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Prop. 47, the Releases Have Begun….McDonnell Makes Plans…. How Elections Affect LA….Monday’s American Justice Summit Live Streams

In the days since California voters passed Prop. 47 by a healthy margin
, real world responses to the initiative’s victory have been swift. For instance, Kristina Davis of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that in San Diego County, teenagers were released from juvenile hall the day after voting day, while the SD Public Attorney’s Office was getting 200 calls an hour from inmates in the county’s jail hoping for reduced sentences.

In the Bay area, judges did not even wait for election results to be certified before resentencing inmates and reducing charges write Matthias Gafni and David DeBolt in the San Jose Mercury News.

And in Santa Rosa County one lawbreaker was very, very cheery when he showed up in court on November 5, according to the Press Democrat’s Paul Payne.

Here’s a clip:

When Judge Lawrence Ornell took a seat in his Santa Rosa courtroom the morning after Election Day, a man with an “I voted” sticker on his lapel walked up to the bench, beaming.

Ornell noticed the man’s sunny disposition then looked down at the charge. It was possession of cocaine, an offense that a day earlier was a felony but with the passage of Proposition 47 by California voters had been reduced to a misdemeanor.

His chances of receiving a stiff punishment vanished overnight.

“He was smiling ear to ear,” Ornell said Thursday, recounting the man’s good fortune. “He was a happy man.”

The scene is playing out frequently these days as courts, prosecutors and police grapple with a new reality intended to cut prison crowding and save hundreds of millions of dollars for rehabilitation.

Proposition 47 reclassifies nonviolent offenses that used to be felonies — including many property crimes valued at $950 or less, grand theft, forgery, shoplifting and simple drug possession — and reduces them to misdemeanors carrying lighter punishments.

Some estimate a third of all felonies, many drug-related, will be downgraded to lesser crimes, creating a domino effect that will keep petty criminals out of custody and free some who are already behind bars.

Statewide, as many as 40,000 people a year could be affected, the Legislative Analyst’s Office said.

State prison officials estimate 4,770 inmates would be eligible to petition the court for resentencing and possible release. Nineteen are from Sonoma County, local prosecutors said, and the Sheriff’s Office has identified 209 of its 1,200 jail inmates for possible consideration.

All would go before a judge who would review the details of their offenses and their records. Those previously convicted of violent or serious crimes would not qualify, Assistant Sheriff Randall Walker said.


Soon-to-be LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell was still in a post-election daze, with zillions of requests for meetings, interviews, and call-backs piling up, when LA Daily News reporter Rick Orlov talked to him about his plans.

Here’s a clip:

“I am not looking at any big transition team,” said McDonnell, who spent the bulk of his career at the Los Angeles Police Department, where he was second-in-command, and served as a chief of police in Long Beach since 2010. “I will reach out to different experts, but I want to talk to the people in the department and see the talent that is there.”

His first priority in rebuilding confidence in the troubled department, McDonnell said, will be a review of the county jail system to determine what changes have been made since the release of a critical report by the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence, of which he was a member. Its jail system — the largest in the world — holds an average of 18,000 to 20,000 inmates a day, about 17 percent of whom are believed to have mental illnesses.

“I want to see what has been done and what can be done as quickly as possible,” McDonnell said. “It is our top priority.”

But before he does that, there is a long-delayed trip to Boston to see his 88-year-old mother and celebrate with his family back there.

“I’ll be there four days, but there is not a lot of time left before I take office,” McDonnell said. “I have just a few weeks before I take office on Dec. 1.”


LA Times columnist Jim Newton lists those of last Tuesday’s races most likely to affect the actual lives of So Cal voters—most particularly the election of Jim McDonnell as LA County’s new sheriff, the passage of Jerry Brown’s water bond, and the victory of Sheila Kuehl in the LA County Supervisor’s race. Here’re are some clips:

The Sheriff’s Department has struggled for decades, resisting attempts to reduce violence in jails and impose meaningful civilian oversight. Sheriff Lee Baca often seemed overwhelmed by the task, and Baca’s former top deputy, Paul Tanaka, who ran against McDonnell in last week’s election, was widely seen as an impediment to reform.

McDonnell, by contrast, has pledged to move ahead with efforts to constrain excessive force and to lead the agency into a more sophisticated relationship with the public and county government. And he has the right credentials to make that happen. Most recently, McDonnell headed the Long Beach Police Department. Before that, at the LAPD, McDonnell helped lead the department to a new kind of policing that embraced community engagement, and he did it at a time when that department was trying to reconstruct trust after years of controversy — as the Sheriff’s Department is today.

