Area attorneys join opposition to Schwarzenegger’s early-parole plan

Sun News Service

NEVADA CITY, Calif. and#8212; District Attorney Clifford Newell is urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to give up the idea of releasing some prison inmates as one step toward solving California’s budget crisis.

and#8220;This action will dramatically threaten the safety of all Californians and allow career criminals to take advantage of our citizens without threat of serious prosecution,and#8221; Newell said in a prepared statement. and#8220;There are alternatives available to the Governor and our legislative leaders that do not sacrifice our citizen’s safety.and#8221;

Newell joined members of the California District Attorneys Association in signing a letter delivered Monday to Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders.

CDAA took issue with the administration’s proposal to reduce and#8220;wobblerand#8221; offenses and#8212; crimes that can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors and#8212; to straight misdemeanors, citing many unintended consequences that would and#8220;subvert prosecutorial efforts in numerous ways,and#8221; according to the organization’s letter.

and#8220;Felony crimes carry longer statutes of limitations than misdemeanors,and#8221; the CDAA letter states. and#8220;This means that prosecutions of major fraud cases, for example, which are often document-driven and take months, if not years, to come together, could be lost. …

and#8220;Search warrants generally can only be issued in cases involving felonies. This proposal would effectively abolish the use of this vital law enforcement tool,and#8221; prosecutors wrote.

Another aspect of the governor’s plan would parole some inmates early.

and#8220;It is imperative for public safety to place every inmate whose sentence is commuted for the purpose of early discharge from custody … on summary parole,and#8221; CDAA leaders wrote. The sole purpose of summary parole would be to permit search and seizure of parolees for a period of at least three years.

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