L.A. Gangs Will Love Governor’s Ballot Initiative

By Eric Siddall

As we have commented in previous blogs, Governor Brown is proposing a radical experiment for public safety. He engineered a ballot initiative that will — contrary to his claims — place violent felons back on the streets. The Brown Early Release initiative is even more troubling in light of statistics released last week which show that violent crime is up 12.7% in the City of Los Angeles for 2016.

Gang-related crimes are skyrocketing.  Look at the numbers for LA City alone: Last weekend 10 of 12 shootings were gang related; this year, 24 of the 48 homicides were gang related. Most importantly, the rise in violent crime was isolated to gang infested neighborhoods.

What does the Brown Early Release initiative have to do with the gang violence in Los Angeles? Everything.  It guts the gang sentencing enhancements. It guts the Three Strikes law. It guts other anti-recidivist measures.  A gang member who commits an assault with a knife for his gang, who had a prior strike, and is sentenced by a judge to 14 years in state prison would normally be released by the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) after 11 years.  Under Brown’s Early Release initiative, he would get released after 2 years.

Brown’s radical experiment will result in a flood of seasoned gang members being released back into their street ranks. This will mean more crime in gang infested neighborhoods. It will mean more drive-by shootings. It will mean more murders.

The recent spike is troubling. Yet, this spike will turn into a full-blown hurricane if the Brown Early Release initiative gets passed.

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.