Vote NO On Prop 57: Early Prison Release – X,Y&Z

In August 2009, a federal 3-judge panel ordered California to cap its prison population at 137.5% of capacity by releasing nearly 43,000 inmates. That threshold was met in January 2015, when the state reported that the institutional population had been reduced to 113,463 inmates.
 
Much of the credit for that record reduction has been directed to 2011’s Public Safety Realignment legislation, and Proposition 47 which was affirmed by voters in 2014. Public Safety Realignment transferred responsibility for supervising certain kinds of felony offenders and state prison parolees from state prisons and state parole agents to county jails and probation officers. Proposition 47 reduced certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors.
 
Starting January 1, 2015, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) began a new early parole determination process, evaluating “nonviolent second-strikers” for parole once they have served only 50 percent of their sentence or are within 12 months of having served 50 percent of their actual sentence. The following fake “non-violent” offenders were released under this program.
 
This begs the question: Who is left to release under Proposition 57 if it passes in November? The answer is not pretty.
 
Yeng XiongXiong, Yeng: Xiong is a self-admitted member of a criminal street gang who has previously committed a violent felony – a well-planned armed take-over bank robbery – with his fellow gang members in 2008. Despite being on parole for that armed bank robbery, Xiong absconded in 2013, and when located by parole agents, was found to be in possession of a semi-automatic handgun as well as MDMA.  Such conduct demonstrates not just an extreme risk to public safety, but shows that Xiong has no interest in complying with the rules and regulations of parole or in becoming a productive, law-abiding member of society. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
Travis Coleman YorkYork, Travis Coleman: York has a history of serious felony convictions, including vehicle theft, larceny from a person, weapons possession, and first degree burglary. Furthermore, in the incident that led to his most recent incarceration, York while committing yet another first degree burglary, attempted to punch the homeowner who chased him from the home. A search of the trunk of the vehicle York used to get to the burglary, revealed a loaded shotgun. When York was arrested on the felony burglary warrant, he resisted arrest and was found in the possession of a weapon along with indicia of drug sales. His behavior in prison is less than exemplary as well.  A review of York’s criminal history reveals a history of disciplinary actions involving serious violations, including; refusing to undergo drug testing in November of 2013, possession of a cellular phone and charger in November of 2013, and falsification of prison documents in October of 2014. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
Charles James YoungYoung, Charles James: In January 2002, Young was convicted of misdemeanor assault and was placed on informal probation. Less than 2-months later Young was convicted of felony possession of narcotics for sale. He violated his probation in September 2005, after receiving another conviction for possession of narcotics for sale.   Young was found in violation of his probation in January 2008, July 2008, and March 2009.  In July 2011, he was arrested for residential burglary of an ex­ girlfriend’s house. The victim reported that he broke into her house and stole her property. She further stated that she was fearful of the, as he is a G-Mobb gang member who had previously threatened her and her family. Young was convicted of residential burglary and received two years in prison and paroled in November 2012. On October 29, 2013 Young was the passenger in a car being driven by another gang member, which was involved in a short police pursuit.  At the end of the chase Young foot bailed from the car, dropping a loaded Tec-9 handgun on the ground. After his arrest, he acknowledged that he was a G-Mobb gang member. At the time of this offense Young was also a parolee at large. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
Daniel Jerome YoungYoung, Daniel Jerome: Young has made a career of victimizing others.  He has been a menace to the community since the age of 19 when he began committing misdemeanor burglaries.  From 1984 until the present, Young has committed a vast array of crimes that include: burglary (numerous), grand theft person, petty theft with a prior, narcotics possession,  assault with a knife (two separate occasions) , check fraud, trespassing, vandalism (numerous), and possession of a knife. Young has spent a large portion of his adult life in and out of both County Jail and Prison because of his many arrests and subsequent convictions. Young has proven time and again that he will not change his behavior and become a productive member of society. Young has picked up either a substantive offense or violated his parole in the following years: 1984, 1985, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2015. Young was in and out of prison from 1994 until his discharge in 2000 and again from 2011 until 2013. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
Anthony ZamarronZamarron, Anthony: In April 2008, Zamarran identified himself as a gang member and then proceeded to smash a glass bottle over the victims head causing him to lose consciousness. Zamarran immediately began choking his unconscious victim. When the victim’s female friend attempted to intervene and stop the attack, Zamarran began striking her in the face and head. Zamarran was sentenced to two years in prison for this brutal assault—which he would not fully serve. In the early morning hours of September 18th, 2009, Zamarron and a friend knocked on the door of an acquaintance with whom they had been doing cocaine in the preceding hours. The unsuspecting victim answered the door under the impression that Zamarron had forgotten a cell phone inside his residence. However, once the door was opened, the two men rushed the victim, bound him with duct tape, and demanded he give them $6,000 that they knew he had in his possession.  Since he was unwilling to surrender the money, Zamarron grabbed a hammer and began striking the helpless man in the back and head. Fortunately for the victim, he was able to reach into his back pocket and dial 9-1-1, allowing the emergency operator to hear the ordeal as it occurred. Officers arrived and the victim was saved from any more serious injury than had already been inflicted. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 

