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  • Convicted Murderers to Be Freed if California State Senator Gets His Way

    A warning to Californians: dangerous convicted criminals are coming soon to a neighborhood near you.  That’s because last week, in the case of Brown v. Plata, the Supreme Court ordered the State of California to release approximately 46,000 convicted criminals onto the streets.

    That decision was issued just days before a scathing report was issued by the Inspector General for the California Department of Corrections which found that prison officials in that state failed to supervise 1500 California parolees, including 450 who were a “high risk for violence.”  Worst of all, now, for the third time in four years, child psychologist-turned California state Senator Leland Yee is pushing legislation to free convicted teen murderers, including cop killers, who were sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) in his state.

    Senator Leland’s bill (SB9) passed the California Senate yesterday, and now moves to the California General Assembly for their consideration.

    In 2009, The Heritage Foundation published a landmark study on the issue of juvenile LWOP entitled, Adult Time for Adult Crimes: Life Without Parole for Juvenile Killers and Violent Teens. In our study, we demonstrated that juvenile sentencing is under siege by opponents of tough sentences.  Though representing relatively few, these groups are highly organized, well-funded, and passionate about their cause. Emboldened by the Supreme Court’s decision in Roper v. Simmons, which relied on the “cruel and unusual punishments” language of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution to prohibit capital sentences for juveniles, they have set about to extend the result of Roper to prohibit life without parole for killers and violent teens.

    Throughout their “studies,” lobbying efforts, and media efforts, this small but well-funded group of radicals have manufactured statistics about the scope of the problem, ignored the fact that the United States has a demonstrable juvenile crime problem, that LWOP for juvenile killers has been held constitutional by every state and federal court that has decided the issue, and that the United States has no international law obligation to ban teen LWOP.

    In 2009, they achieved a victory in Graham v. Florida when they convinced the United States Supreme Court to hold unconstitutional a life sentence for a brutal teen convicted of a violent non-homicide. They failed in their overall goal of having the high court strike down LWOP sentences for convicted murderers.  Thus, their campaign continues in court and at the state legislative level.

    Last week they lost a major case in a state supreme court.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a sentence of life without parole LWOP for a teen killer was constitutional.  The defendant was 14-years old when he savagely beat an unsuspecting 13-year old, and then threw him off of a 45-foot parking deck to his death.   The ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court was a blow to these radicals who for years have been pushing individual states to repeal LWOP for teen killers.

    The Wisconsin ruling hasn’t dissuaded Senator Leland Yee and those like him from attempting to free convicted cop killers and other 16 and 17-year old murderers in California.  Their policy proposal gives convicted murderers (who were 16 or 17 at the time of the offense), who were tried as adults and sentenced to LWOP up to five separate chances to be re-sentenced to less time.

    All the murderer has to do to “qualify” for reconsideration is prove to a judge that it is more likely than not that he either: (1) has performed acts that “tend to indicate rehabilitation or the potential for rehabilitation,” to include “availing himself or herself of rehabilitative, educational, or vocational programs;” (2) maintained family ties or connections with others through letter writing, calls, or visits, or;  (3) has had no disciplinary actions for violent activities in the last five years.

    Clearly, the proposal was written in a way to guarantee that California teen killers will receive a re-sentencing hearing.

    Among other arguments, Senator Yee asserts that SB9 makes economic sense in this era of tight budgets.  Yet experts who have studied this proposal conclude that passing SB9 would actually cost the taxpayers much more than simply keeping murderers behind bars for life—their original sentence.

    Daniel Horowitz, famed California criminal defense attorney and husband of murder victim Pam Vitale, conducted a study on the cost of implementing SB9.  He estimates that the cost per individual for court processes alone would be $127,000 to $635,000, depending on the number of parole hearings.  He concludes that the costs saved upon release are far outweighed by the supervision costs, the costs of public services, and the recidivism rate.

    Those opposing California Senate Bill 9 include the National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers, the California District Attorney Association, Citizens Against Homicide, Crime Victim’s Action Alliance, numerous California law enforcement associations, and other national victim’s rights organizations.

