Letter to the editor: No on Prop. 47

icso.jpgMONO AND INYO COUNTY TOP LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

URGE A “NO” VOTE ON PROPOSITION 47

The Sheriffs and District Attorneys of Mono and Inyo Counties, and the Police Chiefs of Mammoth Lakes and Bishop have come together to urge voters in both counties to vote “NO” on Proposition 47.  They are joined by the California Police Chiefs Association, the California State Sheriffs Association, and the California District Attorneys Association in opposing Proposition 47.

Proposition 47 is misleadingly entitled “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.”  Proponents claim that the act simply mcsoalters sentencing of low-level, non-violent crimes such as simple drug possession and petty theft from felonies to misdemeanors with direct financial savings going to other state services including K-12 schools, mental health treatment, and victim services.  There is nothing to show that this will make neighborhoods or schools any safer!

There are no “petty” criminals in our prison system anymore.  No one in California is incarcerated for simple drug possession.  Personal Possession of marijuana is an infraction in California, punishable by a fine of no more than $100.  No one is incarcerated for personal possession of marijuana under California law.

mlpd_-_cars.jpgbpdProposition 47 is not a responsible long-term solution to California’s overcrowded criminal justice system.  There is nothing progressive about disincentivizing rehabilitation, reducing the penalties for the possession of predatory drugs, and downgrading the theft of a firearm valued under $950 to a misdemeanor.  This poorly drafted initiative does all of these things, and opens the door for the early release of up to 10,000 felons from state prison, the majority of whom have committed serious and/or violent crimes.  These are felons who could have prior convictions for armed robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, child abuse, animal abuse, residential burglary, arson, assault with a deadly weapon, and many other serious crimes.

As the top law enforcement officials in Mono and Inyo Counties, we are in agreement that the effects of Proposition 47, if approved by the voters, will have a negative impact on the safety and security of our residents and visitors.  Assembly Bill 109, also known as Prison Realignment, has already resulted in thousands non-serious, non-violent, non-sex felony offenders being sentenced to County jails instead of State prisons where they belong.  These prisoners are filling our jails to near capacity and at some point in the not-to-distant future, sentenced prisoners will have to be released due to overcrowding.  And, we are still in the early stages of the most far-reaching change in our criminal justice system in decades and have not yet seen the full impact of AB 109.  Local communities do not need an additional 10,000 felons on the streets of California.

Proposition 47 will result in the following:

Proposition 47 will eliminate automatic felony prosecution for a criminal who steals a gun.  Under current law, stealing a gun is a felony. inyocourthouse Proposition 47 would redefine grand theft in such a way that theft of a firearm could only be considered a felony if the value of the gun is greater than $950.

The most stolen type of firearm is a handgun, and the most common firearm used in the commission of a crime is a handgun.  The majority of handguns are valued less than $950.  Stolen handguns are often used to commit other crimes.  Proposition 47 protects criminals who steal handguns.

Proposition 47 reduces the penalty for possession of dangerous date-rape drugs such as such as rohypnol, ketamine, and GHB to a simple misdemeanor.  No matter how many times a sexual predator has been charged with possession of date-rape drugs, it will only be a misdemeanor.

Proposition 47 reduces the punishment for theft and forgery, potentially creating a greatermonocourthouse2008 impact on the public and small businesses.  A criminal with a prior residential burglary conviction who forges a victim’s stolen check will only be charged with a misdemeanor if the amount of the check is under $950.

No matter how many times a criminal has been convicted of burglary, robbery, or theft, if the amount stolen in a theft is less than $950, the criminal will only be charged with a misdemeanor.  And fencing that stolen property will only be a misdemeanor.

When a career criminal steals a firearm or a suspected sexual predator possesses date rape drugs, there needs to be an option of prison time.

When it comes to simple drug possession, California is committed to rehabilitation and treatment, not incarceration.  Proposition 47 will reduce the opportunities for persons with drug addictions to seek treatment through the court system.

California already has plenty of laws and programs that allow judges and prosecutors to keep first-time, low-level offenders out of jail if appropriate.  Proposition 47 would strip judges and prosecutors of that discretion.

Contrary to its title of Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, nothing about the real life application of Proposition 47 will make neighborhoods and schools safer.  To the contrary, it would put all Californians at a greater risk of being a victim of crime and remove the ability of law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts to deal with criminal on a case-by-case basis.

Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutze

Mono County Sheriff Ralph Obenberger

Dan Watson, Chief of Police Mammoth Lakes Police Department

Chris Carter, Chief of Police Bishop Police Department

Tim Kendall Mono County District Attorney

Tom Hardy Inyo County District Attorney

28 Comments
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Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
7 years ago

SB…..More like letting the wrong people out too soon…..and keeping the wrong people in for too long…ADW,burglary,multiple DUI”s…..in and out in a few days…..the lesser crimes….in for a month or two.

SB
SB
7 years ago

The courts all ready have a solid track record of letting the wrong people out of prison. I will be voting NO on prop 47.

