A Simple Challenge for Governor Brown
by George Hofstetter
The ballot arguments for and against Proposition 57 have just been published in the Official Voter Information Guide. I proudly signed the argument against this terribly dangerous proposition, along with San Francisco Police Officer Association President Martin Halloran and California District Attorney Association (CDAA) President Stephen Wagstaffe, who is the District Attorney of San Mateo County. I urge everyone to read our factual arguments against the initiative.
CDAA, an organization comprised of the 58 District Attorneys in California, has presented a detailed and thorough analysis of Proposition 57. It is what one expects from prosecutors. Even the Governor’s own spokesperson admitted the CDAA analysis “was correct” and in the words of veteran Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters, applies to “despicably violent crimes.”
The rebuttal to our ballot argument against this initiative is simply spin and chutzpah of the highest order. Take this gem: “Prop 57 does not prevent Judges from issuing tough sentences.” Well, no kidding. Prop 57 instead allows the Parole Board to undo those “tough sentences” by not making inmates serve the consecutive sentences and sentence enhancements which made the sentence “tough.” Equally disingenuous is the statement Prop 57 does not change a federal court order that excludes sex offenders from court-mandated prison release. As Michele Hanisee pointed out, Prop 57 allows sex offenders early release by, for example, allowing them to be released without serving the consecutive sentence imposed by a Judge for sexually assaulting multiple victims.
I have three simple questions for Governor Brown and supporters of Prop 57 that can be answered “yes” or “no”:
1. Does Proposition 57 allow early release and parole for violent inmates who committed crimes such as rape of an unconscious person, rape by intoxication, assault with a deadly weapon, arson, or hostage taking?
2. Does Proposition 57 allow for state officials to reduce the sentences for “good behavior” for those convicted of murder, rape, child molestation, and human trafficking?
3. Does Proposition 57 overturn key provisions of “Three strikes”, “Marsy’s Law”, the “Victim’s Bill of Rights” and “Californian’s Against Sexual Exploitation Act”?
These three issues aren’t difficult questions to answer. If anyone needs help, I suggest that they consult the same excellent CDAA summary the Governor’s spokesperson used when stating the answer to the three questions above was “yes.”
Just like the media has done with both Presidential candidate’s convention speeches, I strongly urge reporters to begin fact-checking the arguments for and against Prop. 57. I will continue to point out the false statements in the Governor’s ballot argument in future blogs, and I encourage everyone to read my previous columns on this issue; (1) Governor Brown’s Prisoner Release Initiative is a Bad Idea (2) Governor Brown’s initiative will make Proposition 47’s failure seem like child’s play and (3) Governor Brown’s misleading initiative campaign hits a new low.