Monday, November 14, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Giuseppe Ricapito, The Union Democrat

A man with a prison sentence may feel trapped by his past, even after release.

The New Professionals Career Development Program at the Sierra Conservation Center, the prison located on the outskirts of Jamestown, is trying to change that.

“We do it despite the challenges,” said Ralph Contreras, 43, inmate and project manager for a 2016 graduating class working on building a business plan for a Special Olympics softball game in Tuolumne County. “We keep pushing forward.”

“It helps us understand the business aspects, yes, but we are the project essentially. We can manage our lives and know that in our past we were working for success but didn’t understand the language. We are the project managers of our own lives.”

Ted Rowlands, FOX News

SAN QUENTIN, Calif. (KTVU) - When Scott Peterson was found guilty of killing his wife Laci and unborn son Conner 13 years ago, his family began the fight for a new trial.

Now, 13 years later, they believe there's a very good chance that Scott could someday go free. "We'd be very surprised if Scott's conviction isn't overturned" says Scott's sister Janey Peterson.

DEATH PENALTY

Brian Melley, The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES- The fight over the death penalty never seems to die.

Even though it's not yet certain if opponents lost both capital punishment ballot measures, they pre-emptively asked the state Supreme Court to block Proposition 66 that would speed up executions.

The first volley in what could be a protracted legal battle rankled death penalty supporters and could be a harbinger of a long road ahead if the reform measure goes into effect and shakes up the way appeals are handled.

Inmates sentenced in Kings County could return to local courts
Mike Eiman, The Sentinel

Some death row inmates sentenced in Kings County may soon return to local courts following the passage of Proposition 66, which seeks to reduce delays in the state’s death penalty process.

About 51 percent of voters approved Proposition 66, which requires the state court officials to expand the number of attorneys who can represent death-row inmates. Once an attorney is appointed, inmates and courts will have five years to review any appeals challenging a death sentence.

Jazmine Ulloa, The Los Angeles Times

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As executions have declined and public opinion of the death penalty has hit a record low nationwide, many looked to California as a test of whether the public — not courts or governments — was ready to overturn the practice.

But California voters on Tuesday defeated a measure to repeal capital punishment and, as of Thursday, were on course to narrowly approve a dueling proposition that aims to amend and expedite it.

Death penalty supporters lauded the outcome, saying it reflected what they have been pointing to all along: Most Americans want the system fixed, not ended.

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California man once known as the nation's worst serial killer was denied parole again for murdering and mutilating more than two-dozen farmworkers 45 years ago, officials said Thursday.

Juan Vallejo Corona, 82, was denied parole for another five years and will keep serving his life sentence in Corcoran State Prison, corrections department spokesman Luis Patino said.

Corona, a farm labor contractor with a history of mental illness, was convicted of killing and mutilating 25 men with a meat cleaver, machete, double-bladed ax and wooden club that investigators found in his home, all stained with blood. The bodies were found all at once, but he said in 2011 that the slayings occurred over a year.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

This past Election Day there were several California propositions on the ballot that were criminal justice related
Bob Walsh, Corrections One

California has a very lively 100-plus year history of referendum and initiative direct democracy on the ballot. This has given us some very significant things, like Proposition 13 in 1978 which limited property tax increases to prevent people from being “taxed out” out their homes and “Three Strikes” in 1994 which dropped the hammer on career criminals.

Mike Reynolds, the man behind “Three Strikes,” originally went to the legislature with his proposal. His daughter was murdered by two career criminals. He was told to go home. He did and got the ball rolling on a ballot initiative. He was so successful the legislature eventually passed its own version of the law in an attempt to short-stop him. He continued anyway and got the initiative passed, making it much harder to diminish or alter its requirements.

Frank Stoltze, KPCC

Another defeat at the ballot box this week for California law enforcement leaders. For months, many police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors urged voters to reject Proposition 57, which will give thousands of state prisoners an early opportunity to be released.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure 63.59 percent to 36.41 percent.

The passage of Proposition 57 is only the latest measure to roll back the policies of the 1980s and 90s when crime rates were much higher than they are today.

In 2014, voters approved Proposition 47, which reduced certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors. It also made petty theft, receiving stolen property and writing bad checks (under $950) misdemeanors instead of felonies.

OPINION

Marjorie Hernandez , Ventura County Star

Law enforcement officials say they are concerned the passage of a new law that provides early parole consideration will place more felons “back on the streets” without addressing crucial program gaps.

California voters on Tuesday passed Proposition 57 by a wide margin, with about 64 percent voting yes. The proposition, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, was touted as a cost-saving measure to address the ballooning prison population. It would impact roughly 30,000 inmates who were convicted of nonviolent crimes and are eligible for parole.

The bill would allow these inmates credits for good behavior and for educational milestones they accomplish. Prop. 57 has another component that will allow a judge to decide whether a minor should be tried as an adult. That decision was previously made by prosecutors.

Lauren Krisai, The OC Register

One of the ballot initiatives Californians passed on Tuesday promises to pose a number of unfortunate problems for the state in the coming years: Proposition 66. This measure, which was marketed as a “fix” to California’s death penalty, will only further entrench problems that exist with an inherently broken system.

After Prop. 66’s passage, all post-conviction proceedings in death penalty cases will now be moved from the California Supreme Court to state trial courts, which are the same courts that handed down the death sentences originally. State trial courts, which have no experience reviewing these appeals, are also now tasked with appointing lawyers — many of whom have never worked on a death penalty case — to handle the flood of petitions.