It won’t be easy, but McDonnell has a chance to make real progress.


Most of the post-election commentary on Kuehl’s victory has focused on whether she can hold the line on county worker pay hikes, given the backing that public employee unions gave her. That’s a fair question, though Kuehl is famously stubborn and a little bit prickly, so I wouldn’t envy the person trying to call in a chit with her.

To me, the more intriguing aspect of her victory is what it might mean for one of the county’s gravest responsibilities: the operation of its foster care system, which cares for children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect and which has seen too much tragedy. This is an area that Kuehl knows and cares about.

Kuehl, whose sister is a judge in the Sacramento foster care system, speaks movingly of her determination to help young people. And as a state legislator, she wrote a slew of bills intended to protect children in the system.

Now she’s about to join a board that oversees the largest child welfare system in the nation, one that is responsible for more than 30,000 children at any given time.


Tina Brown Live Media is co-hosting what is being called The American Justice Summit, which will live stream on Monday from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern, featuring the likes of John Jay College president Jeremy Travis, Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman, New Yorker legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, Equal Justice Initiative founder and author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Right on Crime’s Grover Norquist, and many, many more.

I’ve you’ve got an interest in criminal justice issues, it’ll likely be worth your while to tune in to this event.


  • “I will reach out to different experts, but I want to talk to the people in the department and see the talent that is there.” And at McDonnell’s shoulder, guiding him step by step, will be the merry band of Tanaka and Baca sycophants. They will make sure to steer him clear of actual talent, because that has been absent from both the 4th and 8th floors for many years. All those “C” players holding the title of unit commander, commanding nothing more than a Mega Flex paycheck, will pretend they earned their positions based on merit. It should be entertaining.

  • Happy Birthday USMC. SEMPER FIDELIS.

    To all Veterans (military) who served/serves still, along with those who are now Peace Officers……Have a great day tomorrow on Veterans Day.

    Thank you for your service.

  • Prop 47 looks great from the outside but wait until crime goes through the roof. I expect to see a lot of news reports this holiday season of people stealing multiple big screen tvs from best buy and say oh well its under $950 and its only a misdemeanor. This state is in chaos and the criminals run the asylum. Well done liberal politicians. I can’t wait to move out of the God forsaken state.

  • Here is my major concern about Prop 47; for the sake of expediency and alleged financial savings, we have made it easier for those with drug and alcohol addictions to avoid treatment. At least in the current, albeit flawed system, incarcerated persons are directed to programs as part of credit-earning programs. The old system incentivized treatment; the new system incentivizes crime. Not a good trade. I predict we will see people entering the system in even worse shape than they would have under the old system. It will take a lot more arrests before someone is sentenced to meaningful time where they can seek out treatment. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is absolutely NO requirement for post-prop 47 arrestees to go to treatment. Dumb move.

  • @3…..Agreed totally with your last sentence, re: California.

    The “Liberal Left Coast” at its finest, right here in the Golden State. It takes more than TALKING about liberals.

    Sound solutions squashes most complaints. The whiners have to throw the “Rally Monkey” away and match their walk with their talk in Sacramento

  • YES!!! SEMPER FI to all of the US Marines!

    In response to many of what’s been posted lately, I have to agree that some (OK, many…. OK, MOST) of the recent promotions have me scratching my head! I do not understand the reasoning behind promoting people to positions that don’t exist. I especially don’t understand promoting people to a higher rank who have not shown the ability to perform at the lower rank; it just doesn’t make sense. I do think #24 (embarrassed deputy on a different story) is absolutely correct in the comment that NONE of this has one iota of a chance of happening without the blessing of the Sheriff-elect. I have always respected John Scott, but these most recent decisions on promotions kind of show that everyone plays the game. I hope soon to be Sheriff McDonnell gets the true and real info on a lot of these leg clingers, but I don’t know if he will be able to right the ship (OR right the wrongs) any time soon.

    His first move should be to get rid of Tyler; what an absolute joke he has come to be.

  • In short order, the people of California will realize this was truly a foolish, foolish proposition they voted for. This was a bonehead uber liberal used car the people purchased and they will so regret the day they voted for this. Soon, the media will chronicle the horror stories of the masses that are being released from prison. Those individuals will prey on the innocent while the uber liberals continue to hug and cheer each other proclaiming victory. The liberals sold California Prop 47 just like the Democrats sold the nation Obamacare. Mark my words.

  • God Bless America and the men and women that served and sacrificed.

    I don’t think many of the LASD executives served in the military.

