Thursday, January 08, 2015

N.C. Journal Does Prop 47

A rather lengthy article on recently passed Prop 47 in this week's North Coast Journal. You'll recall Prop 47 was the ballot initiative that reduced some crimes that could be charged as felonies to misdemeanors. Not sure there were any answers really offered in the article, but it did seem to again point out something I've brought up here and elsewhere.

I've wrote before that the people being released from jail now, under Prop 47, were likely being released before. The article doesn't specifically support my contention, but it does seem to suggest that if someone is charged with a misdemeanor they can't be kept in jail. 

The Journal even gives the example of what I'm presuming was a felon being released- a drug dealer was arrested with a bunch of methamphetamine and cash being released hours after being booked: 

"It led to some questionable outcomes, like in June of last year, when the Eureka Police Department booked 27-year-old Alfonso Yanez-Espana after reportedly finding him in possession of 2.2 pounds of methamphetamine and $35,000 in cash. He was released hours after booking due to overcrowding."

That was prior to Prop 47 taking effect.

But I'm curious about this misdemeanor thing. I'm not trying to start an argument, but I don't understand the suggestion that someone arrested for a misdemeanor basically walks. 

The article states there's more room in the jail, at least in large part to Prop 47:

"Prior to the passage of the initiative, Sheriff Mike Downey says, the local jail population hovered between 375 and 385 inmates, just a hair below its maximum capacity of 420. In the two months since, Downey says he's watched the average daily population drop to between 260 and 270 — a decrease of more than a hundred inmates on the average day. "

A misdemeanor is a crime that, unless I'm mistaken, is punishable by fines and up to a year in jail. There clearly is punishment for misdemeanors, and there seems to be room in jail now. I don't see why they can't have people in jail for misdemeanors post- Prop 47. If anything, there seems to be more room for them now.


At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, you are correct. They can do jail from 6 months to up to a year in Jail. They don't because the Judges rarely sentence anybody to Jail in Humboldt for Misdemeanors.

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prop 47 reduces crowding (and costs) by keeping non-violent misdemeanor criminals out of jail. So now there is room, so you are suggesting filling it back up with misdemeanor folks again. Sorry, either I misunderstood you or there is some logic here going nuts.

Even without jail time, I assume there are fines, lawyer costs, etc. for misdemeanors. Not exactly walking away scott-free.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I disagree with the idea that all of those convicted of misdemeanors should be let out of jail, which is why I only grudgingly voted for Prop 47.

If someone is a career petty thief, vandal, or whatever, you can't just "make their life miserable", as one fellow I know suggested, by putting them on probation time and time again. They need to be kept out of circulation as much as the law allows.

By no means do I think we have room to keep the thousands of petty criminals in Humboldt locked up, but they do have room for at least some of the ones that are stealing (or whatever) over and over again.

If a repeat offender can be put on a leash, without jail, fine. If not, they should be confined as much as possible.


Post a Comment

<< Home