Sentencing Initiative Qualifies For November Ballot

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Written by Steven Herbert

An initiative that would require misdemeanor sentences for certain theft and drug possession crimes has qualified for the November ballot, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced today.

What supporters have dubbed as The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act would require misdemeanor sentences instead of felony sentences for petty theft, receiving stolen property, and forging or writing bad checks when the value or amount involved is $950 or less.

It would also require misdemeanor sentences instead of felony sentences for certain drug possession offenses.

Felony sentences would be allowed for these offenses if  the person has a previous conviction for such crimes as rape, murder or child molestation or is a registered sex offender.

Resentencing would be required for people serving felony sentences for these offenses unless the court finds unreasonable public safety risk.

Savings from the measure would be applied to mental health and drug treatment programs, kindergarten through 12th grade education and crime victims.

If approved by voters, the initiative would result in net savings to the state criminal justice system that could reach the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually, according to an analysis prepared by the Legislative Analyst's Office and Department of Finance.

Valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters—5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 general election—were required to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

The initiative's proponents are former San Diego Police Department Chief Bill Landsdowne and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, a former Los Angeles Police Department assistant chief.

The initiative is at least the third that will appear in the November ballot. One of the others is a wide-ranging measure that includes raising the limit on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits and requiring random drug and alcohol testing of doctors. The other would require the insurance commissioner to approve any increases in health insurance rates.

Also appearing on the November ballot are a measure regarding the state's rainy day fund; a referendum seeking to overturn two gambling compacts; and an $11.1 billion water bond.

—City News Service

TT June 28, 2014 at 09:36 AM
Identity theft (for example) is a HUGE problem, and what's encouraging it are the already light sentences for the very few who are caught. So how can the answer to this problem be even lighter sentences yet? i get the feeling that the "community" most responsible for identity thefts are behind creating the lighter sentences. After all, identity thefts are financing a lot of those BMWs and Mercedes racing around Glendale.
Sparks June 28, 2014 at 03:01 PM
I've been wondering lately, why are we releasing major crime criminals to clear the crowding in our jails when it would be more effective to put petty crimes out on community service...at least the jails would have room for major crime housing and maybe the community would save money on clean up and such.
R Terry June 29, 2014 at 01:55 PM
When are we going to start going after employers of illegals? If they could not work and if we stopped aid to illegals, the magnet would stop working. As it is now, they know that they cannot starve and have many ways to get free food and services. They are all but totally ignored by law enforcement. I have had two illegals crash into cars of mine. Both times the police departments were given license numbers but could care less. One got angry with me (Azusa) and told me no report would be taken.


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