Blog Post #6– California Victim’s Voice
Victim’s and Survivors Direct Appeal to the California Supreme Court
Recently the California Supreme Court rejected several of Governor Brown’s pardons and clemency of violent criminals. The Court has authority and a final “say so “of the Governor’s actions under it’s “abuse of power” authority.
I hope this is a realization by the Court that violent and career criminals must stay in prison as long as the sentence requires and are not to be released by a Governor’s whim or personal philosophy of justice and punishment.
Under the law, convicts can submit a request for pardon or clemency directly to the Governor. The Governor can grant the request. The Parole Board standards for release are more lenient then ever since the government policy now is to release as many convicts as possible, empty the prisons. The Supreme Court will scrutinize these actions for “abuse of power” by the Governor and Parole Board.
The Victims and Survivors: What are our rights in this new, lenient system. We can write letters to the parole boards and the Governor. But the deck is stacked against us when the major concern boils down to “will the convict become a good citizen upon release.”
Recommendation: Our Marsy’s rights must be expanded to allow victims and survivors the right to directly petition and/or address the Court to reject the Governor’s approval. The Court must consider the crime and its affects on the victim and survivors.
Victims and survivors have a powerful voice—but only if we use it with our legislators, family and friends, media, social and civic contacts.
Jack Reilley October 28, 2019 Blog # 7
Marsy’s Law: When Marsy’s Law was approved by voters in 2008 victims never anticipated the onslaught of pro-criminal, anti-victim laws such as AB-109 and the subsequent ballot Propositions and a plethora of laws specifically written to destroy the hard work of crime victims seeking justice and long term punishment for violent criminals. Parole boards now operate under government mandates to reduce the prison population by applying very lenient standards for parole: i.e., felonies reduced to misdemeanors, 3-strikes was softened, all sorts of reasons for shorter prison time and early release. Little thought is given the welfare of victims
A key Marsy’s victim’s right is: …#16. “To have the safety of the victim’s family, and the general public, considered before any parole or other post-judgment release decision is made.” Victims must insist this right is not ignored. The following items should be added to improve Marsy’s Law #16 by allowing victims more involvement in parole decisions.
…parole or post-judgement early release – the effect on the victims or survivors must be considered and recorded as part of the parole official record. Victims must be allowed to challenge parole and included in the parole record;
…the Governor must notify victims or survivors of the consideration of victims and survivors’ objections by answering all victims’ inquiries about their opposition to parole and their safety concerns before granting the parole or release.
…the parole board and the Governor’s files on the parole must be public records easily available to victims or survivors.
Jack Reilley September 10, 2019 Blog #6