Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's May Revise would restore millions of dollars to the UC budget
By Neil Paik, Daily Bruin -- Funding for the University of California was a top priority for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday in his May Revise, as he proposed restoring millions of dollars to the UC budget, along with more than $50 million to support student access. In addition to the restoration of funding to the UC, Schwarzenegger also included an item that would reinstate capital for the competitive Cal Grants program. While higher education may have been a top priority for the Governor’s May Revise, other facets of California’s economy were not treated as kindly. The revise also proposed shifting portions of the state prison inmate population to county jails.
Kagan wins case on imprisonment of sex offenders
Associated Press -- Supreme Court justices on Monday handed a victory to the woman who could soon be joining them, upholding a federal law allowing for the indefinite imprisonment of inmates considered "sexually dangerous." Although the dispute was over the continuing imprisonment of people who have finished serving their sentences, the issue before the court was whether Congress has authority to step into an area usually handled by the states.
High court ruling won't impact California sex offender law
By Sam Stanton, Sacramento Bee -- Today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sex offenders will have no impact on how sexually violent predators and other high-risk offenders are handled in California, state officials say. The ruling held that federal officials can indefinitely hold sex offenders after they complete their prison sentence if there is a chance they will commit new sex offenses. California already has a similar state law that allows offenders who complete their prison sentences to be committed to the Coalinga State Hospital if they are found to be a sexually violent predator or high-risk offender.
Supreme Court deals major blow to sex offenders
By Robert Moon, San Francisco Examiner -- In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that dangerous convicted sexual predators like John Albert Gardner III can be imprisoned beyond their official sentences. Gardner was convicted in 2000 of forcibly molesting a 13-year-old girl and did a whopping five years in prison...at which point he was released and violated his parole seven separate times with impunity before murdering King and Dubois.
Predators' paradise: Coalinga mental hospital
By John Wilkens, San Diego Union Tribune -- When most people think about locking up violent sex offenders, maybe forever, the state mental hospital here isn’t what they envision. A spacious central mall features a store, a cafeteria, a barbershop, a library and a gymnasium. Windows look out onto small gardens. The residents here — 800 child molesters and rapists deemed too dangerous to release when their prison sentences ended — live in brightly colored dormitories. Coalinga opened in August 2005, the first state hospital built in California in 50 years. It cost $388 million. Almost from the beginning, the facility has been an awkward hybrid, part prison and part hospital. In its own way, this is a place of learning, and an expensive one — $185,000 a year per person.
Sex Offenders Found Living in Clusters in SoCal, Find Out Where
By Eric Spillman, KTLA -- A KTLA analysis of the Megan's Law database finds clusters of sex offenders living in some Southern California neighborhoods, while others have virtually none. Most have done time for victimizing kids. They live in run-down apartments. Thirty of them in this one building, The Harbor Inn, where the manager, who told us his name was Joseph, makes no apologies. Some prosecutors think California needs to get tougher on sex offenders by keeping them in prison longer, monitoring them with GPS for life, or forcing them to live farther away from people.
High Profile Cases:
Gardner press conference yields few new details
By Kimberly Dvorak, SF Examiner -- Now that John Gardner has been convicted and sentenced to three life terms in prison for Chelsea King and Amber Dubois murders, the San Diego law enforcement community held a collective press conference to answer questions from the media. Details that stood out included acknowledgment that Gardner was taken out of county jail on a field trip to point out where he buried Amber Dubois’ body. Authorities say the excursion lasted approximately three hours. Law enforcement representatives at the press conference invoked Marcy’s Law several times to prevent the media from the gory details that are protected under the California law. This law ensures victims’ families are reasonably shielded from gruesome details that could cause undo stress and privacy issues.
San Diego sex offender gets life in prison for killing teenage girls
By Randy Kalp, Crime Voice -- Convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner III will spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of two North County teenage girls, a San Diego Superior Court judge ruled Friday. Judge David Danielsen didn’t mince words when he sentenced Gardner to two terms of life in prison for murdering Chelsea King and Amber Dubois. Additionally, Gardner received an additional 25 years to life for an attempted sexual assault on a 22-year-old Colorado woman near Lake Hodges in San Diego. Gardner, 31, pleaded guilty April 16 to the kidnapping, rape and killing of Dubois as well as the rape and murder of King.
At sentencing, families unleash rage at murderer
By John Wilkens, San Diego Union Tribune -- There were few surprises but plenty of raw emotion Friday afternoon as Gardner was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering Chelsea King, 17, of Poway and Amber Dubois, 14, of Escondido. Now Gardner is off to state prison, where he will join more than 3,900 others serving life-without-parole terms in California. The sentence he received Friday from Superior Court Judge David Danielsen — actually two life-without-paroles for the murders, and a third life term for the assault on Moncayo — was expected. It was the product of a deal, announced last month, that enabled Gardner to escape the death penalty by pleading guilty to the rapes and murders of Amber and Chelsea.
