Looking into Proposition 57

For supporters of Prop. 57, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner’s preliminary ruling was a clear mistake. 

For opponents, it was the “I told you so” moment they’ve been waiting for. 

“The law was poorly written and I think it was sort of slapped together and quickly pushed as an initiative.”

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin says fortunately Governor Brown hasn’t released any sex offenders…  

“In some ways, he’s keeping his promise but we’ve got to have a law that works going forward even when he’s no longer the governor and I think that’s what this ruling said is that the law, as written, is how judges are going to have to interpret it. They can’t make their rulings based on an assurance from any governor. It’s got to be what’s written in the law itself.”

But written in the law itself, the judge ruled that those who have already served their time for a sex crime but are now in prison for a different crime – should be eligible for early release. 

“And that’s what needs to be cleaned up and fixed.”

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had been following regulations in an attempt to exclude sex offenders from the nonviolent parole consideration process under Prop. 57. 

In a statement, the department said it disagrees with the tentative ruling and if it is final, an appeal will be filed. 

In the meantime, some are looking at new legislation to fix things. That’s where the Keep California Safe Act of 2018 comes in. 

“It would pretty much cover all sex offenders. That’s one of the primary purposes of the legislation.”

That’s Eric Siddall, Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys. 

“It’s the only means right now that we have to end that loophole. The legislature is not really interested in enclosing the loophole, the governor is actually not really interested in closing the loophole so this proposition is really the only means that the voters are going to have to fix what Governor Brown promised.”

In the Sacramento Bee – Governor Brown defended Prop. 57 and denied claims that if the judge’s ruling was made final, more than half of the 20,000 inmates serving time for violent sex offenses could be back on the street. 

Brown said the Keep California Safe Act would gut key provisions of Prop. 57 and other criminal justice reforms. 

Instead, he has trust in the Parole Board’s discretion. Something that Siddall doesn’t. 

“There’s been nothing by this Parole Board to suggest that they’re truly interested in public safety. They keep releasing people who are convicted of all sorts of crimes. From conspiracy to murder to murder.”

Requests for an interview with the governor were not approved. 


James Rojas

Field Reporter

TalkRadio 790 KABC