Our Nation

By Collene Campbell

Collene & Gary Campbell

Collene & Gary Campbell

Hi, I’m back home from Washington D.C. and thought you just might like to see one of the many articles regarding our extremely difficult effort to help save lives by balancing our U.S. Justice system.  Sadly, the accused criminals have 23 rights in our U.S. Constitution and their victims have not a single right.  Yes, that means the killers of our only son, Scott and the killers of my only sibling, (the best man at our wedding 61 years ago) auto racing legend, Mickey Thompson and his wonderful wife Trudy. Had not a single right in that great document (American’s U.S. Constitution), while the killers had 23 rights.  Obviously, that is why it took so long to get to and through the trials.  It is not only devastating for the families, it is also a huge tax burden and very bad for the safety of all citizens.

Mickey & Trudy Thompson

Mickey & Trudy Thompson

Gary and I are getting very old (or at least I am) and before we check out, we badly want to leave it a safer country for future generations.  Our three murdered family members should and would be alive if the justice system worked as intended.  The murderers of our family should have all been in prison prior to killing our family and that is pretty much what happens in all homicide cases.  Our forefathers did not intend for evil people to have rights and the hard working good Americans to have NO rights.  However, when the U.S. Constitution was written the victims or their families were in the courts defending themselves.  It was a much different time.

Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson

Please call, write, or email your U.S. Representative (Your Congressman) asking them to sign on to House Joint Resolution 40 (H.J. Res 40), the Victims’ Rights U.S. Constitution Amendment.

 

If you don’t know who your Congressman is, please look it up or call your city hall.  Please know, we certainly never thought our law abiding family could be devastated by murder however, it can happen to ANYONE.

 

Please let us know if and when you take the few minutes to notify your Representative asking them to sign on H.J. Res. 40.

 

This is a huge undertaking and our justice system needs to be brought up to date, which will require two-thirds of the House and the U.S. Senate and then ratification of three-fourths of all the States.

 

Jessica’s Law in California: Public Safety or Public Peril?

By Anonymous

This is the first in a three-part exploration into why the California Department of Hospitals has ignored the voter driven Jessica’s Law for years now and returned Violent Sexual Predators back into our communities where they rape and murder innocent citizens.

15-yr-old Alyssa Gomez was murdered by sex offender Gilton Pitri

15-yr-old Alyssa Gomez was murdered by sex offender Gilton Pitri

In November of 2006, 70% of the California electorate voted to pass Proposition 83 (Jessica’s Law).  Two aspects of Proposition 83 included broadening the definition of a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP), and strengthening the SVP civil commitment parameters. Civil commitment provides states with a legal mechanism to confine certain sex offenders in a secure treatment facility if the court determines that they continue to pose a threat to public safety after they have completed their prison sentences.

 

Jessica’s Law passed by such a wide margin because the public thought that they were getting additional protection from the release of dangerous SVP’s into their communities. Preliminary statistics underscored that the public assessment was correct. The number of referrals for full psychiatric evaluations of potential sex predators skyrocketed in the year after Jessica’s Law was passed. In 2006, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) referred 1,850 potential sexual violent predators to the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) for review. In 2007, the year after Jessica’s Law was enacted; CDCR referred 8,871 cases to DSH. This massive discrepancy in the number of referrals clearly demonstrates that the existing SVP law prior to Jessica’s Law resulted in the release of a large number of potential sexual predators into the community.

 

So, far so good, but the plot thickens. Though there was an effort at the initial phases following the passage of Jessica’s law to implement it as written by having the inmates undergo two full independent psychiatric/psychological evaluations to determine if they were dangerous sexual predators,  that quickly unraveled. Those running the DSH formulated and executed a plan to dismantle Jessica’s law and succeeded. According to the DSH website, 22,173 sex offenders referred to DSH by the prison for an evaluation were released without the full evaluation as mandated by the law from November, 2006 to July 12, 2010.

 

DSH instead opted to “paper screen” these cases, meaning a cursory review of paperwork instead of sending the mandated two psychologists or psychiatrists to the prison to conduct a face-to-face evaluation. And, though DSH has been aware that dangerous sex offenders released without the mandated evaluation have committed sex offenses, including rape and murder, the program continues to release dangerous sex offenders to prey upon the public. Despite the California Legislature’s statutory mandate, DSH continues to shirk its legal responsibility to have evaluations conducted by two qualified psychologist and/or psychiatrists. They do so despite full awareness of the horrific consequences: the murder, rape and sodomy of victims, mainly children.

