by Marty Carlson


The Los Angeles times reported that some of the results from the voters accepting prop 47 in 2014 is that they were sold a bill of goods.

Crime rates are rising in California, and many feel in large part to the passing of proposition 47. The measure converted some felonies to misdemeanors and the basis of the campaign was about reducing punishment for drug possession, but there was very little discussion about the softening of penalties for many other non-drug offenses.

Under this law, 3700 inmates have had their sentences reduced and been released from state prison. Click here for a previous post from Dawgs Blog in regard to that.

Drug addicts now often escape punishment for crimes they commonly commit to support their habits, namely shoplifting, forging bad checks, and any theft under $950 that also includes theft of guns. And as a note most semiautomatic pistols and revolvers are purchased new for less than $950. Some people are finally starting to believe this leniency just facilitates continued addiction.

Prior to proposition 47, the courts evaluated the appropriate punishment to seek for someone accused of drug possession or theft, and they studied the person’s past criminal history. That history is not considered in someone who had been convicted and served time for a serious crime such as robbery, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon can no longer be sent back to prison if convicted of a new theft or drug offense, these have been reclassified as misdemeanor.

Remember state prison can only be applied to a crime that is sentenced to 365 days or more, so it must be a felony conviction, misdemeanor convictions are punished at the local level.

In the event of a strong-armed robbery like purse snatching, which is called grand theft person, before prop 47 it was a crime that could be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor, which is known as a wobbler. Prosecutors would study the defendants record determine how to be charged. Prior robberies typically would end up with felony charges. Due to prop 47 unless your purse cost more than $950, the theft can only be a misdemeanor meaning state prison is not possible as a punishment and deterrent.

Under prop 47, the criminal’s prior robbery means nothing, his past simply does not matter

Reformers say that everyone needs a second chance, and I agree with that, but those second chances were built into the system already and now public safety has suffered as crime rates have soared.

In the city of Los Angeles, property crimes such as burglaries and motor vehicle thefts have rising 10.9% compared to the same period last year. Violent crimes such as aggravated assaults and robberies has soared 20.6%. Local officials in Los Angeles claim those increases are linked to proposition 47.

And remember these drug addicts are not going to jail like they used to, so they are running longer and harder without a break from the drug use and getting more desperate and dangerous.

The California legislature is also passed a law in 2014 that reduce the maximum misdemeanor sentence from 365 days to 364 days. Under federal immigration law, an illegal alien who is convicted of an offense punishable by 365 days or more can be deported. Now with many felonies reduced to 364-day misdemeanors, some criminals who otherwise would have been deported get to stay.

During the time I was a bailiff for six years I had the opportunity to work drug court many times. During those times, they would hold criminal charges over the head of the defendants forcing them in the rehabilitation programs. Though not a high success rate it was an opportunity for them to at least clean up somewhat and an opportunity to get straight.

The system has lost their leverage to mandate rehabilitative drug programs under prop 47. There is no incentive for an offender to accept a court ordered two-year intensive treatment program when the maximum consequence for drug conviction is a six-month term in county jail. In many cases the jail sentence means only a few days or even just hours in custody, because the jails must make room for the felons sent from state prison under the reform called realignment (AB109). The treatment program roles are down 60% in Los Angeles County, and is similar across the state. The addicted offenders are not getting the treatment that is desperately needed.

In addition, proposition 47 took away a tool to fight sex crimes when it reduced the penalty for possession of a dangerous date rape drugs to a misdemeanor.

Fewer DNA samples are being taken every month because state law permits police to collect DNA only from felony suspects. Make it more difficult to solve old cases such as murder and rape.

The idiot voters in California passed proposition 47 because it was marketed as a safe neighborhood and schools act. During that time, I was very outspoken about this proposition and I strongly opposed due to these obvious repercussions that would occur, and which have occurred.

Voters need to educate themselves prior to marking their ballots, and learning how the system actually works in the repercussions of some of these propositions. After the passage of this proposition I had several online conversations with people that felt this was a good way to get people help. And many felt that the crime should be held over their head to get them treatment, and I repeatedly told them that was the system in place before, but will not be the case now. And that is exactly what is happened

Always keep in mind the lawmakers are not concerned about our best interest, they have their own agendas which are extremely confusing to me most of the time, and it usually comes down to money over public safety.