    Jan Scully, the elected District Attorney for Sacramento County, recently wrote a letter to the Senate Public Safety Committee strongly opposing the bill.  In her letter, she details the facts of two gruesome murders committed by teen killers in California, and concludes that if passed, SB9 would “allow the ruthless unrepentant cop-killer Siackasorn, and the sadistic torture murderer Abella, a chance at parole.”  DA Scully writes that SB9 would re-victimize the family members of the victims, and force them to “relive the events, probably many times, traveling to and speaking at each subsequent parole board hearing.”  She concludes that SB9 would “weaken” accountability in the criminal justice system.

    Most teen killers in California are tried in the juvenile court system, which is where most deserve to be tried.  Some are tried in adult court given the nature of their offenses.  And a few 16 and 17-year olds commit murder with special circumstances.  A small percentage of those, if convicted, are sentenced to LWOP.  There are approximately 260 such defendants, each of whom can petition the governor for redress.  If interested in reading about the actual crimes other California teen murderers committed by county, click here and read the real facts.  In fact, Governor Schwarzenegger recently  commuted two such sentences.  Furthermore, each defendant has a right to appeal his case, including his sentence.

    In short, the system, as it currently exists, is fair to the accused and the victim.  By giving convicted murderers a get-out-of-jail free card, policymakers will unnecessarily unleash a host of unintended consequences upon the citizens of California, re-victimize family members, levy an invisible tax on the tax payers given the additional costs associated with resentencing and release, and spring onto the streets violent thugs who were properly sentenced the first time.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to Convicted Murderers to Be Freed if California State Senator Gets His Way

    1. Low Life Kriminal says:

      Wow I never knew you guys hated young black men this much. You can throw your whole life away before your old enuff to vote a crime you could spend 50 years in jail for and it not be enuff locked up from 16 to 66 and No he's still dangerous don't let him out. But white collar criminals can destroy thousands and breed killers and thieves and never be punished what a HERITAGE!!!

      keep the thugs off the street and in jail doing there job/legal slavery

    2. John Pennington, San says:

      As is too common at Heritage, what you present is no better than half truth, dressed up in mocking "quotes" to belittle some thoughtful people. California has far too many people locked up, some of them LWOP because of minor violations of the 3-strikes law. California recidivism is also far too high. This is because we are "tough on crime", and have little interest in helping offenders learn to live responsibly and re-enter society. I doubt anyone is proposing to release any criminals who show no promise for rehabilitation. Heritage would be more useful if it tried to address the issues rather than promoting ideology.

    3. Bobbie says:

      So in other words, the value of a law abiding citizens life has less value then a convicted murderers under President Obama. Hmm…

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    6. Carol,AZ says:

      The recent CA Supreme Court decision to release 46,000 convicted offenders back into CA society is for ONE reason.

      CA is broke.

      This wacko decison is the CA two step, the quick fix to save money; at an undetermind risk to the citizens of CA.

      Also reported by CA, and reported here, half of these offenders are identified as illegals, from various South American countries and Mexico.

      There is no plan from CA to deport.

      Too lazy to full out the paper work, load-up the planes and dump them back home.

      Another home grown CA local headliner in this story is San Francisco top Sheriff , Mike Hennessey.

      His recent refusal, IS NOT to comply with the Federal ICE sponsered program, "Secure Community .

      This system is to check illegals arrested for misdemeanors and check their status through fingerprinting monitoring program to further check for, outstanding warrants.

      One county using ICE, S. C. system reported that 40% arrested have outstanding warrants.

      Top Sheriff has pulled the "sanctuary city card" once again stating, " The sanctuary city law aims to provide refuse for illegal immigration. "

      When any legal system breaks down and becomes sanctuary all level of the full force of the law to protect its ctizens, is symatically undermined and broken.

      The criminal is instantly elevated above the protection of its own citizens.This is certainly true in CA,

      Jim Koui, CCP, wrote an article in 2005 addressing this issue.

      He stated that,

      "In Los Angeles arrest warrrants for homicide reveals that 90% are for illegal aliens." LA felony arrest warrants ( murder, rape , armed robbery and child sexual abuse) showed that 65% are also illegal aliens. Further, 350 killers in CA ecaped back to Mexico and the MX Gov refused to extradite them back to the US to stand trial"

      Another study , a sample group of 55,000 criminal aliens committed 700,000 criminal acts.

      A few voices have complained over this recent decison in CA..

      One case sited, was in San F. in 2008.

