Over the course of the coming week, the California Globe will be presenting a question and answer series with candidates running to become the state’s next Attorney General. We hope you find this informative.
As California’s chief law enforcement office, the Attorney General can have a massive impact on not only how criminal law is crafted but also implemented.
In the past few years, there has been an effort to, for lack of a better term, “move beyond” certain notions of criminal punishment, exactly how, when, and if transgressors should be held accountable for their actions.
So to start this series, we asked the following question:
Restorative justice, defund the police, and other similar recent movements and concepts have challenged some of the most long-standing tenants of law enforcement and public safety. What is your opinion of these ideas and would you as Attorney General work to increase or limit their scope?
And here are the answers of four of the five candidates – candidate and current Newsom-appointed incumbent Attorney General Rob Bonta did not submit an answer (more on that later):
California’s failed experiments in criminal justice reform have led to a “spiral of lawlessness” in our communities, where criminals know their actions go unpunished and double down on their behavior because they know they will get away with it. As Attorney General, I would reverse this damage and create a “spiral of lawfulness” where widespread accountability deters criminal behavior. However, just because the pendulum has swung far in one direction doesn’t mean the solution is to swing far back in the other. Mass-incarceration was never an effective solution, and I strongly believe in prison reform that rehabilitates prisoners and offers them a skill set and re-entry programs that then help them get a job when they are released.
“I would work to limit (and if possible, completely roll back) the scope of ‘restorative justice, defund the police,’ and other similar recent movements and concepts. These far-left efforts have been abject failures, all of which have led to California being what I call a ‘Criminals’ Paradise.’ We should be increasing funding, not decreasing funding to police. Concepts such as ‘Restorative Justice,’ ‘Reimagining Policing,’ and ‘Criminal Justice Reform’ favor those who commit crimes and put all of our law-abiding citizens in harm’s way. It is time to stop flinging open the prison cell doors, do all possible to institute cash bail again, fight the ongoing watering down of good time credits, and put our law-abiding citizens first again.”
Anne Marie Schubert:
“We have to return to holding people accountable for their actions. The pendulum has swung too far in one direction and a tsunami of bad laws have made California unsafe. I will lead the fight to change our laws to consider crimes like domestic violence as the violent crimes they are. I will lead the fight to end the state’s absurd policy of releasing violent felons before they complete even half their prison sentence and have not been rehabilitated.”
“Most long-standing tenants of law enforcement and public safety, i.e., “tough on crime” measures, have not worked. We need to work on preventing crime — not just waiting until a crime occurs and then impose the maximum punishment available. Punishment may deter some criminal activity, but we over-punish in most cases, which can actually increase recidivism. As a criminal defense attorney, I am on the front lines of the broken criminal justice system, and as the next Attorney General I would definitely work to increase the scope of restorative justice, police training and transparency, and other similar reforms. We need to end the death penalty, stop trying children as adults, end mass incarceration, reform the bail system, and end Three Strikes and other harsh sentencing enhancements. Most importantly, we need to create and fund intervention and treatment programs that would prevent crime in the first place.”
And now for our current Attorney General, Rob Bonta:
(null space, empty set, crickets, bupkus, nada, zip, zero)
Despite repeated assurances from the Bonta team that answers would be submitted, they have yet to deign to do so and it is unclear if they will in the coming days for future installments.
It is hoped that this failure is a simple oopsy, and not a sign that Bonta and his campaign are either incompetent or completely dismissive of the concerns of the voting public.
If, in fact, the Bonta team is attempting to follow Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall “thorny rose garden” strategy, it behooves us to remind the Attorney General of a few things:
1 – You’re not Gavin. He may very well have appointed you but you’re not exactly in the inner circle of the SanFran ruling clique so the slavish support of the Powers that Bay may not be terribly enthusiastic (unless you’ve already promised PG&E they will never be held civilly or criminally accountable ever again – in that case, you’re golden on that front).
2 – It’s now, not then. Terry McAuliffe’s lose – while re-running Newsom’s campaign – in Virginia should show your team that, let alone the polling numbers surrounding issues like crime.
3 – It is true that you will be treated beyond extremely well by a complicit media, but as an appointed official with little statewide cachet prior to enthronement not getting your word out at every level is not a good idea.
4 – You’re asking the people of California to keep you, in large part, in charge of the state’s (at best) flagging criminal justice system – your silence will be deafening.
And we’ll be back tomorrow with a new question!
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