 

A particularly tragic example is that of 15 year-old Alyssa Gomez. On June 18, 2008, four days after he was released on parole Gilton Pitre after being screened in a level 2 evaluation as not needing the two SVP evaluations, he raped and murdered Alyssa, then put her body near a dumpster.

 

Why is DSH so invested in releasing sexual predators? The reasons appear to be that of economics and ideology. Economics in that it is cheaper for the State to release sex offenders than incur the cost of full evaluations, court costs and the commitment of dangerous sex offenders in state hospital. Ideology because those who run the SVP program do not appear to believe in the broadening of Jessica’s Law: Nor do they believe that sexual offenders who commit sadistic sexual rapes suffer from a mental disorder; or that a prior pattern of child rape does not suffice for current sexual deviance; or that adult males engaged in sodomizing or orally copulating 12 or 13 year old boys against their will represent a mental disorder.

THE RECYCLING OF CRIMINALS UNDER REALIGNMENT

By Michael Rushford

With the adoption of AB-109 in April 2011, California’s Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown announced that the State would no longer take responsibility for criminals convicted of roughly 500 of what they defined as “low level” felonies, such as assault, spousal abuse, commercial burglary, drug dealing, identity theft, and auto theft.  AB-109 (which the Governor called Public Safety Realignment) prohibits prison sentences for these offenders.  Instead the law requires counties to sentence them to terms in overcrowded local jails, or a combination of jail time and probation, home detention, or a treatment program.  At the same time, criminals released from prison, whose most recent felony was one of these new “low level” crimes, are automatically placed on county probation rather than the more intense supervision under state parole.  This includes criminals whose record of prior crimes includes child kidnapping, child sexual assault, home invasion, and murder.

 

As a result, repeat felons are being cyclically arrested and released much earlier and with much less supervision than they would have been prior to Realignment.  This continues until they commit a violent or serious crime such as rape, robbery, aggravated assault, or murder, leaving victims permanently scarred and sometimes killed.  Since March of last year, the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation has been compiling news stories of crimes committed by criminals released under Realignment.  In February, the Foundation also reported on the FBI Preliminary crime statistics for 2012, which showed sharp increases for the first time in over 15 years in all categories of crime in California.
According to San Bernardino County Probation Department Spokesman Chris Condon, the way offenders are classified as non-sexual, non-violent, and non-serious is an issue.  “The most recent offense is taken into consideration for sentencing, not past offenses, which poses a problem all its own . . . “Three out of 10 people coming to us had serious violent felonies prior to their last offense.” 

 

Jerome DeAvila Raped & Murdered his Grandmother

Jerome DeAvila Raped & Murdered his Grandmother

Sex offender Jerome DeAvila was arrested February 26, 2013, for the rape, robbery, and murder of his 76-year-old grandmother in Stockton.  Her body was found dumped in a wheelbarrow in her backyard.  DeAvila had been in and out of jail about a dozen times over the previous 12 months for parole violations.  His most recent release was on February 20, 2013, after being arrested for violating his parole by not registering as a sex offender.  Despite a 30-day jail sentence, he was released one day after pleading guilty due to a court cap which mandates releases when jails reach their population capacity.  According to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, DeAvila was released under AB-109.  Records from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office indicate that DeAvila was released within 24 hours of being arrested in almost all of his nearly dozen arrests in the past nine months.  San Joaquin County Chief Probation Officer Stephanie James said, “With so many people getting released early, jail is not a meaningful consequence.”

 

CaptureOn March 17, 2013, 28-year-old Anthony Ibarra was found murdered in Santa Maria.  Eight defendants have been charged with his death.  All six are facing charges of murder, street terrorism, committing murder for a criminal street gang, lying in wait, torture, and kidnapping. The special circumstances associated with this murder make the six offenders eligible for the death penalty. According to the Santa Maria Police Department four of the six charged were on Post-Release Community Supervision under AB-109 at the time of the murder.  Ramon David Maldonado, 37, Reyes Gonzales Jr., 42; Pedro Torres, 54; and David Murillo Maldonado, 55 each have served multiple prison terms and committed numerous parole violations.  Even though all four have a history of firearm offenses and gang activity, only their most recent offenses were considered when they were labeled as non-violent, non-serious, and non-sexual offenders and placed on county supervision.