Christy
Christy
7 years ago

I have concerns for the California Prison Realignment(AB109), Prison Overcrowding, and Prop 47. Some or most prison officials may think that housing inmates for non-violent crimes is a waste of money for the taxpayers and the State, but most of the people I’ve seen that are going back and forth… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago

Prop 47 tries to deal with too many different thing and thereby it confuses and fails. A $200 gun will kill you just the same as a $951 gun. Burglary, robbery, sexual predation should be treated different than drug possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. Serious drug… Read more »

earl duran
earl duran
7 years ago

Get a grip Roy this is the future, vote Yes on prop 47.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
7 years ago

Roy….GREAT post….Those that say drug users are “only hurting themselves”,and drug abuse is a “victim-less crime” probably have never been robbed,burglarized,assaulted or victimized by a drug user or a drug pusher…They don’t work…..they can’t work….depending on their drug of choice,they don’t sleep or eat…or sleep and eat too much….their type… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

I see the war on drugs is alive a well in your mind Wayne. It’s funny how our society used to call them hippies and they stood for peace and love. I don’t wish drug abuse on anyone, but their are millions of non-violent drug abusers. Betty Ford and Rush… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
7 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Trouble…..In case you haven’t noticed….and if your old enough…the weed nowdays is a LOT different than in the 60’s and 70’s “hippie days”…..Today’s weed,for some (not all) can turn them into the same kinda thieves and low-lifes as what meth and other harder drugs can can do ….sneak around….steal….mooch….drive while… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

It’s like magic weed now days Wayne. We didn’t all smoke stems and seeds in 70’s.

Roy
Roy
7 years ago

I have arrested hundreds of people during my career for various drug violations, One thing I learned many many years ago, drug users are thieves, robbers, burglars etc…It was always common knowledge you arrest a Hype ( heroin addict) your taking a burglar or armed robber off the street… I… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago
Reply to  Roy

Roy, how many of them were just pot smokers?

Roy
Roy
7 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

none……………………..

eastern sierra local
eastern sierra local
7 years ago
Reply to  Roy

Thanks Roy for proving my point that drugs should be legal. Druggies are only hurting themselves, but if they are, as you say ” thieves, robbers, burglars etc” then they’ll ultimately get arrested for that. There are too many laws on our books that impinge upon personal freedom-Drugs are one… Read more »

Eastern Sierra Local
Eastern Sierra Local
7 years ago

While I don’t know too much about this proposition (I’ve yet to begin my research); my usual response to Law Enforcement supporting/opposing a measure is to do the exact opposite….years ago when the “3 Strikes” law was up for vote Law Enforcement was vehemently supporting it…..as a result of 3… Read more »

Pedro
Pedro
7 years ago

Two District Attorneys say: “No one in California is incarcerated for simple drug possession.” Pretty outrageous rstatement. Care to back that up? Maybe you’re spending too much time in the evidence locker to remember the legal definitions of “incarcerated” and “simple possession”.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
7 years ago

When I read over this Prop. 47,if it does win with a “yes” vote,maybe the next thing the State should do is put a “stand your ground” law vote up to the people of California,if criminals are only going to get misdemeanors for burglary over and over again…as long as… Read more »

Tinner
Tinner
7 years ago

Oh great, now I’m really undecided.
Voting isn’t easy.

A Citizen
A Citizen
7 years ago

Couldn’t agree with you more…

YES on Prop 47.

C. Wylder
C. Wylder
7 years ago

Surprise, surprise trouble is voting against something. That’s weird. But if you really think, “simple possession” of a hardcore drug is not a big deal then you obviously have bigger problems to worrie about than what you write here. But keep posting your opinions. I love reading you getting ripped… Read more »

sugar magnolia
sugar magnolia
7 years ago
Reply to  C. Wylder

C. The drugs listed are often used for personal use and am not sure if they are considered ‘hard core’, as I don’t think that is a technical term. Certainly meth is a drug that ruins peoples lives, and is probably the ‘worst’ one out there. I have to assume… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago
Reply to  C. Wylder

Trouble said he was voting for 47 not against it.

Trouble: “I’m voting for this”

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago
Reply to  C. Wylder

C.Wylder, This article incorrectly suggest that people our not going to jail for minor drug offenses. Our jails are over flowing with low level drug offenders and I don’t think people should be put in jail for drugs or alcohol abuse. Our kids our dying from legally prescribed drugs at… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago

I’m voting for this. Sounds to me like this may turn the clock back to better days in our criminal justice system. Locking people up for non-violent crimes is a waste of time.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
7 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Trouble….My guess is,even if this prop does pass,it’ll STILL be illegal and warrant jail-time AND a big fine if you drink and drive….or drink and drive and decide to stop for some drive-thru fast-food at the Mammoth McDonalds on the way home.

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Wayne, your probably correct on the drinking and driving stuff. But that’s not what I’m talking about. This law is more about our present judicial system and addresses possession. DUI is not addressed in this article.

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
7 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Turn back the clock? Please refresh my memory of the times when we were softer on drug offenses? Possession of loco-weed used to carry up to a 6 year sentence. Now most offenders just walk away with a ticket. Are you sure you want to go backwards?

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago

Charles, our government classifying pot as a narcotic has made their war on drugs almost a joke to most people of my generation. And when I grew up we were a hell of a lot more free than the kids of this generation. If you were polite to the police… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
7 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

In almost all of the interactions I have had with LEO’s in my life, I have been treated fairly and with respect. You have apparently had different experiences. Now either I have been particularly lucky, you have been particularly unlucky, or we both were treated based on our individual attitudes.… Read more »