California Bill Would Put Cap On Prison Time For Felons

A liberal California state senator has worked hard to promote a bill that would put caps on sentencing convicted felons.

Sacramento, CA California lawmakers are working to change the maximum term of imprisonment for felony convictions to prevent longer sentences for repeat offenses.

Law enforcement groups are fighting back, and have pointed out that the proposed legislation imposes an arbitrary cap on sentencing, which takes away a judges ability to sentence criminals appropriately for their crimes, The Sacramento Bee reported.

California State Senator Steven Bradford, a Democrat who represents Gardena, sponsored Senate Bill 1279 (SB1279) because he said he felt decades of a tough on crime mentality had devastated communities of color and needed to be revised.

Until we can prove that longer sentences are an effective deterrent to crime and increase public safety, there is absolutely no reason we should dole out extreme and harsh sentences for all cases, which research has widely proven to disproportionately impact black and brown people, Bradford said.

The proposed bill would effectively stop extra sentencing after the first two offenses for somebody who commits repeated crimes before being sentenced.

But Republican State Senator Jeff Stone, who represents southwest Riverside County, called Bradford out for during the state senates debate of the bill in open session on May 30.

This continues the trend in California in releasing dangerous criminals, and basically taking away from judges the ability to provide enhancements, Stone said.

He pointed out that SB1279 basically takes away consequences for committing additional crimes.

If you have somebody thats been accused and convicted of multiple armed robberies, there would be no sentence enhancements for these very dangerous individuals that go back into the community and maybe next time when they do an armed robbery, its not going to be armed robbery, its going to be murder.

California District Attorneys Association Director of Legislation Sean Hoffman told The Sacramento Bee that the case of the two men charged with the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland was a perfect example of why the limited sentencing wouldnt work.

Both men are charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, and are set to go to trial in 2019 because a judge rejected a plea deal that would have sentenced them to only nine years and six years, respectively, Hoffman said.

The two defendants are facing up to 39 years in state prison if they are convicted of all 36 charges - a maximum term of four years for the principal offense, and one additional year, or a third of the middle term for involuntary manslaughter, for each of the remaining 35 charges, he told The Sacramento Bee.

Hoffman said that under the new law proposed by SB1279, the judge would be limited to sentencing each of the men to eight years.

At some point, you will have certain crimes that go unpunished or certain victims who dont receive justice, he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of California is one of SB1279s major supporters, and their legislative counsel Mica Doctoroff disagreed with Hoffmans assessment.

People will still be held accountable. This is not a bill that is having anybody escape the criminal justice system, Doctoroff told The Sacramento Bee.

He said sentencing doesnt follow a strategic path and claimed there was no proof that stiffer sentences were a more effective tool to deter crime.

There are some exceptions to the new sentencing guidelines proposed by SB1279, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The proposed law does include exceptions for gang enhancements, kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault of a child, inflicting an injury that results in the loss of a pregnancy, and prior convictions for serious or violent felonies.

The Sacramento Bee reported that SB1279 also does not affect judges sentencing determinations for crimes that carry indeterminate sentences, such as first- and second-degree murder. Judges will still have discretion for crimes which carry a time range rather than a specific duration in prison.

Its worth noting that California passed similar sentencing caps in 1976, but they were repealed in 1997 after numerous exceptions had been added to the law, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Comments
No. 1-16
NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

Longer sentences is a deterrent to crime! The thugs are locked in cages, like the animals they are, and the citizens are protected from them as they can not get out to do more crimes, I.e., a deterrent to crime.

JBo
JBo

Well...it is California. Just make the max sentence 30 days and let the problem work itself.

rover77
rover77

lowering the bar again, because POC just can't help themselves

hangemhigh
hangemhigh

Makes sense. Should get a discount depending on how many felonies you commit. Say maybe 20 years for the first murder, 15 for the next, 10 for the third. Early parole on every felony if you vote Democrat. Misdemeanor only for shooting conservatives.

angeleyes
angeleyes

@JBo I say put a codicil on that it's effective only if they stay in California. I still think that california needs to be turned over to the illegals, the thugs, minorities and liberals. let them all sink or swim on their own no longer one of the 50 states, no city, state or federal funding.