called? (6) Reaping the Bitter Rewards of Proposition 47 and related blogs (7) Punishment, Not Programs (8) What Realignment Has Done to Restitution Collection and How It Can Be Fixed and (9) Why are victims playing second fiddle to convicted criminals?

Marc Debbaudt is the immediate past president and president emeritus of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, which represents nearly 1,000 Los Angeles deputy district attorneys. Email:mdebbaudt@laadda.com.

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 citizens from protecting themselves.

His public relations campaign obscures the fact that his proposition is a rehashed patchwork of impractical, tried and failed ideas that will not do anything to combat crime or terrorists. Crime in Los Angeles rose by more than 12 percent in 2015, but Newsom’s idea is to clog up the courts with harmless accidental violators while limiting the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect their families.

Newsom’s distortion of the facts drew the attention of Politifact, the independent fact-checking organization that won a Pulitzer Prize for calling out politicians’ false claims. Politifact called Newsom’s rhetoric “mostly false.” One of Politifact’s experts had this to say: “The problem with the way Gavin Newsom is using this pseudo data is it’s out of context and is done in a way which is calculated to cause confusion.” That’s no surprise to the nearly 80,000 police officers and prosecutors working every day to protect California.

The centerpiece of Newsom’s proposal would require a license to sell, and a background check just to buy, a box of ammunition. This would require the creation of another complicated, expensive and inevitably flawed database, which California officials will be unable to effectively maintain. New York already tried this approach, abandoning it after wasting millions of public dollars.

His proposal would confiscate all magazines that hold more than ten rounds. But Californians have already been prohibited from buying these magazines for nearly two decades. The cities of Los Angeles and Sunnyvale tried to confiscate the remaining stock, requiring citizens to surrender legally obtained private property. Not one person complied. The only way to enforce this law is by pulling police from the streets and putting them into the homes of people who pose no threat.

Newsom also seeks the mandatory reporting of stolen or lost firearms. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed this same proposal in 2013 for good reason: “I am not convinced that criminalizing the failure to report a lost or stolen firearm would improve identification of gun traffickers or help law enforcement disarm people prohibited from possessing guns. I continue to believe that responsible people report the loss or theft of a firearm and irresponsible people do not.” Prosecuting this would also be practically impossible.

Another key element of Newsom’s plan is to make the theft of any firearm into a felony. Ironically, it was another Newsom initiative, Proposition 47, which reduced the theft of guns valued under $950 to a misdemeanor. Law enforcement agencies and officials agree with this aspect of the proposition, but it’s curious that Newsom’s only original idea is a refutation of his previous work.

Newsom, who travels with armed bodyguards, put forward his proposition without coordination from other political leaders. Even Democrats, like Gov. Brown and Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, do not support Newsom’s approach. California’s legislative leaders are busy considering crime bills, while Newsom is circumventing them.

California has the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. But the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino shows us that laws do little to stop the law-breakers. The only way we’re going to make progress against violence is through a cooperative effort of law enforcement, legislators, the private sector, and individual citizens who can take some responsibility for their own safety. Self-serving political schemes like Newsom’s initiative will only set us back.

Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA). She can be contacted at mhanisee@laadda.com. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) which is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

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 decide the sentences of defendants. They use various factors in determining the appropriate punishment, including sentencing guidelines that consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances. They consider the entire criminal history of the defendant. Only after this examination is complete, does a judge then elect the sentence that can range from probation to state prison.

Yet the governor wants to undo a judge’s authority to sentence. He wants parole boards to decide the actual sentence a convict will serve. He does this by radically expanding the power of the parole board to disregard the sentence handed down by a judge. He gives parole boards and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) unlimited constitutional authority to release criminals.

Judges will no longer determine the length of a convict’s prison sentence. Instead, unelected, unmonitored bureaucrats will now decide how long a convicted felon will serve in state prison. Unlike a sentencing judge, these bureaucrats did not hear the trial testimony, they are divorced from the impact these criminals have on neighborhoods, and they are unanswerable to the people. They make their decisions in a sterile environment with an eye at husbanding their agency’s resources.

The governor’s kafkaesque initiative reeks of disingenuous platitudes and shows an ignorance of basic civics. He says he wants judges to decide if a minor gets charged in adult court. He also wants to undermine the power of judges to sentence. Here is the problem. The decision to file is a function of the executive branch, in this case the district attorney’s office. The decision to sentence is a function of the judiciary, in this case the trial judge.