 

1869525001385Transient sex offender Jerome Anthony Rogers was arrested for the November 14, 2012, home invasion murder of 76-year-old Mary Beth Blaskey.  According to San Bernardino Police Chief Rob Handy, Rogers’s DNA matches samples taken from the crime scene.  Rogers is also being investigated for the December 2010 murder of Wanda Paulin, 86, and the September 2005 murder of 90-year-old Josephine Kelley.  Rogers’s criminal history includes sodomizing a 14-year-old girl.  Rogers was sentenced to 36 months’ probation late last year for failing to register as a sex offender. 
Michael Anthony Wyatt, a felony sex offender, was arrested on a Clovis high school campus in March.  He was released from Fresno county jail because of overcrowding, a direct result of Realignment. Wyatt was rearrested on March 28 when a concerned parent reported Wyatt walking with two children down a street, which violated his probation.  He was heading toward a field where children were Easter egg hunting.  At the time of Wyatt’s arrest, officers found lubricant and condoms in his possession.  Since June 2012, Wyatt has been arrested and released more than 23 times under AB-109.  Some of these arrests include sexual battery and committing a lewd act.
On April 10, Sergio Ballesteros was arrested for the attempted murder of a man in El Monte.  The victim was stabbed in the neck multiple times but survived. According to El Monte Police Sergeant Ben Lowry, Ballesteros was on Post-Release Community Supervision at the time of the attack.

 

Over the past year, supporters of Realignment initially told Californians that the law was working to reduce recividism and saving tax dollars.  Later, we were told that compiling news stories about crimes committed by criminals set free due to Realignment was ‘fear mongering’ and that the FBI data, showing that crime was increasing was not conclusive.  Now we are being told that Realignment can succeed but it will take more time.

 

How many innocent Californians must have their lives ended or seriously damaged until the excuses end and our elected representatives in Sacramento take action to stop this?

Mind of the Psychopath

Eight-year-old murder victim Martin Richard

Eight-year-old murder victim Martin Richard

Yesterday it happened yet again. Evil emerged from the shadows to kill, maim and strike fear into innocent, unsuspecting civilians.

 

As the source of the evil emerges from the gray dust, more truths will became self-evident. Another nihilistic psychopath with an atrocious history has unleashed his hatred and fury upon mankind. The only thing separating the Marathon bomber from Osama bin Laden or from Polly’s killer is scale. As he lurks in the darkness, he justifies murder and mayhem through twisted reasoning just as bin Laden deftly wielded his considerable powers to convince young men to die in his stead, just as Polly’s killer lurked in shadows waiting for opportune moments to convince little girls that he meant them no harm.

 

Perhaps an unknown slight inspired the hatred that scarred the finish line in Boston and caused so much death and destruction, just as the mad Arab used religion and inequality to excuse and justify murder, just as Polly’s killer used drugs and alcohol. One thing is certain; they all commit heinous crimes for instant self-gratification, without consideration for the consequences of their actions. Like all psychopaths, they lack conscience and consideration—therefore they have no empathy for the children they murder with impunity.

 

It is inevitable that given the chance, such men will strike again. They cannot be successfully treated or cured; therefore they cannot be trusted in negotiation or surrender. Hatred finds its own depth when children become viable options for death. The twisted logic of the psychopath predictably asserts his cowardice through his declaration to destroy the future rather than attempting to convert it.

 

We shake our heads in dismay as we battle this moral depravity by holding our children closer, loving them more, reassuring them constantly, and demonstrating strength and courage through example.

 

Through this act, society redefines not only its role models, but its heroes as well. Overpaid actors and athletes are replaced by men and women in working class uniforms and stay-at-home moms. When we collectively muster the courage to stare the devil in the eye, we challenge rather than yield to his adversity. Yet our anxieties are not easily alleviated, for the lessons of the Boston Marathon or World Trade Center are stark and vivid: Even the most celebrated sporting event or formidable edifice can be reduced to gray dust in less than a minute.

