Home>Articles>Tulare DA Warns of Bill to Release ‘Worst-of-the-Worst’ Murderers After 25 Years

In California’s major cities, homicides rose by roughly 17 percent in the last year. Homicides in Los Angeles reached their highest total in 15 years. (Photo: Eva Carre/Shutterstock)

Tulare DA Warns of Bill to Release ‘Worst-of-the-Worst’ Murderers After 25 Years

‘These are murderers who killed multiple victims or killed in concert with a rape, robbery, kidnapping or torture’

By Katy Grimes, July 6, 2023 8:49 am

One of the worst anti-victim, soft-on-crime bills looks as if it will be passed by the California Legislature under the guise of criminal justice “reforms,” Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward told the Globe Wednesday.

Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward. (Photo: tulareda.org)

Senate Bill 94 by Sen. Dave Cortese (D-Santa Clara), “would give the state’s worst, most heinous murderers, who have been sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole (LWOP), the opportunity to have their sentences invalidated and make them eligible for parole,” Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation wrote in April at the Globe.

“If this bill passes the Legislature and Governor Newsom signs it, they are telling you that there is no crime so violent, so depraved, or so heinous that grants perpetual protection of our society,” DA Ward said. “This bill is a sham and an affront to the people of California.”

Why would any state lawmaker, sworn to uphold the California and United States Constitutions, support this lawlessness as Democrats in the California Legislature are?

The Legislature has tried to pass zero bail, despite many District Attorneys and Assistant District Attorneys warning how anti-criminal justice this concept is. One bail agent told the Globe that legislators want to kill the (bail) industry, while making it seem like judges retain discretion for bail, but they don’t because of the language about defendants’ “ability to pay.”

According to DA Ward, who also is President of the California District Attorneys Association, SB 94 is “the continuation of a social experiment run amok.”

He’s talking about so-called criminal justice “reforms” which primarily serve to undermine the rule of law in California.

Besides taking another swipe at California’s legal system, Ward said this bill is a “travesty to victims’ families.” Ward said victims and their families are told that life without parole means “no leniency, and especially in a death sentence.” But this bill completely undermines “no leniency.”

Senate Bill 94 would allow an individual serving a sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole due to special circumstance murder to petition the court to recall the sentence and re-sentence to a lesser sentence if:

• the offense occurred before June 5, 1990

• they served at least 25 years in custody

DA Ward also said the California Legislature is purposefully creating a vague law which will tie judge’s hands. “This is chipping away at the legal system,” DA Ward added, “and will release the worst of the worst murderers.”

SB 94 allows a judge the authority to resentence life-without-parole murderers 25-to-life, which under this bill, makes them eligible for parole having already served at least 25 years in prison.

Ward also noted that SB 94 is “another unfunded mandate,” with no additional funding for county DAs and prosecutors. Ward said these murderers will come back into court which will be expensive, and cost prosecutors additional time and funding, for cases they long ago tried and prosecuted for murderers they thought were sentenced to life in prison. “How is this sailing through the Appropriations Committees?” he asked.

Ward also warned that the bill says “we as prosecutors no longer can write our own conditions.” The prosecutor decides which crimes to charge, not the judge.

In May, prior to amendments, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office posted on Facebook, In Tulare County, this would mean the possible release of the following inmates, among others:

Michael Allen Hamilton: Murdered wife with a shotgun in 1981. Sentenced to death in 1982, appealed. Currently serving life without the possibility of parole.

Ryan Michael Marshall: Sentenced to death in 1986 for 1985 execution style murder of 58-year-old woman during home invasion. Currently serving life without the possibility of parole.

Joseph James DeAngelo: Murdered 13 people in California in 70’s and 80’s, including Professor Claude Snelling in Visalia. Known as the Golden State Killer. Currently serving multiple life without parole sentences.

Steven Walter Gomez: Murder with special circumstances for 1985 Visalia murder and sexual assault of woman. Conviction result of cold case DNA hit. Currently serving life without parole.

When this devastating information was provided to the Legislature in May, Ward said they “watered SB 94 down so it’s not so aggressive” through amendments. Those now ineligible under SB 94 are:

  1. The individual was convicted of first degree murder of a peace officer engaged in performance of their duties or of a peace officer or former peace officer in retaliation for the performance of their official duties;
  2. b)  The individual was convicted of first-degree murder as the actual killer of three or more people; or
  3. c)  The individual was convicted of a sexual offense committed in conjunction with the homicide for which the petitioner is serving an LWOP sentence. Defines “sexual offense” as rape, sodomy, lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 years of age, rape by instrument; and oral copulation.