      Three family members stopped at a traffic light were shot to death by a gang memeber who was an illegal immigrant and released from custody as a juvenile.

      So yes, Hennnessey sytem is working very well in CA.to "protect and give refuse."

      I wonder if someone in CA who managed to evolve into and upright position, would give the name of the 55,000 victems to Sheriff Hennessey, to memorize.

      That assuming he can read.

      if he can read.

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    8. Victims of Teen Kill says:

      Despite Mr. Pennington's protestations to the contrary, this article is entirely focused on the facts, and we as victims of these crimes, are grateful someone is telling the truth. Advocates from Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, and other offender advocate groups (who we believe should very much also be interested in protecting victims rights as part of their state missions) have actually been repeating misinformation about the few cases of 17 and 16 year old murderers convicted under special circumstances and sentenced to life. Read about there cases at the link above in Mr. Stimson's article. These facts taken directly from court records show the seriousness of these few offenders' cases. Yet HRW testimony in Sacramento stated false accounts of these crimes, minimizing the offender, repeating their version of the offense instead of what was proven in court, and misleading legislators about the USA's use of this sentence. We are not the only nation in the world that sentences teen killers to life and we are not dealing with offenders who did not know what they were doing. Those cases – the vast majority of teen killers – are treated in juvenile courts, appropriately.

    9. Victims of Teen Kill says:

      Despite Mr. Pennington's protestations to the contrary, this article is entirely focused on the facts, and we as victims of these crimes, are grateful someone is telling the truth. Advocates from Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, and other offender advocate groups (who we believe should very much also be interested in protecting victims rights as part of their stated missions) have actually been repeating misinformation about the few cases of 17 and 16 year old murderers convicted under special circumstances and sentenced to life. Read about there cases at the link above in Mr. Stimson's article. These facts taken directly from court records show the seriousness of these few offenders' cases. Yet HRW testimony in Sacramento stated false accounts of these crimes, minimizing the offender, repeating their version of the offense instead of what was proven in court, and misleading legislators about the USA's use of this sentence. We are not the only nation in the world that sentences teen killers to life and we are not dealing with offenders who did not know what they were doing. Those cases – the vast majority of teen killers – are treated in juvenile courts, appropriately.

    10. Joan M, Orinda, CA says:

      the system is so corrupted that most murderers get away with their crimes, are pled down on lesser charges and no one cares. Juries are instructed not to bring in “a hung jury”, “if you can’t decide, go to the next lower offense.” So, nine times out of ten, we’re just letting them out to do it again.

      We’ve become an apathetic society short on responsibility for our actions whether they are in committing crimes or bringing the perpetrators to responsibility.

      I completely disagree with your statement that the system works for both criminal and victim. You, apparently, have not taken a good look at the California courts.

    11. Joan M, Orinda, CA says:

      As far as "three strikes" in CA, people do not get life for minor infractions. Most times, those who commit violent assaults plead down to lesser crimes with "strike" removed from their records. Then, they get out in a couple of years and commit murders and plead to manslaughter. By the time they get tried for murder, they have usually committed more than one. Only about ten percent of violent crime actually ever comes to the court process. Most are plea bargained and no strikes are involved.

    12. Poole1Dan, Milford, says:

      In response to John Pennington:

      "As is too common at Heritage, what you present is no better than half truth, dressed up in mocking 'quotes' to belittle some thoughtful people."

      1. Did you cut yourself throwing stones from a glass house? You're from San Francisco, the same hell-hole that banned happy meals and has no-flush toilets that stink up the entire city. You have no business saying "as is too common" about anybody when your from a city thats a bigger enemy to the United States than everybody accept the Muslim terrorists in the Middle East!

      2. The fact that you are calling Leland Yee a "thoughtful person" when he proposed to unconditionally release hundreds of violent murderers is just as evil and repugnant as anything Al Queda has done. Maybe if one of these thugs slaughtered your wife or daughter you'd have a different mindset? I doubt it. You so-called pogressives have always insisted on showing "compassion" to rapists and murderers, and when you got your way in the 60's and 70's, violent crime and murder rates were at an all time high. Progressives like you have no heart, no soul, and no mind.

      "California has far too many people locked up, some of them LWOP because of minor violations of the 3-strikes law."