Dirty Rotton Liars and the Death Penalty

graphicThe other day I stepped into the lion’s den to debate the death penalty at UC Berkeley. My opponent was Aundre Herron, an appeals lawyer with Death Penalty Focus. Prior to the debate we had a fruitful discussion about the need for expanded prevention funding for at risk youth. She was a nice lady and I told her that she was making it difficult for me to debate with the passion that I like to bring to the subject. She agreed. We were both wrong.
 
Ms. Herron launched right into the same tired arguments that are being parroted by “abolitionists” who are supporting Proposition 62. If passed it will replace the death penalty with a sentence of “true life”. Abolitionists proudly point to a list of 156-innocent death row inmates have been exonerated since 1973. That is totally misleading! They bemoan the fact that numerous innocent people have been executed, when they haven’t. They say that states that do not have the death penalty have the lowest murder rates. Just don’t tell that to Chicago, Ill, Detroit, MI or Baltimore, MD: three of America’s murder capitals in states that don’t have the death penalty. They say that California has invested $5-billion in the execution of 13-men, which is simplistic and misleading. They do all of this wrapped in a cloak of moral superiority.
 
I was ready. I told the students that if they logged onto the KlaasKids Foundation website they would find 26-empirical studies that clearly demonstrate that when executions in the USA increase, murders decrease, and when executions decrease, murders increase. She countered that each was imperfect, because all of them were biased; therefore there was no evidence of deterrence. However, if lack of perfection is a synonym for flawed, all empirical research will always be flawed, because perfection can never be achieved and bias cannot be erased. One indisputable fact remains: there is a simple but dramatic relationship between the number of executions carried out and a corresponding reduction in the number of murders the following year.
 
There is no evidence that the state of California has ever executed an innocent person. Governor Jerry Brown, who served a term as California Attorney General and is personally opposed to the death penalty, has said: “I think people have gotten exquisite due process in the state of California. It goes on for 20 or 25 years and to think that they’ve missed anything like they have in some other states; I have not seen any evidence of it. None. I know people say, ‘Oh, there have been all these innocent people,’ Well, I have not seen one name on death row that’s been told to me.”
 
Ms. Herron said that California has spent $5-billion to execute 13-death row inmates. This is categorically untrue. You can learn the truth by reading Politifact’s analysis.
 
She said that sloppy police work, aggressive prosecution, and blood thirsty judges were responsible for wrongfully convicting California death row inmates. If she really thinks that vilifying the good guys somehow strengthens her argument, then I believe her confidence is misplaced.
 
Finally, she concluded by saying, “The death penalty is a failed public policy that masquerades as justice and instead commits more violence in response to violence. It is like trying to extinguish fire with more fire. Every time the state kills someone it diminishes us.”
 