“The beneficiaries of this measure, if passed, will be criminals convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances,” Rushford wrote. “These are murderers who killed multiple victims or killed in concert with a rape, robbery, kidnapping or torture. While it would seem unthinkable for any legislator, let alone a group of them, to want their names on a bill that would allow murderers like these to go free, bear in mind that Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, Alameda County DA Pamela Price and California Attorney General Rob Bonta all support setting murderers free after 15-20 years in prison.”

“Is it too much to ask of survivors to have truth in sentencing in court?” Ward asked.

The co-sponsor of the bill, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, explains their support:

“SB 94 aims to reach a population locked into extreme sentences from decades ago that are inconsistent with our present-day sentencing practices, taking mitigating factors into account.”

The Ella Baker Center offers no consideration of the victims of these heinous murderers. They highlight the “reforms to restore judicial discretion” by Legislature and support “allowing judges to consider mitigating factors at sentencing,” rather than the prosecutors. “Although individuals sentenced to LWOP have no path to parole today, many have exhibited decades of exemplary behavior, participated in extensive positive programming, have come to understand the contributing factors which led to their incarceration, and have devoted themselves to becoming positive members of society,” the Ella Baker Center concludes.

Notably, the entire staff and Board of Directors at the Ella Baker Center list their pronouns.

Convicted murderers are supposed to be confined and denied certain freedoms under the authority of the state as punishment for their crimes. If they demonstrate “exemplary behavior” as a result of their incarceration, good for them. But it does nothing to bring back the victims they murdered, or provide solace to their families.

The opposition to SB 94 was provided by the San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association:

“By enacting Proposition 115, the voters of this state have told us they want to keep the worst of the worst in prison where they belong. If they feel differently, Penal Code section 1385.1 should be amended by them in a future initiative or legislatively referred ballot proposition. Dragging these murderers back into court will be prohibitively expensive, tie up judicial resources, and inflict further pain upon their victims. By creating presumptions favoring the release of these murderers, SB 94 will create unjustifiable risks to public safety.

“We strongly urge you to consider the unintended consequences to the families of victims and the public who potentially will lose faith in the judicial process and the finality of judgments.”

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17 thoughts on “Tulare DA Warns of Bill to Release ‘Worst-of-the-Worst’ Murderers After 25 Years

  1. Who are these TEN groups co-sponsoring this dangerous bill??? I find this very disturbing, these groups and the legislators need to be called out.

  2. Are the constituents of Democrat Senator Dave Cortese in District 15 demanding that he author legislation like Senate Bill 94 that would give the state’s worst, most heinous murderers, who have been sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole, the opportunity to have their sentences invalidated and make them eligible for parole? Probably not? Is Dave Cortese getting financial incentives to push this insane legislation? The only white men left in the Democrat party like Dave Cortese are corrupt to the core? As Enough Already asked in the post above, who are the ten groups co-sponsoring this insane bill and who is funding those groups? Maybe it’s one of the WEF globalist billionaires like George Soros and his Open Society Foundation? Maybe it’s the CCP? Hmmm?

    1. SanJoseInside reported election controversies involving Democrat Sen. Dave Cortese in the 2020 election who was then a Santa Clara County Supervisor. A complaint filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleging that Cortese failed to make advertisement disclaimers as outlined in California’s Political Reform Act, used his county email and phone number on materials sent out by his campaign, and did not include the required “paid for by” disclosure in his emails. Cortese and his campaign manager claimed that the advertisements came from a consultant and didn’t originate from his campaign office. However, records show that the consultant had disseminated Cortese’s campaign correspondence in the past. Ooops! After one of Cortese’s prominent campaign donors was indicted on charges of bribery, Cortese and his wife, East Side Union High School District trustee Pattie Cortese, decided to hand the cash over to two locally based nonprofits.

    2. It didn’t even occur to me that George Soro’s $$ could be involved with these groups. You have to check out their websites, very concerning!

    3. Spot on – which is why I linked to all of the support groups. Most of them lead a trail back to Soros’ Open Society one way or another.