      That is completely irrelevant to the issue at hand, which is VIOLENT THUGS commiting UNCONSCIONABLE crimes! Did you even read what Cully Stimson wrote here about the numerous cases of juvenile criminals commiting horrendous crimes?

      "California recidivism is also far too high."

      Guess what the recidivism rate is of violent murderers who are either locked way for life, or much more preferably, given the death penalty? That would be ZERO percent.

      DUUUHHH!!!!

      "This is because we are 'tough on crime,' and have little interest in helping offenders learn to live responsibly and re-enter society"

      FALSE. What do you expect violent criminals to do when they are just released from prison like this far left senator proposes? THEY COMMIT MORE CRIMES!

      Any state that has a problem with high recidivism rates for rapists, murderers, and other violent criminals has simply FAILED to lock them away for life or give them the death penalty! Like I said: the recidivism rate when that happens is ZERO percent.

      "I doubt anyone is proposing to release any criminals who show no promise for rehabilitation"

      Yep, you definitely didn't read what Stimson wrote, because that's EXACTLY what Yee proposes to do!

      "Heritage would be more useful if it tried to address the issues rather than promoting ideology."

      85% of the time, thats exactly what Heritage does (social issues and military matters are the exception). They have a litany of spectacular research regarding:

      -Obamacare

      -Cap-and-trade

      -Economic issues (taxes, spending, regulations, etc)

      -Entitlement programs

      -And so much more

      In this case, Stimson does an excellent job exposing the devils work that Yee is pushing! "Ching-chong-ling-long-ting-tong" was invented for people like Yee!

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    14. Carol,AZ says:

      RSVP; John in San Fran..

      Since the Federal Program, Secure Community has been enforced across all 50 states, as of 5/31/2011:

      Of the states and counties that have enacted this program ,

      77,160 illegals living off of us, have been deported

      re .http://www.alipac.us/.6/3/11

      The bottom line in CA is the belief that CA, can continue to live above the law.

      Under our Federal Laws, " sanctuary" , IS illegal, period.

      This false protectionism may work in San. F for 300 more days since el senor Obama has told all of us: " that"he will not go after sanctuary cities."

      But that will clearly end .

      What is missing from all conversations from anyone I have spoken to about this problem in CA, is the object fear.

      CA has over 900 different gangs and certainly your jeevie promgam , LWOP is overwhelmed. NO surprise there.

      But you refuse to deport.

      YOU refuse to cut the illegal benefits. Your state budget is caving -in, no bail-outs coming for Nancy, albeit selling her plane , and CA still believe that it 's above the law to do what 31 other States are now doing which IS enofrcing the Fed. Laws. .

      CA Buss. are moving away and reinvesting in other states.

      9 out 10 of my neighbors are all transplant from CA.

      They all say the same thing.

      The school systems have been trashed. The sheriff Dept won't deport. The police are all paid to look the other way and yet you criticize the author of this article that is well researched.

      CA has created the perfect storm.

      If your looking to save money why aren't you deporting ~ 22,000 illegal offenders?

      Where is the reality for discussion over this issue to solve the problem?

      How many homeless are living and sleeping on the streets in San F.? I tried to find that out.

      I did find that ~ 60,000 in L.A. are living and sleeping on the streets every night .

      How can you ignore the results of CA's perfect storm?

    15. Mike, FL says:

      Ladies and gentlemen, we see yet again what the tangible results of ridiculous public policy has rendered on the Republic of California. California is beyond broke, and Sacramento is finding ways to sink the state even faster into chaos. Releasing criminals onto the streets, especially violent ones, and then completely restricting the general public's rights to protect themselves should result in some truely catastrophic results. Look no further than Sacramento and the California reps in Congress for the causes of the problems plaguing the state (and this nation).

      Perhaps the US should consider lengthening the border fence from the Mexican border north to Washington state, as California may very soon pose as big a danger to the continental US as Mexico does today.

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    17. Tim, San Jose says:

      You read sh*t, you obviously believe in sh*t. I read this article as a reference in the CDCR Daily Star news. This is the most absurd cr*p I have ever read, with not one shred of evidential or empirical evidence to back it up. It is full of nothing but nonsense. The majority of those that commented clearly don't read books or know how to do research. Funny, many of you aren't even from California. Please, before any next election, use that thing inside your skull for good. Stop spouting beliefs with no backing.

