|LBREPORT.com received an email response this morning (Nov. 4) from Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price (an OC Deputy District Attorney) regarding a statement we included in reporting last night (Nov. 3) that a man observed by LBPD yelling and screaming after he struck a father walking with his two daughters along 2nd St. at Nieto Ave. in Belmont Shore pleaded guilty at his arraignment to an LB City Prosecutor-charged battery, was sentenced to the maximum for the misdemeanor offense of 180 days in jail and was released by the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. the next day. As part of our Nov. 3 report, we stated "What took place isn't a 'Prop 47' issue (felony reduced to misdemeanor) or an AB 109 issue ("realignment" of state prison felony incarceration.) It was an originating misdmeanor for which a defendant was charged, pleaded guilty, received the maximum misdemeanor term a judge can impose and was then basically allowed to walk out of jail." Councilwoman Price provided the response below, which has caused us to rethink our initial statement.
[Begin Councilwoman Price text received 8:18 a.m. Nov. 4, 2017]
...If you don't think A.B. 109 and Prop 47 have something to do with this, you are completely mistaken.
A.B. 109 resulted in less crowding of our prisons, but more crowding of our local jails with little to no state resources to augment our local facilities and support for the same. The combination of these two statewide measures, along with what appears to be a pendulum that is swinging very much towards rehabilitation, with no resources to support the same, is to blame.
[Scroll down for further.]
I've been a prosecutor for 18 years and frankly I was pleasantly surprised at the sentence the judge imposed in this case. It sounds like our city prosecutors office advocated for and received the ultimate punishment for this individual.
It is the jail system and the state wide attitudes towards incarceration that results in so many people who need to be behind bars, getting released. Personally, I believe there is a very solid place for incarceration in our criminal justice system. Incarceration does in fact serve as a deterrent for many. If nothing else, it takes people off the streets, even for a short period of time. The outcome in this case is absolutely disappointing.
While I am not familiar with the LA County system, and firmly believe that an individual in this situation would have definitely received more custodial time in Orange County, I know that every single county is looking at early release as a way to alleviate and mitigate the ongoing resource problems. Few criminals are going to prison anymore, everyone is going to the local jail. That's a lot of stress to put on an existing infrastructure that has received little to no financial resources to handle the influx of new bodies. It is disappointing on every level.
I will continue to work with [City Prosecutor] Doug Haubert, as he and I enjoy a great working relationship and agree on many of these issues. I will continue to work with the LA DAs office, as I have done in regards to quality of life crimes and the prosecution of the same in the Long Beach branch of their office. Most importantly, I will continue to serve as the state wide advocate on issues such as this.
I have drafted and testified before the state Assembly and the state Senate Public Safety committee's multiple times in the past few years on new legislation. Even the most commonsensical legislation that I have proposed has failed to make it out of the Public Safety committee. The pendulum towards crime has swung to a very dangerous place, in my opinion.
My fear is that it will take a major tragedy for the state to strike a better balance when it comes to incarceration and the imposition of significant criminal penalties. That is absolutely the wrong way to make policy, in my opinion. Most of the folks drafting, introducing, and backing statewide legislation, do you not have a background in law-enforcement or criminal prosecution. They have not worked with victims of crime every day like prosecutors do. They don't understand the ramifications for the policies they are setting. Take for example the whole debate with the Bail System.
I could not have disagreed more with the proposals that were introduced this year. I could go on and on, but I won't. I will continue to do my part to stay active in this statewide and county discussion. I did reach out to supervisor Hahn (personally and to her office ) and asked that she appoint me to the blue ribbon committee on public safety, but I received no response whatsoever. And just read in the paper that the committee held their first meeting, so I'm assuming I was not appointed.
You are right that the outcome below is tragic and an alarming reality of what our current criminal justice system has become as a result of legislation and advocacy by people who don't understand how crime affects people. [end Councilwoman Price text]
[Editor postscript: As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert, provided us with the following statement last night (Nov. 3):
[City Prosecutor Haubert Nov. 3 text] Early release of violent and dangerous criminals is happening too frequently. Here is an example of a criminal who was arrested by police, prosecuted to the fullest extent the law would allow, and he received the maximum punishment. Then he is released right away.
In too many instances, the system is failing. I spoke with Sheriff Jim McDonnell today [Nov. 3] and he shares my concerns 100 percent. The release of a criminal like this should serve as a wake up call for policy makers who still don't understand how dysfunctional the system has become. I plan to work with our Sheriff and other prosecutors to put a spotlight on cases like this one.
Developing. Further to follow on LBREPORT.com.
Dec. 22: The text above was amended to reflect information received Dec. 22 from the LB City Prosecutor's office indicating the defendant pleaded guilty on Nov. 1 and was released on Nov. 2.
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