That somebody with a minority opinion can be so certain of her moral superiority requires further examination. Abolitionists can look into the eyes of a death row inmate, hear his pitiful story, work tirelessly to set aside the execution and, with that goal accomplished, feel good about themselves for having ‘saved a life.’ After all, isn’t saving a life the moral high ground? However, if the death penalty were found to have a deterrent effect and each convicted criminal spared would cost 8-innocent lives, anyone who had been involved in the process of saving the life of a convicted murderer would therefore have been complicit in the mass murder of innocent victims. The thought of being an unwitting accomplice to mass murder is too horrific for a good person to contemplate, therefore, for the sake of a death penalty opponent’s own psychological well-being, the evidence must be denied.
 

Missing in America: Case Closed!

families

With all of the bad press that has befallen them recently, it’s befitting that good news has emerged from law enforcement quarters. Within the course of one week investigators resolved three historical and high profile missing child cases. Collectively, Jacob Wetterling, Laura Smither, and Brittanee Drexel were missing for more than 53-years. Unfortunately, none of the cases ended the way their families had hoped, but at least now they are secure in the knowledge that no-one is harming their children.

Jacob Wetterling

Jacob Wetterling

 

When Polly was still missing after 2-months I felt like I was losing my mind. Fear and anger dominated my waking hours, and nightmarish visions overwhelmed my fitful sleep. Hope became tenuous, like a taut rubber band waiting to snap. So, I can only imagine the emotional crescendo’s overwhelming Brittanee, Laura, and Jacob’s families. Of course, they are relieved to finally know the truth, and to have the answers that have eluded them these many years. However, they are also profoundly saddened by the knowledge that their children are dead. Coming to terms with their new reality will be difficult, but ultimately it will be worthwhile.

 

Laura Smither

Laura Smither

I believe that it’s always better to know the truth, rather than to be left grappling in the darkness of doubt. Learning that your child is dead is a harsh reality, but I believe that it is better than the false hope and unanswered questions that accompanies years or decades of not knowing. On Tuesday, September 6, at a press conference following the killer’s confession Jacob’s mother Patty said, “For us, Jacob was alive until we found him. We need to heal”.

Brittanee Drexel

Brittanee Drexel

Brittanee, Laura, and Jacob were all victims of unimaginable horror. The FBI developed information that 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel was kidnapped, gang-raped, tortured, murdered and that her remains were fed to the alligators that populate the South Carolina coast. On Thursday, September 1, a Galveston, TX grand jury handed down murder indictments against alleged serial killer William Reece after he led them to the remains of 12-year-old Laura Smither of Friendswood, Texas who he kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1997. Of course, Jacob’s killer, who remained in the community, has always been a person of interest in his case. It was only after an intrepid investigation finally put the pieces together that the authorities were able to elicit a confession in a plea deal that allows him to escape legal responsibility for the evil crimes he committed against 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling.
 
On a given day in the United States as many as 33,000 children are missing according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. Think of emotions that must be surging through the families of the missing. Of course, they now know that just because a case becomes historical doesn’t mean that it has gone cold. Evolved investigative techniques and technology are shining a new light on missing child cases that are decades old and all of those families exist in the same gray area that imprisoned the families of Brittanee, Laura, and Jacob for all of these years. They all want answers, whether the kids are dead or alive. They need to know that their children are finally free from harm and exploitation.
 

