LaMalfa Issues Statement on SB 9

Posted: August 20, 2012 in California Politics
Tags: , , ,

Bill would allow prison release for juvenile murderers

Senator Doug LaMalfa (R – Richvale) derided the content of Senate Bill 9 (Yee), which passed from the Senate Floor today despite bipartisan opposition. If signed by Governor Brown, the bill will allow individuals who have been convicted of special circumstance murder committed as a juvenile, and who have been sentenced to life with without parole (LWOP), to petition the court for a resentencing of “25 years to life,” potentially resulting in the release of convicted murders.

“Life without the possibility of parole for minors was implemented by the voters in 1990 by Proposition 115,” said LaMalfa. “Californians have been clear and decisive in their intent to implement justice of murderers. This measure not only subverts the electorate, but it undermines public safety.”

LaMalfa emphasized that current law does provide several protections for any juvenile that is eligible for LWOP, including the requirement that an offender must be older than 16 at the time of the crime. Additionally, the prosecuting attorney would have to proactively choose to pursue the sentencing given the special circumstances.

“Not only does a juvenile have to meet a variety of requirements to be eligible for LWOP, but the jury must unanimously agree that the defendant was guilty of a particularly heinous crime and the judge must concur that the severity of the crime warrants the absence of an opportunity for parole,” explained LaMalfa. “Life without parole is a fitting punishment for some special circumstance crimes. In fact, just a few years ago, some of these offenders would have qualified for capital punishment. Life without parole was supposed to be the more humane option in lieu of the death penalty, and now we are seeing the devolution of penalties. At this rate, I am concerned about where public safety—or should I say the lack of public safety—will be within a few short years.”

The Senator concluded: “We spent a lot of time talking about compassion for the person convicted and sentenced to life without parole, and how the permanency of their sentence will cause that person to lead a life of hopelessness. Think about it: the victim does not get to enjoy a life of hope. And the victim’s family does not have any reason to hope for the victim. We’re not talking about misbehavior; we’re talking about murder, and correct me if I am wrong, but murder is more permanent than life without parole.”

Senator Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing the fourth Senate District including Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Siskiyou, Sutter, Del Norte, Placer, Trinity, Yuba and Nevada counties.

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