Living in the Golden State has become dangerous. Crime is spiking throughout California – violent crimes, shootings and homicides (up 31%), as well as non-violent crimes. This is no secret.
On the heels of a deadly July 4th weekend in Los Angeles city and county where 16 people were killed, and in Oakland where there were seven shootings, two deaths and a huge sideshow described as “12 hours of nonstop chaos” by the Oakland police Chief, Legislative Democrats brought a bill out of the inactive file that reduces penalties for criminals convicted of the most heinous crimes.
Democrats in the State Capitol decided to revisit Senate Bill 300, legislation that would reduce the sentence for individuals convicted of the most serious and heinous murders.
Not only would it allow a judge to reduce the penalty for the actual killer, preventing life in prison and the death penalty, but it also prohibits the prosecution and sentencing of individuals who aid the killer in their crimes even when they act with reckless indifference to human life.
It’s as if the elected Assembly members and Senators don’t experience any of the spiking crimes that too many Californians are subjected to daily.
According to the Senate analysis, SB 300 “repeals the provisions of state law that requires punishment by death or life-without-parole for persons convicted of murder in the first degree who are not the actual killer, but acted with reckless indifference to human life as a major participant in specified dangerous felonies.
Does this make California streets safer?
Within minutes of being sworn in, Gascón announced he would be getting rid of all crime enhancements, and eliminating cash bail, despite California voters rejecting the elimination of cash bail in the November election.
In a statement on his first day, D.A. George Gascón said this:
“The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office will advance an effective, ethical and racially equitable system of justice that protects the community, restores victims of crime, and honors the rights of the accused. We are a learning organization that believes in reduced incarceration and punishment except in circumstances in which it is proportional, in the community’s interest, and serves a rehabilitative or restorative purpose.”
Gascón says he believes enhancements are ineffective and racist and claims his policies are not unethical.
SB 300 in would repeal a major provision of Proposition 115, passed by voters in 1990 to provide that a person, not the actual killer, who is found guilty of first-degree murder, and who, with reckless indifference to human life and as a major participant in certain specified violent felonies, aided, abetted, counseled, commanded, induced, solicited, requested, or assisted in the commission of that felony, shall be punished by death or imprisonment in the state prison without the possibility of parole.
Support and sponsorship of SB 300 comes from the usual suspects: California Coalition for Women Prisoners (co-source), Californians United for a Responsible Budget (co-source), Drop LWOP Coalition (co-source), Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (co-source), Families United to End LWOP (co-source), Felony Murder Elimination Project (co-source), and the Silicon Valley De-Bug (co-source).
These groups say in their support of SB 300, “The death penalty and life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) are punishments so extreme they are virtually unheard of in much of the world.”
Opposition to SB 300 comes from California District Attorneys Association, California Police Chiefs Association, Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association, and Peace Officers’ Research Association of California.
They say in their opposition statement, “Prop 15 was passed because the voters recognized that regardless of whether an individual was the actual person who committed the murder, the fact that they had participated in the act, with the intent to kill or knowing full well their actions could cause the death of someone, is just as egregious as the act of murder itself. Under this legislation, if two individuals shoot at a law enforcement officer and that officer dies, but it is proven that only one bullet killed the officer, then the person whose shot did not hit the officer will not be subject to the same penalties of the actual shooter.”
Does this make California streets safer?
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