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February 10, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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February 10, 2010
 

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4B Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter California Legislature's changes not fully realized by many Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.com these rule changes. A detailed version of those requirements can be found in a sidebar to this article. Non-revocable parole Hollister said people with "generic felonies" who have sentences ranging from 16 months to three years were placed on parole, sometimes for up to four years. "If you committed any mis- conduct whatsoever--you didn't check in with your pa- role officer, you tested dirty for methamphetamine, you didn't tell your parole officer where you were living--any misconduct like that, they could put you back in prison, pending a hearing, and give you more punishment. "They could sentence you up to a year in prison for each of these parole revocations. "This was an incredibly handy tool because what would happen is we'd get folks paroled. They'd get paroled here to Plumas County. They'd pick up a new case like being under the influence. "What we would do is we would defer our prosecution and say we're not going to file local charges where they have the right toa brand-new jury trial and we go through the whole system again: We'd say, handle them on parole and they'd do that." Now, people who fit into this category would be on "non-revocable parole," where the person has a search clause but can't be sent back to prison for a parole violation. Essentially, if one of these people did something illegal he would have to be given new charges and a trial just like anyone else. Hollister continued, "They'd be treated literally like a person that isn't on pro- bation or parole. "In fact, it's going to be sig- nificantly easier, significantly less restrictive than just pro- bation, so it's totally changed, and you can see what's com- ing there; I mean the parole of- ricer who's got these people on non-revocable parole, what's he going to do?" "I mean he can't do any- thing with them; and I think what's going to happen is they're going to shift their at- tention from these folks and concentrate on the serious and violent felons." Hollister re-emphasized the requirements for offenders to be eligible for the new laws. "If 50 years ago you commit- ted an armed robbery, you will never be eligible for non- revocable parole?' Hollister predicted the changes would impact rural areas disproportionately. "You go to a more urban place--Oakland, Los Angeles, wherever--their fish are big- ger down there. "Up here our quality of life demands that we pay atten- The state budget agreement reached by the California Leg: islature last fall included so many changes that many of them haven't been fully recog- nized' by the public yet. One of the changes thai slipped under the radar for many people until recently was an alteration in laws re- garding prison credits and pa- role violations for offenders with sentences of three years or less. The changes, which have led to early releases of jail in- mates in many counties, have already led to controversy in Sacramento County. The incident that led to that controversy is explained in a sidebar to this article. Deputy District Attorney III David Hollister explained the changes to other members of the Plumas County District Attorney's Office Monday, Jan. 25, the day the alterations went into effect. Hollister said he had al- ready given the training pre- sentation to the Plumas Coun- ty Sheriff's Office and iocal California Highway Patrol commander. The deputy DA said there were many changes to the law and he would focus on the big ones. Hollister began by ex- plaining the requirements for offenders to be eligible for Changes in prison sentences Prison math Deputy District AttorneylII Dave Hollister gave this comparison of a "metham- phetamine possession for sale" sentence with the old and new rules. days additional credit for every four served. 365 days in a year x 2 = 730 days 730 - 62 days' credit = 668 days Once at the prison, a pris- oner would get four days additional credit for four days served. That cuts the sentence in hall 668/2 = 334 actual days in prison; Old Rules MaximuLm conviction = 2 years A person going through 1/2 and 13 months off the streets. New Rules Now prisoners get prison credit rules in jail too, so jail time is cut in half just like prison, reducing it to one year Most likely prisoners will be in jail or prison during two calendar years; if in a work program, the prisoner will get credit twice. 6 weeks credit x 2 = 12 weeks = 3 months 12 months - 3 = 9 months actually off the street the legal system as fast as Add the 42 days actually possible has served 42 days spent in jail and Hollister es- in jail and gets credit for 62 timates a prisoner will prob- days because you get two ably spend time between 12- WHITE CAP Ready Mix is Open Year-Round! Winter Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 8am-3pm Closed Fridays Portola Chester 832-4225 258-3050 Call today to schedule Batching Are You ghest Possible Deputy District Attorney III David Hollister has made presentations on the new parole laws to the Piumas County Sheriff's Office, local California Highway Patrol officers and his coworkers. Hollister said some of his friends from law school were involved in implementation and inter- pretation of the new rules. Photo by Joshua Sebold tion to things like the guy that possesses methamphetamine for sale or the guy that bur- glarizes Quincy Drug."' Custody credits Hollister said the other big change was in the way offend- ers earned custody credits. People in jail used to receive credits at a slower rate than those in prison. In jail an offender received six total days of credit for every four days actually slaent in custody, while in prison that same person received eight days credit for every four days in a cell. Hollister said people in jail would now get credits at the prison rate. He also pointed out people who participate in prison work programs would now re- ceive six weeks of additional credit for every calendar year they were enrolled in the pro- gram. A breakdown of how these changes would affect the amount of time a meth dealer with the maximum sentence spent off the streets can be found ,in a sidebar to this arti- cle. Hollister added that coun- ties were fortunate in a sense that people whose actual time in prison would now be less than a year, usually the met- ric for deciding if a person served time in jail instead, would still go to prison as long as their sentence was for more than a year. The deputy DA explained the irony of these new rules was that a criminal who re- ceived a felony prison sen- tence would arguably now have an easier time than someone who got a maximum misdemeanor probation charge of five years. Hollister said a meth dealer on the maximum felony charge would serve nine months and get non-revocable parole. By comparison, someone on a county jail sentence and five years' probation--possession of concentrated cannabis (hash) would be an example of a crime earning this punish- See Changes, page 5B Who can't be released? Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.com Deputy District Attorney III David Hollister said people who meet any of the following descriptions would not be eli- gible for non-revocable parole or early release: Anyone who is required to register as a sex offender; Anyone ..with a prior "seri- ous disciplinary offense" in a correctional facility; Any validated gang member Anyone determined to be a "high risk to re-offend"; Anyone who has been con- victed of a violent felony, which includes many crimes that require sex offender reg- istration and the following crimes as well: murder; vol- untary manslaughter; may- hem; any felony resulting in great bodily injury of some- one other than an accomplice in the crime; any felony in / which the offender used a firearm; all robberies; arson; attempted murder; kidnap- ping; carjacking; extortion; threatening victims or wit- nesses; first-degree burglary on an occupied building; pos- session of a weapon of mass destruction; and violators of restrictions on certain felons discharging firearms; Anyone convicted of a seri- ous felony, which includes many violent felonies and crimes that require sex of- fender registration, as well as: assault with the intent to com- mit rape or robbery; assault with a deadly weapon on a po- lice officer; assault by a life prisoner on a non-inmate; as- sault with a deadly weapon by an inmate; exploding a de- structive device or any explo- sive with intent to injure or causing bodily injury by ex- ploding one; holding of a hostage by a person confined in a state prison; attempt to commit a felony.punishable by death or img]~sonment in the state prison for life; any felony in which the defendant personally used a dangerous or deadly weapon; grand theft involving a firearm; assault with the intent to commit a sex crime; throwing acid or a flammable substance; selling, furnishing, administering or giving heroin, cocaine, PCP or any methamphetamine-relat- ed drug to a minor or offering to do so; assault on a peace of- ficer or firefighter; assault with a deadly weapon against a public transit employee, custodial officer or school em- ployee; assault with a deadly weapon using a firearm; dis- charge of a firearm at an in- habited dwelling, vehicle or aircraft; shooting from a vehi- cle; criminal threats; any at- tempt to commit any of the non-assault crimes listed above; any conspiracy to com- mit an offense listed above. tax professionals help you claim possible deduction & credit. 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