Here is what the initiative really does: It creates an impossible standard so that minors will never enter an adult court no matter how heinous the crime. So in reality judges do not make the call on whether a minor goes to adult court. Meanwhile, it creates the illusion that judges retain the power to sentence, but in reality the parole board and CDCR will really make the call on how long a convict serves in prison.

In effect, the initiative is a power grab by the governor that eviscerates the power of judges, local prosecutors, and the state legislature. All this from the governor who brought us Rose Bird.

Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, which represents nearly 1,000 Los Angeles deputy district attorneys in collective bargaining. Email: esiddall@laadda.com.

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 campaign co-chairman, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, will be on Southern California’s top talk radio show – The John & Ken Show – talking about the campaign and asking people to go to sites all across the Southland to sign petitions.

That’s where they need your help. They need volunteers to staff petition stations all across Los Angeles County, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and Ventura County. They will have a 50,000 watt megaphone to ask Southern Californians to sign the petitions. And they’re hoping to collect thousands of signatures in just one hour.

Can you help save the death penalty in California?

Let them know if you will be able to man a site and help gather signatures for the campaign at 4 PM next Tuesday (April 5th).

Send us an email to info@deathpenaltyreform.com. They will assign you a location near your home or work or wherever convenient. You may also call the campaign at 800-372-6417. They will have petition sheets at each location along with instructions on collecting signatures.

EVERY signature helps the CDPRS Campaign Team get closer to qualifying and bringing a measure to voters in November that will save taxpayers millions and bring justice to victims families.

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA), the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles, supports Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings. Other supporters that provide major funding for CDPRS include the Peace Officers Research Association of California Political Issues Committee (PORAC PIC) and Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs State PIC.

By Eric Siddall

There is a saying that if you tell a big lie and repeat it often, people may come to believe it.  Sadly, this is the path Governor Brown took to gin up support for his early release ballot initiative.

What’s the lie?  He claims his proposed initiative will only lead to the early release of “nonviolent prison inmates“. This falsehood was repeated by the governor in a recent e-mail to supporters. In it, he stressed that this initiative does not apply to violent criminals.

The truth?  Los Angeles Times reporter Paige St. John, who covers criminal justice and investigative stories for the Times, pointed out what the initiative would really do. She wrote, “In practice, the initiative essentially would undo many of the sentencing enhancements added to the penal code by state lawmakers and ballot measures, such as the Three Strikes law, approved by voters.”

We have detailed in past blogs that this initiative gives unfettered power to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to grant early release to all state prisoners. (See Below) The governor knows better than to continue to repeat this falsehood that it only applies to “nonviolent” inmates.  But he also knows propaganda. He knows that Californians will reject the initiative if they know the truth — that it will cause early release for violent felons.

The governor claims this initiative is needed because federal judges will take over the state prisons and release prisoners. Yet, California is currently in compliance with the federal court order. Governor Brown already released 50,000 prisoners to get into compliance. So this too is a verifiable falsehood.

The truth is Brown’s early release initiative will devastate public safety. It will end nearly three decades of successful law enforcement practices. It will end “Three Strikes” as we know it. And, yes, it will mean all state prisoners, even the violent ones, will get early release.

To read previous blogs regarding the early release initiative, please see (1) Low-income communities will be devastated by felon-freeing fiasco(2) L.A. Gangs Will Love Governor’s Ballot Initiative (3) Felon-freeing initiative advances (4) A Radically Dangerous Experiment with Public Safety (5) Wait in Line Governor (6) The Myth of the Nonviolent Drug Offender.

Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.  He can be contacted at esiddall@laadda.com.  The view and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ADDA, which represents nearly 1,000 Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.

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 criminal activity.

The initiative pushed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom would, among other things, make it harder to obtain ammunition and guns, and completely outlaw the possession of large-capacity magazines. At first blush this might seem reasonable, but it ignores one critical reality: in the decade I have spent prosecuting gang murders, I have never encountered a case where the weapon was registered to the shooter.

California already has the nation’s most restrictive gun laws.  Prior measures to rein in gun violence – such as gun registration requirements – have accomplished nothing.  Similarly, this initiative would do nothing to stop criminals from acquiring ammunition, guns or large-capacity magazines.  It would, however, make it prohibitively difficult for responsible gun owners to obtain ammunition for sport and home defense. Worse still, it would actually incentivize criminals to commit residential burglaries and armed robberies of gun stores to obtain ammunition.