Vote NO On Prop 57: Early Prison Release – W

If you think that the following are violent crimes then you need to vote NO on Proposition 57:

  • Assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Taking a hostage
  • Any felony in which a defendant personally uses a dangerous or deadly weapon, or personally uses a firearm, or personally inflicts great bodily injury
  • Hit and run resulting in death or permanent, serious injury
     
    Glenn Allen WarrenWarren, Glenn Allen: A review of Warren’s criminal history reveals a pattern of criminal conduct and a propensity for crime dating back to 1983. Less than one year after receiving diversion for a drug offense, he was convicted of his first strike offense, residential burglary. Originally sentenced to probation, he ultimately received 16 months state prison in 1987, after he committed two additional separate residential burglaries, one in which officers confronted him at the victim’s residence.  Fortunately it was law enforcement and not the victim who found him in the house. Since 1983, Warren’s antisocial behavior has not only increased in severity but also in callousness. Most strikingly, Warren has not been discharged from parole since his first commitment in 1987. Warren’s pattern for committing serious offenses is precisely the reason he continues to pose an unreasonable danger to society. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
     
    Christopher WattsWatts, Christopher: On October 15, 2007, officers responded to a 911 call where they could hear a male voice in the background threatening to kill a woman in the apartment. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the victim. The defendant initially refused to exit the house but ultimately complied. The victim’s three children were then removed from the house. The victim informed law enforcement that over the course of the last day, Watts became upset with her and initially threatened her with a knife. As they argued, the defendant bit her arm. The victim went to sleep but the defendant woke her up in the middle of the night with a gun in his hand and told her, “You think you’re gonna leave.  It’s not that easy. I’ll kill you and the kids, and myself before I let you leave.” The victim tried to run down the stairs but the defendant put the gun to her neck and told her to stop crying or he would kill her. She hit him and the magazine fell out of the gun and she was able to get away. The defendant then proceeded to grab a knife and threatened to kill her yet again. Officers searched the house and located a 9mm handgun, 20 grams of rock cocaine, a digital scale, some cash and two cell phones. Watts also had a video of a domestic  violence murder – a husband getting mad with his wife and walking up to her and shooting her in the back of the head several times. The victim told officers the defendant watched it frequently and made the victim watch it to intimidate her. Unfortunately, he is no stranger to the use of firearms or serious criminal endeavors. He was convicted of Armed Robbery on January 27, 1998 in Illinois and received an eight year and six month sentence. That case involved the defendant and another subject putting on masks and robbing a gas station convenience store at gun point. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
     
    Auntonio L. WhitneyWhitney, Auntonio L.: On March 11, 2013, Whitney was convicted of committing a residential burglary. He broke into his victim’s home through a bedroom window and stole their property. He was identified through fingerprints. On April 11, 2013, officers were doing fare check on Lite Rail in Sacramento. The inmate did not have a ticket and appeared nervous so the officer checked him for weapons. Concealed in his waistband, the officer found a semi-automatic Starr 9 mm handgun with 6 bullets in the magazine, one in the chamber, the hammer cocked and the safety on. He was convicted of being a felony in possession of a handgun. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
     
    Gregory WilliamsWilliams, Gregory: In 2008 Williams walked into a Bank of America branch, reached for his waistband and told the teller, “This is a fucking robbery, give me all your money or I am going to start shooting people”. Fortunately for the victim in this case, Williams did not actually have a gun and she was protected by bullet proof glass. This case represented Williams’s eighth robbery conviction. The prior robbery convictions did involve a real firearm and William’s was sentenced to twenty years in state prison for a series of robberies. Williams’ prior robberies were conducted at businesses where multiple victims were present. Williams’ typically pointed the firearm at each of them demanding money. He required them to lay on the ground while yelling profanities and waiving a gun in their faces. It should also be noted that while incarcerated, William’s continued to show violent behavior. He received an additional two years onto his already lengthy sentence for assaulting another inmate. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
     
    Clinton Ray WindomWindom, Clinton Ray: In 1976, Windom was convicted of felony possession of controlled substance. In 1977, two more felony convictions followed for sale/transport of controlled substances, as well as a misdemeanor conviction for appropriation of lost property. In 1983, he was convicted of misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon on his person. During 1983-84, Windom was arrested for: sale/transport of controlled substance, possession of marijuana for sale, false imprisonment, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, robbery and conspiracy. While Windom was not convicted of these charges, in 1986, he was convicted of a violation of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and sentenced to two years in state prison, in conjunction with a [“strike”] conviction of felony assault with a deadly weapon. After being paroled in 1988, Windom was sent back for a parole violation. Paroled in 1989, Windom, was arrested on several occasions in 1990, then violated and sent back to prison on a parole violation. After other arrests and parole violations in 1991 through 1994, Windom went back to prison in 1994 on his latest convictions for his two passions in life: drug sales/possession, and illegal possession of firearms. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release