Mom says she felt disgust toward daughter's killer
Associated Press -- The mother of a California teen who was raped and murdered in February says she felt a "wave of disgust" when she confronted her daughter's killer at his sentencing last week. John Albert Gardner III was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for attacks on King and 14-year-old Amber Dubois. Kelly King says she wanted Gardner to see "all the pain and anguish" her family has suffered.
Escondido police said Gardner never on the radar
By Chris Nichols and Edward Sifuentes, North County Times -- During a news conference Monday, authorities disclosed new details about their search for Gardner, the registered sex offender who confessed in March to raping and murdering Amber in February 2009 and 17-year-old Chelsea King in February 2010. Authorities on Monday also revealed that Gardner remains a suspect in several other assault-type cases in San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties, although they do not believe he is responsible for any other murders. On Monday, for the first time, law enforcement detailed their "Gardner Task Force." It was formed shortly after Gardner's arrest to determine whether he was responsible for any other crimes since his release from prison in 2005.
In Amber case, the focus was elsewhere
By John Wilkens, San Diego Union Tribune -- In the 13 months that Amber Dubois was missing, John Gardner was never a suspect, Escondido police said Monday. Even though he was registered as a sex offender living just two miles from her school. Instead, they were looking for a “doughy” teenage boy and a red pickup and trying to figure out if Amber was a runaway. The focus on the eyewitness reports and the truck kept Gardner off their radar, Escondido police Capt. Bob Benton said during the news conference Monday.
Convicted killer John Albert Gardner III a possible assault suspect in three counties, police say
By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times -- Convicted killer and rapist John Albert Gardner III is being investigated as a possible suspect in assaults in San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, law enforcement officials said Monday. Gardner was sentenced Friday in San Diego Superior Court to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence was part of a plea bargain in which the 31-year-old registered sex offender escaped the death penalty in exchange for pleading guilty to murdering both teenagers during rape attempts.
CDCR Related & Miscellaneous:
Court rejects life sentences for some youths
By Adam Liptak, New York Times -- The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that juveniles who commit crimes in which no one is killed may not be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Five justices, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, agreed that the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment forbids such sentences as a categorical matter. The ruling marked the first time that the court excluded an entire class of offenders from a given form of punishment outside the context of the death penalty. Life sentences with no chance of parole are rare for juveniles tried as adults and convicted of crimes less serious than killing. California is one of only a few states that had permitted sentences of life without parole for juveniles convicted of non-homicides, but as of November 2009, there were only four such inmates in the state's prisons, according to state Department of Corrections figures.
Court rules out some life sentences for juveniles
By Mark Sherman, Associate Press -- The Supreme Court took two cracks at one of the law's thorniest questions Monday: When can you lock up a prisoner and throw away the key? Not when it's a teenager who hasn't killed anyone, the justices said. By a 5-4 vote, the court said young people serving life prison terms must have "a meaningful opportunity to obtain release" if they haven't killed their victims. Life sentences with no chance of parole are rare for juveniles tried as adults and convicted of crimes less serious than killing, although roughly three dozen states allow for the possibility of such prison terms.
Impact in California
By Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle -- There are currently four youths serving life-without-parole sentences in California for non-homicide cases, said Elizabeth Calvin of the advocacy group Human Rights Watch. The Supreme Court ruling, which the organization supported, makes those inmates eligible for parole in the future. About 250 prisoners in California are serving life-without-parole sentences for homicides committed when they were under 18, Calvin said. The bill would allow most juveniles sentenced to life without parole to seek a new hearing before their sentencing judge after 10 years of imprisonment.
Man whose murder conviction was dismissed is freed from prison
By Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times -- The California Innocence Project argued that Reggie Cole's conviction in a 1994 slaying stemmed from fabricated evidence. On Sunday, he celebrated his release with relatives in Los Angeles. Sixteen years after the gunshot slaying he insists he didn't commit, and 10 years after the fatal prison stabbing he says he was forced to commit, Reggie Cole stepped out of prison this weekend a free man. The California Innocence Project argued that his conviction in the 1994 slaying stemmed from fabricated evidence, and prosecutors threw out the case in July even as detectives insisted he was guilty. He remained in prison until this week, serving time on a manslaughter conviction for the prison stabbing.
Learn more about day reporting centers in SM tonight
Lompoc Record -- Those who are interested in learning more about day reporting centers for recently paroled inmates can attend an informational meeting that is being held by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. Representatives from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the organization that will run the centers, Community Solutions, Inc., will be at the gathering to explain the purpose of day reporting centers and the role they play in reducing prison overcrowding and lowering the rate of recidivism.
Court right to restrict juvenile life sentences
San Francisco Chronicle -- The U.S. Supreme Court took a modest but important stand against cruel and unusual punishment Monday by ruling that juveniles who commit crimes that do not result in a death cannot be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This ruling was much narrower than it should have been. Only four California inmates serving terms of life without parole were sentenced as juveniles in non-homicide cases. More than 250 California inmates were sentenced as juveniles to life without parole for crimes involving a killing. Yee's bill is anything but soft on crime. It would still give the courts the ability to lock up juvenile offenders who commit heinous crimes for extended periods.