In addition to exposing law-abiding citizens to more crime, the initiative would make criminals out of law-abiding citizens. A hobbyist who doesn’t use all the ammunition legally purchased at a shooting range would be subject to arrest for taking any of that ammunition home. That same person would be committing a crime by purchasing ammunition in bulk at the range and accepting reimbursement from friends for the amount they used.

The Safety for All Act might have a catchy name and generate useful sound bites for politicians, but it is horrible public policy. Please join me in opposing this misguided initiative by writing to:

“The Safety for All” Newsom Ballot Measure Committee

c/o Thomas A. Willis

Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, LLP

1127 Eleventh Street, Suite 602

Sacramento, CA 95914

You can also email Mr. Willis at twillis@rjp.com

Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles. To contact a Board member, click here.

By Marc Debbaudt

Congratulations are not in order for San Francisco’s latest No. 1 ranking; the city with the highest increase in property crime rates in the United States, according to recently released FBI statistics.

A Chronicle report on the “rampant looting of cars” in San Francisco shined a light on one area of this increase in property crime. Sadly, sinceProposition 47 reduced (and for intents eliminated) penalties for many property crimes, cities across California have joined San Francisco in seeing dramatic rises in property crime rates.

Proposition 47 proponents, such as Bill Lansdowne, a former police chief in San Diego and San Jose, have blamed the crime rate increase on police staffing shortages, social services cutbacks, mental health calls, and homelessness – but those excuses don’t fly. In the same time period that San Francisco and other California cities saw property crime rates increase, the next four largest states (Florida, Texas, New York and Illinois) all saw decreases in property crime. Every excuse singled out by Lansdowne exists in those states, but what they don’t have is Prop. 47.

The Prop. 47 reckless experiment led to an increase in the number of crime victims because it reduced felony theft offenses to misdemeanors. The initiative’s champions wanted to ensure addicts who steal to fund their drug habits were not punished for those thefts, so they reduced many former felony theft crimes to misdemeanors. A misdemeanor conviction carries little, if any, incarceration time and results in virtually no supervision if probation is imposed.

The FBI statistics are grim. They establish a crime rate increase from 2014 to 2015. They are based on information derived from law enforcement agencies that submit comparable data to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. From that data, the FBI compared crime rates for the first half of 2014 to the first half of 2015, that is, after the passage of Prop. 47. The FBI data covered the 66 cities in California with populations over 100,000.

Four cities joined San Francisco in the Top 10 for largest property crime rate increases; 49 cities saw overall increases; and 24 suffered double-digit increases. (By contrast, the California Department of Justice derives its numbers by comparison of burglaries and auto thefts from 2014 to prior years, which really doesn’t address the rise in crime following the passage of Prop. 47.)

The numbers are equally dismal for violent crime rates. San Francisco ranked No. 8 in the increase in violent crime for the same time period. Across California, 48 cities saw their violent crime rate increase, with 34 seeing double-digit increases.

While Prop. 47 supporters spend a considerable amount of energy dwelling on the cost of the criminal justice system and incarceration, the cost of crime to victims and society is not mentioned. That cost is staggering! It is calculable using the widely accepted Rand Corporation Cost of Crime Calculator, and is a sobering measuring stick of the true costs of “criminal justice reform.”

In San Francisco, for example, increased crime rates from 2014 to 2015 for the January-June time period cost more than $120 million. In my county, Los Angeles, the cost was more than $250 million. That is just a six-month comparison, with no reason to believe the second half of 2015 will prove any better. In truth, Prop. 47 and the other reckless experiments in criminal justice reform such as prison realignment, merely shifted the cost from society at large – which funds the criminal justice system – to individual victims, carrying with it a vastly increased human price tag as penalties for criminal activity were eliminated.

A criminal who takes advantage of a criminal justice policy to reoffend is clearly a failure in the abstract for any particular criminal justice reform. However, as evidenced by the statistics above, that failure also means the creation of all-too-real crime victims.

That’s the real tragedy of reckless experiments in criminal justice reform; the unnecessary creation of more crime victims. Can we dare to hope that these efforts to reform the criminal justice system will stop when that number proves unbearable? The crime statistics for the first half of 2015 suggest we already are well past that point.

Marc Debbaudt is the immediate past president and president emeritus of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, which represents nearly 1,000 Los Angeles deputy district attorneys. Email:mdebbaudt@laadda.com.