Vote NO On Prop 57: Early Prison Release – T & V

Here we go again: more “fake” non-violent offenders who have earned early prison release. One is a non-repentant child abuser and one a killer.
 
Jaime TapiaTapia, Jaime: A review of Tapia’s criminal history shows that his propensity for crime began in 2008 when he was convicted of misdemeanor vehicle theft, and possession of a stolen vehicle. Tapia continued with his thieving ways into 2009 when he was convicted of grand theft auto, this time as a felony. Later on in 2009 Tapia was again convicted of receiving stolen property. Tapia ‘s criminal behavior escalated to violence in 2011 when he was convicted of  carjacking, his first felony strike offense. That felony strike conviction did not at all slow Tapia down. Rather, while on probation for the strike offense, Tapia was convicted of receiving stolen property in 2012 and felony vehicle theft, later that same year. In that case Tapia stole a car from his ex-girlfriend. Tapia and his ex-girlfriend were arguing and Tapia got physical with her. Tapia hit her and slapped her in the face, threw her down on the ground and got on top of her and choked her with his hands. As Tapia had his hands around his ex-girlfriend’s neck he told her she would be better off dead.  Tapia ‘s ex-girlfriend was able to escape, but when she came back to her apartment a short time later she realized her car was gone and Tapia had taken it. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
Doua ThaoThao, Doua: Thao’s criminal pattern began at age 21 and has continued to increase in severity and frequency until the present day. Over the past 10 years, Thao has committed crimes of violence against his family members, crimes against law enforcement and several theft crimes with multiple victims. A review of the police and probation reports for the crimes in which Thao has been convicted clearly indicates inmate Thao received opportunities of leniency that he squandered time and time again. Even when supervised Thao will continue to engage in criminal behavior. In fact, Thao has never successfully completed any grant of misdemeanor or felony probation or even parole without committing a new offense. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
Martece ThomasThomas, Martece: Thomas has proven himself incapable of respecting the law. In 2012 Thomas began a two year sentence after committing burglary. In this instance, Thomas broke into a residential home through a wooden fence, smashed a garage window and broke the lock on the interior door. Inside, Thomas stole three televisions, searched dresser drawers in the master bedroom, and stole a jewelry box leaving his fingerprints throughout the home. After this sentence, Thomas was released and back to business as usual. By February, he was caught on CCTV breaking into the victim’s home and stealing three decorative swords. This offense earned Inmate Thomas a four year prison sentence. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
Bobby Ray TimmonsTimmons, Bobby Ray: In 2008, Timmons entered a Bank of America and attempted to cash a check he knew to be fraudulent.  An alert bank teller recognized immediately the check was a fake and notified his manager who called the police.   Timmons left the bank immediately and moments later, was apprehended by the Sacramento Sheriff s Department without incident. Since 1976, Timmons has found trouble with the law for a myriad of reasons.  Burglary and vehicle theft arrests from the California Bay Area to the Sacramento Valley pepper his rap sheet.  While on probation for a burglary in 1986, Timmons was arrested, months later, for another burglary.  While on probation for the 2nd burglary, Timmons was arrested for yet another burglary.  Again, in 1986, officers were dispatched to a residential burglary in progress.  When the officers arrived on scene, they found Timmons inside the home and he was arrested without incident.  Within months of that arrest, Timmons was picked up for petty theft.   But it wasn’t until his releases from either county jail and/or prison that he started a more dangerous criminal venture-driving under the influence.  From, at least, 1986 to 2006,  Timmons has a history littered with drug and/or alcohol violations and only his prison/county jail stays seem to curb those habits. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
George Mario TorresTorres, George Mario: Torres has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to engage in criminal activity. He has shown no interest in complying with the law.  In his most recent case, Officers from the Sacramento Police Department made contact with Torres in a high crime area. When they asked his name, he lied.  Torres fled on foot for approximately 150 yards while reaching into his right pants pocket. Officers located a loaded and stolen .380 semi­ automatic pistol in his right pants pocket. In addition, not only was Torres in possession of a loaded stolen firearm, he was on probation, and had a no bail warrant for his arrest.  Torres is also a validated Varrio Gardens Sara (VGS) Norteno gang member. In 1996, Torres robbed innocent victims in a public parking lot while pointing a loaded stolen firearm at them. On February 7, 1996, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison for robbery, with the use of a firearm and for being in possession of a stolen vehicle. A further review of Torres’s criminal history shows a propensity for criminal behavior and violence. On November 16, 2006, Torres was sentenced to 32 months state prison upon a separate auto theft conviction. On March 18, 2008, Torres was sentenced to 4 years state prison upon another vehicle theft conviction. This time Torres led the police on a high speed chase that lasted approximately 10-minutes and reached speeds in excess of 90 mph in a residential neighborhood. Torres was on active parole at the time of this offense. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
Alejandro ValenciaValencia, Alejandro: There might not be a special spot in hell for child abusers but there should be sufficient beds in prison to assure that individuals who have previously tormented and inflicted great bodily injury on an infant should remain in prison for the full term of any sentence imposed on them thereafter. On January 19, 2003, officers responded to Valencia’s residence to conduct a welfare check regarding possible child abuse. The inmate’s co-defendant, the child’s mother, was holding the 22 month old victim who had bruises covering her forehead and head, missing patches of hair from her head, and she was going in and out of consciousness.  She was rushed to the hospital and observed to have multiple bruises all over her body, a hand-shaped bruise to the left side of her head, a solid bruise from the top of her buttocks down the back of her thighs and to the back of her knees, and severe bruising to her left ear.  Some of the bruising on her chest appeared to be from pinching.  She also had lacerated liver and a blood alcohol content of .013%. Valencia took this case to trial and was convicted of 4 felony counts of child abuse, two with an enhancement for the infliction of great bodily injury on a child less than 5 years old. He was sentenced to 100 months in prison.  Two of these offense are violent strikes. While on parole for that offense, he committed the more recent offense of being a felon in possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number which was found during a parole search, along with ammunition and methamphetamine. District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release
 