    18. Tim, San Jose says:

      By the way… if you did the research you would know that murderers (any degree) are the least likely to commit any crimes upon release (less than 3% recidivism rate) with sex offenders the second least to re-offend (less than 6% recidivism rate). Based on your opinions, these are the exact criminals that should be released. The highest recidivism rates belong to drug abusers and car thieves. Should they never be released from prison? Just based on FACT, that is exactly what this cr*ppy opinion implies.

    19. Mike, Oakland, CA says:

      Unfortunately this article's foundation is based on misguided fears and assuptions rather than facts. The fact is that no inmates will be released early to the community as a result of the recent Supreme Court ruling, but will instead be transferred to county jails to serve the remainder of their time. Therefore, the idea that "dangerous convicted criminals" will be coming to our neighborhoods is entirely false. This article is a perfect demonstration of the type of fear mongering that has resulted in California having such an out of control prison population, as well as influencing unequal sentencing laws and other legislation that have resulted in increased incarceration at a ridiculous cost to the state. The Foundary would be wise to check it's facts before writing an article that potentially influences public opinion regarding a critical issue for this state.

    20. Poole1Dan, Milford, says:

      Response to Tim in San Jose:

      "murderers (any degree) are the least likely to commit any crimes upon release (less than 3% recidivism rate) with sex offenders the second least to re-offend (less than 6% recidivism rate)."

      1. The recidivism rate for murderers and sex offenders who are either given the death penalty or put in prison for life is ZERO percent. Apropos:

      'It is often said that murderers are the criminals least likely to repeat their crimes. Does that statistic matter if you become the victim of one who bucks the trend?'

      http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/repeat_murder.htm

      2. Your statistics are misleading. The recidivism rate for murderers who commit any crime is something like 67 percent, while the recidivism rate for murderers who murder again is around what you said (per a 1994 USDOJ study). As for sex offenders:

      'Incest offenders ranged between 4 and 10 percent. Rapists ranged between 7 and 35 percent. Child molesters with female victims ranged between 10 and 29 percent. Child molesters with male victims ranged between 13 and 40 percent. Exhibitionists ranged between 41 and 71 percent.'

      http://www.sexoffender.com/sorecidivism_review.ht

      • JENIEL ADDINGTON says:

        THE FELONY MURDER RULE IS AGAINST A PERSONS CONSTATIONIAL RIGHTS… ITS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMET…..

        THE PROSACUTER IS RELIEVED OF PROVING INTENT TO KILL.

        i LISTENED TO THE DISTRIC ATTOURNEY SAY IT DOES NOT MATTER IF HE DID NOT COMIT GREAT BODILY INJURY. ALL I HAVE TO PROVE WAS HE ENTERED A DWELLING TO COMMIT ASSULT.

        IT ALSO WAS A FACT THAT THE PERSON WHO WAS ASSULTED WAS SELLING DRUGS TO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS…
        iM PROUD OF TROY FAVA FOR WANTING TO CHIN CHECK A LAME….
        WHO HAD IT COMMIN. hE WENT WITH JUST HIS FISTS.. THE MAN OR VICTIM ASSULTED DID NOT REQUIRE MEDICAL ATTENTION. IN THE PHOTOS TAKEN HE ONLY HAD 2 RED MARKS. ON HIS BODY….
        THAT IS HOW A JURY OF 12 CONVICTED TROY FAVE FOR MURDER….. HE DIDNT LEAVE WITH ANY PROPERTY…. AND YET HE WAS SENTENCED TO 35 TO LIFE….
        THIS IS AN OUTRAGE. IT IS A CRIME AGAINTS WHAT IS RIGHT.

    21. JENIELADDINGTON says:

      listen people tax payers….. the justice system sucks.
      ITR IS NOT JUSTICE IT IS JUST-US.
      EYE FOR AN EYE RIGHT.. THEY HAVE THE MURDERER… CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO 33 YEARS. THEY ALSO CONVICTED 2 OTHERS…… AND THE FORTH WALKED AWAY WITH 3 YEARS TIME SERVED…
      TROY FAVA DID NOT COMIT MURDER… THE LOCAL PRESS IS BIASED AND IF JUST PAPER PRINTED THE TRUTH I WOULD PROBABLY HAVE A HEART ATTACK.

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