  3. Shockingly and inexplicably, but certainly not for the first time, these Dem/Marxist legislators and their Dem/Marxist backers are PROUD of flipping the bird at the CA citizenry. These legislators seem to LOVE spitting on their oath then flushing it down the toilet. Again and again. How DARE they do this? Their first and most important job is to protect CA citizens. Do they care? NAH……

    SB 94 passed the Senate and is in Asm Appropriations Committee now. Then has to pass the full Assembly, (so find and contact your Asm rep ASAP). Then back to the Senate (I presume?), so I will be contacting both my Asm rep and Senator.

    Contact your Assembly rep first. ASAP. Insist they Vote NO on SB 94!
    We can’t have this. These creepy scofflaws keep crying crocodile tears for heinous murderers, without end. What fakes they are, creators of chaos. Do they give one moment’s thought to devastated victims of crime? NO. What do they care?
    We have to do everything we can to stop this crap in its tracks.
    And take names to OUST these people from being anywhere NEAR lawmaking authority, starting with the shameless group of “electeds” below. And of course anyone who would recklessly vote to actually PASS such an outrage as this.

    SB 94 – Author – Senator Dave Cortese (D-Santa Clara)
    “Co-authors of SB94 include Democrat Senators Josh Becker (D-San Mateo), Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and Assemblywoman Corrie Jackson (D-Riverside) and Assemblywoman Akilah Weber (D-San Diego).”

    1. SB 94 originally would have allowed the so-called Golden State Killer and others as monstrous to be eligible for release. If you have the stomach for it, please take a look at this article from this October 2020 ABCNews report.
      “[Victim] Carson-Sandler said that now, decades later, scars from her attack remain. Seeing a ski mask or hearing someone yell ‘shut up’ will ‘forever cause me anxiety,’ she said.

      ‘My comfort at those times is remembering that you are finally going to prison and will remain there until you die,’ she said.”

  4. This is utter insanity, how about no bail out on any, & every violent offense, longer mandatory time, & no parole offered to murderer’s, period, especially domestic violence offenders. I cannot imagine how helpless it must feel knowing your abuser is going to bail out & free to roam in less than a day, it is hard enough for a victim to step forward, they should not have to come to the realization that they made a mistake, the decision of bail should have the input of the victim

  5. Of course Scott Weiner is a co-sponsor! OF COURSE! That man is a one person wrecking ball in this state! His goal is to unleash absolute debauchery and deviance on this state; Lawlessness is just one aspect of this plan.

    Who do these people think they are?! How dare they continually overrule and ignore the will of the people? Too many voters and non voters are asleep in this state. Fix California is right to register as many conservative voters as possible; I only hope that they are challenging people to connect their votes with consequences that impact their lives for the worse along the way.

  6. Vigilantism to deal with crime cannot be very far away if the so called educated leaders in Sacramento keep on insisting that the criminal is of more importance than the victim. It is not anything that should happen but I can see it happening. Stop worshipping the mediocre, California.

  7. My husband, Ross Elvey, was beaten with a metal pipe in his place of business in Vista CA. on 4-28-93 by two juvenile, Damion Miller, age 15, Kristopher Kirchner, age 16 . Two killers stole 7 handguns. Ross had 25 skull fractures and was in a coma for 41 days and passed away on 6-7-93. Kirchner sentenced to LWOP, Senator Yee came along, passed a bill, we couldn’t put juveniles in prison for life. Kirchner was in to many bad crimes while in prison, He almost killed another inmate in Folsom Prison, was sentenced to 18 to 25 years..Along came a wacky legislator who took that sentence away. If you are in prison and under the age of 26 when you comment a crime, you will not receive a sentence. Kirchner lost that sentence also. Kirchner was paroled on 5/24/23 Parole hearings were held on 5/15/23 and 5/16/23, 29, hearings, 28 were released and 1 kept in prison… Wonder why the murder count is going up!!!! What is wrong with Legislators who come up with stupid
    legislation…no conern for Public Safety and Victims Rights

    1. Maggie Elvey – I am so sorry to hear your story and so sorry to hear of your very tragic loss.
      Even though difficult, I’m sure, it was nevertheless good of you to tell it here, in hopes that through such personal stories we as citizens can begin to put the brakes on this outrage by our current governor and these legislators, who obviously have NO CLUE about the experience of victims of crime, particularly the victims of violent crime, and the agony of their loved ones whose suffering is only aggravated by the reckless and foolish legislation of our “leadership.”
      Wishing you well. God bless you.

      1. Thank you for your kindness showandtell. We need to let the public know about the problem with California crime and leadership that let it all happen with no punishment. Thanks again for your imput on this crime problem and the crazy leadership in Sacramento.

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