Avette Carol VolkerVolker, Avette Carol: In 1987, a much younger version of Volker decided to leave home and travel with friends, now referred to as “known accomplices”.  They believed they could make their way by their wits and through the kindness of strangers who would pick them up to hitchhike to their chosen destination.  One such Good Samaritan picked up Volker and her known accomplices. According to the probation department report generated by Sierra County, the , evidently tired of intermittently walking and thumbing for rides, came up with the idea to kill the driver to alleviate the physical burden of her current lifestyle. She talked one of her known accomplices into the killing and he then set about beating the unsuspecting victim violently about the head and face with a large rock more than a dozen times causing his death.  Volker removed the victim’s bloodied clothing and set them on fire along with bloodied blankets and sheets removed from the victim’s van.  The judge presiding over the eventual criminal trial on the case, wherein the  testified for the State in exchange for a plea deal, had this to say at the ‘s sentencing: “While these opinions may indeed seem harsh, especially considering the defendant’s young age and lack of prior record, unfortunately, the elements and facts surrounding this crime are also harsh. Individuals must be made to understand that the taking of someone else’s property, especially with violence or threat of great violence will not be tolerated by society. It is truly unfortunate that the defendant has chosen a crime with such devastating surrounding circumstances with which to open up her criminal career.” District Attorney’s Letter Opposing Early Release