Court rules nonviolent sex offenders are eligible for early parole

December 29, 2020

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that sex offenders who committed crimes deemed to have been nonviolent are eligible for early parole under a statewide ballot measure approved by voters in 2016. [SF Chronicle]

The ruling applies to sex offenders serving crimes such as pimping, possession of child pornography, indecent exposure, sex trafficking and certain types of rape.

On the Nov. 2016 ballot, 64 percent of California voters approved Proposition 57, an initiative sponsored by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that allows the state Board of Parole Hearings to consider releasing prisoners after they complete sentences for just their primary offenses, so long as the crimes are classified as nonviolent. Previously, state law required “nonviolent” offenders to spend additional years, sometimes decades, behind bars before being considered for parole because of factors like having prior convictions, gang membership and gun possession.

Since Prop. 57’s passage, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) had prohibited the parole board from considering early release for inmates serving time for offenses that required registration as a sex offender. Additionally, Brown had said Prop. 57 was not intended to allow early release for sex offenders.

However, the California Supreme Court ruled the CDCR’s regulations are not compliant with Prop. 57.

In a 7-0 ruling, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said the ballot measure declared “inmates convicted of nonviolent felony offenses ‘shall be eligible’ for parole consideration.”

Thus, inmates must be considered for release after completion of the sentence for their current crime, unless it was a violent offense, Cantil-Sakauye said. That even applies to inmates who have been convicted of violent crimes in the past, the chief justice added.

Cantil-Sakauye said Prop. 57 contained no language indicating voters intended to allow the CDCR to “create a wholesale exclusion from parole consideration based on an inmate’s sex offense convictions when the inmate was convicted of a nonviolent felony.”

As of 2018, CDCR rules had barred about 4,400 inmates from consideration for early release under Prop. 57.


Loading...

15
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
paragon

All the clown commenters blaming the judges obviously either didn’t read the article or have no idea how the judiciary is supposed to work. The role of the judges is to interpret the statute as written and they cannot “legislate from the bench” and invent some unwritten meaning because they don’t agree with the statute. Prop 57 was obviously extremely poorly written and never excluded sex crimes if that was their intent, so blame the people that wrote the proposition as well as the sheep voters who failed to read it closely enough before voting yes. In this case, the legislature had nothing to do with it.


Robert1

The left stripped us of our guns and bullets, and are making previous crimes non-punishable, emptying prisons, supporting illegals with billions of tax dollars, trying to get rid of bail. And now they are turning rapists and molesters back unto us??


Keep voting for the Democrats and progressives and this is what we end up with.