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California Prison & Criminal Justice News & Events + 3 Strikes Do you have news relating to California's Prison or Ciminal Justice System and related efforts? Post them here! Also discuss 3 Strike laws.

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  #101  
Old 08-22-2019, 05:42 PM
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Just posting an update/rant for anyone interested.

Many of us all over the state applied in January under this new law and are still waiting on a ruling. Counties are doing completely different things. SF Bay Area counties have been releasing people under this law, while many SoCal and rural counties' DAs are opposing the law, saying it's unconstitutional.

Many courts are putting cases on hold until an appeals court settles the constitutional question. A number of Superior Court judges have ruled it unconstitutional, while other have ruled it constitutional. So until an appeals court OR the state Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality question, many, many of us are just waiting in limbo.

It also raises the question of what if the higher court says it's unconstitutional? Not likely, but still... would all those released have to go back to prison?

The whole thing is nuts — especially after the state Attorney General filed briefs saying it IS constitutional.

Meanwhile, Sacramento County has gotten creative and is now using another new law that lets DAs support resentencing under 1170(d)(1) to cut plea deals (usually down to manslaughter) to save face and avoid waiting for a higher court decision.

So here we are, almost 9 months after SB 1437 became law and no higher court ruling yet. It's crazy that we all live in the same state, but some counties simply choose not to follow state law. I don't understand why courts do not take the stance that it IS the law until a higher court says otherwise. Guess I need to go to law school to figure that one out.

UGH!!!!!!!!!
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  #102  
Old 08-22-2019, 06:00 PM
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I agree fully.
This whole "protest' by the republican DA's has been moronic to say the least.

What information are you referring to when you are saying Sacramento cutting deals? I am interested in that.

But you are right, almost everyone is waiting for the Supreme Court to rule so they can proceed forward.
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  #103  
Old 08-22-2019, 06:04 PM
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Thanks PapaSmurf!

The Sacramento info is that at least 10 people made deals, and was posted on a Facebook group run by one of the bill's authors. Also at least one person whose LO took the deal posted about it. This all just happened a week or so ago.
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  #104  
Old 08-23-2019, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwerty View Post
So here we are, almost 9 months after SB 1437 became law and no higher court ruling yet. It's crazy that we all live in the same state, but some counties simply choose not to follow state law. I don't understand why courts do not take the stance that it IS the law until a higher court says otherwise. Guess I need to go to law school to figure that one out. UGH!!!!!!!!!
My two cents.

Legislators pass bills. They become law. Unfortunately that's not the end. Implementation matters and that can fall short.

Instead of following the intent and spirit of the law, DA's look for areas to attack and fight. That unfortunately is part of their job.

Judges interpret law. That is within their jurisdiction. Judge can interpret the "intent" or they can interpret "against the intent" - that being the DA arguments of unconstitutional. Sometimes a judge will even interpret more liberal than the intent.

Resentencing occurs in the district (DA) you were sentenced. Fair enough. Might have to occur in the court (judge) who sentenced you. Imagine 2 identical cases sentenced harshly years ago because law mandated it - like felony murder. In one case DDA and judge were both pricks. In the other case DDA was reasonable and judge was liberal. You think those 2 resentences are going to work out the same?

None of these Superior Court judges care what other Superior Court judges rule whether published opinions or not. You hit the nail on the head. If an appeals court judge overrules a Superior court on an unconstitutional argument, we'll have a published opinion that matters. Superior Court judges will tend to follow higher court ruling - under threat if they don't follow, they'll get overturned. Remember no judge wants to be overruled in a higher court, it looks bad on them.

I suspect these judges are going on what they think will be decided in their district appeals court. What we would really like to see happen is one of these unconstitutional argument decisions get appealed in a district that has a very liberal appeals court. You are spot on correct worrying about "what if the higher court says it's unconstitutional?". That would be bad. I hope the first appeal does not go to a tough appeals court. Wherever it goes, that's where we need to pay attention. That will be as important as the passing of the law.

If the district and court you face has already ruled favorably, that's good. If the district and court has already ruled against, might want to wait unless you want to be the one taking this to appeals court....
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