 

Terrorism comes in many guises and is predictable only in its depravity. Whether it is the baby killer or the holy warrior, the end result—an unyielding march toward destruction—must be acknowledged and addressed or we become indentured to violence and slaves of fear.

 

Memorial services will continue to correctly honor the victims of the Marathon massacre as a nation’s gratitude will honor its heroes. Right now a million candles, lit in homage, create beacons of light in the darkness. If we fail to eradicate evil, the candles will flicker out and we will be enveloped in darkness forever more.

 

What the Brown Administration is Not Telling You about Prison Realignment (AB 109)

By Senator Jim Nielsen

cartoonAssertions that prison realignment is “not an early release program” are deceptive.

 

Realignment changed penalties and the level of parole supervision for most felons convicted after November 1, 2011. It shifted the responsibility for tens of thousands of felons to counties where jail space is already filled to capacity, and changed the definition of who qualifies for community service programs. REALIGNMENT AUTHORIZES THE EARLY RELEASE OF THESE FELONS.

 

Convicted felons now sentenced to county supervision instead of state prisons include:

 

  • Career drug dealers
  • Commercial burglars
  • Habitual auto and I.D. thieves
  • Criminals with long criminal histories including felonies involving assault and firearms

A County Sentence is NOT the same as a State Prison Sentence

Under Penal Code, Section 17.5, a felon sentenced to jail rather than prison may be released early subject to day reporting, electronic monitoring or any number of non-custodial treatment programs.

 

Realignment also allows judges to split the sentence of felons so that part of their term may be spent in county jail and part subject to county probation (Section 1170 (h)(5)). When county jails are full, where will the felons go?

 

Under realignment, parole periods have been slashed from three years to one year. Most parolees will be supervised by county probation instead of the state parole authority. Now, each of the 58 counties must create their own parole system. This policy makes as much sense as requiring 58 counties to establish their own Department of Motor Vehicles.

 

Jerome DeAvila Raped & Murdered his Grandmother

Jerome DeAvila Raped & Murdered his Grandmother

Starting July 1, most parole revocation proceedings will be conducted before a judge in county superior court where the maximum penalty will be 90 days in jail instead of 365 days in prison (pre-realignment). Due to overcrowding of county jails, some counties have not incarcerated parole violators at all. Some criminals who have averted parole revocation have committed horrific crimes e.g. Jerome DeAvila of Stockton charged with robbing, raping and murdering his grandmother.

 

The California Board of Parole Hearings is better equipped than the already overwhelmed superior courts to conduct revocation proceedings. State parole officers have more training in tracking and dealing with habitual and dangerous offenders, especially those who cross county lines. This ability cannot be replicated by each of the 58 counties.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court DID NOT Order Realignment

When realigned felons commit new crimes and citizens are victimized, the Administration blames realignment on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. This is a pretext. The U.S. Supreme Court directed the state to fix health care services and reduce prison overcrowding.

 

  • The U.S. Supreme Court did not order the state to reduce sentences.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court did not order the state to shift responsibility for habitual felons to counties.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed a state plan which included already funded plans to add 16,000 new cells at existing prisons. These plans and projects to convert unused juvenile facilities for adult use have been largely abandoned by the Brown Administration. The Governor signed legislation to reverse bond authorization for new prison facilities – preferring to dump the problem on counties.

 

Passing the Buck to Counties; It’s Your Problem Now

Californians are not benefitting under realignment. Not only is crime up but so are taxes under the Governor’s realignment plan.

 

Lawsuits which are costing the state billions of dollars now will begin to be filed against counties. Counties do not have the resources or the facilities to handle the multitude of services ordered by the courts to accommodate long-term inmates. The counties of Fresno and Riverside, for example, are currently facing lawsuits from inmates for not providing adequate services. Other counties will soon face similar costly lawsuits.

 

Governor Brown justifies realignment based upon his belief that crime is a local problem.

 

As the Governor explained to the Sacramento Bee: “I can tell you this: some counties do better than other counties, and the challenge here is that locking people up at state expense is a free good when people have a problem with criminal activity, and now we’re saying, ‘No, you have to handle criminal activity where you are.’”