  • Not to be cynical, but is it possible the lady holding the champagne flute and toasting the passage of Prop 47 may be celebrating the fact her parolee boyfriend is coming home sooner?

  • I haven’t posted here in a few years because Celeste deletes posts when they get too in her face. She simply can’t stand the heat. She was asked by me once why she had such a soft spot in her heart for gangsters and her answer was, “It’s a long story”, never went into detail. Oh, I posted here a lot back then, a whole lot.

    Anyway, 47 is a dream come true to her and people like her. She’s never met a con, especially a young one she didn’t think couldn’t be saved or didn’t have something in them worth saving. Isn’t that true Celeste? Doesn’t matter the crime either.

    Cops that get cut down by gutless thugs and gangsters, and lots of them have this year, well they don’t get really any space here but prisoners on hunger strikes and the supposedly wrongly convicted or kids claiming innocence though certainly not having proven it, well she’ll write on them all day.

    My kid works an AB109 team and you know they’ve let at least one guy loose with 187 as the controlling offense? I mean ADW, 211, 487 these are norms but 187? Now the leftists in the state and people like Celeste who love to weaken 3 Strikes which was a major reason for the long reduction in crime here bury their head in the sand when it comes to doing stories on what these guys are doing but go to the sites that are documenting their crimes and you’ll get the real picture you won’t see here.

    So how about telling the story now Celeste on what got you so enamored with the thug life…miss me?

  • Sure Fire had some very good points about AB109 and the convicts that are roaming the streets. We all know that AB109 was simply a budget issue. Prop 47 is simply a vote by a state population that has maintained its Constitutional right to be as liberal as it wants to be. Sure Fire, no matter what statistics are developed by this latest debacle, I can assure you that a liberal, or for that matter, a conservative, can hallucinate statistics. It is sad that we, this wonderful state, have come to this. Imagine if you will an amazing earthquake that breaks away northern California. We should have a contest to name it! The schools up north could still produce the people that are going to save the world, although, we would have to do something about the placement of UCLA. I am sure the north would want to annex it!

    Celeste Fremon, I am surprised at your response. I believe you have allowed a great deal more personal bantering without a comment. Free speech is a beautiful thing unless it becomes personal. I think Sure Fire hit a nerve! Sometimes a blog controller forgets about free speech when that nerve is activated! I’m just saying!!!! I do enjoy reading the blog though, it stimulates me to think how many smart people we have looking at, and commenting on issues for the most part they know little about. Rumors are part of life and make us all feel as though we know more that the next person. I wish you had a “bullshit” button for some of your followers and could simply push it! Heck, you may push it on me! Keep doing your thing!

  • @Celeste. ……Sure Fire (Misfire) & Slow Role (No Role) are characteristic of those who can’t accept a decision even if it’s not in their favor.

    The people have spoken and voted.

    Those who can’t or won’t accept it, can lump it or leave it(California).

  • Steady Beat,
    You make a very good point with “The people have spoken and voted”.
    The people also spoke and voted in 2008 when they passed Prop 8.

    So the people that disagreed with Prop 8 would be an example of people who can’t accept a decision if it’s not in their favor. Correct?
    Or is/was that different?

  • Steady Beat: Your ignorance amazes me…well maybe not! You may simply need to go back to, or start school. Start with Government 101, listen to the professor talk about how having opinions, either for or against, are essential for this Country to prosper! Debate is the cornerstone of information, especially when most of you who voted for 47 NEVER READ THE PROP! I understand the people have spoken and we will abide by their decision and the laws. As an American, it is my fundamental right to have an opinion; again, it may be a school issue for you!

  • God save us from some of the aluminum foil colander wearing conservative crazies who know everything but can’t wait to invoke their right to free speech when folks don’t agree with their infantile rants. Get over it. You want something different? Grow up, organize and campaign. Stop whining about democracy. It’s a messy, contentious, appalling process, but I prefer it to jackboots and swastikas. I may not agree with everything you have to say, but at least elevate the conversation beyond a sniveling whine. Lock them up and throw away the key isn’t working, and the Playtex bra “lift and separate” solution (split the state) ain’t gonna happen either. We don’t get everything we want. We work together and compromise. It’s hard work.

  • I accepted the decision Steady Beat, WTF else could I do? That you don’t care about the mass of crimes being committed by AB109er’s and soon to be released bad guys under 47 is self evident by your post. You’re not smart enough to play this game, stats are in my favor and that’s what counts. As crime goes up thanks to narrow minded voters like you just hope you don’t run into one of these non-violent guys who got a free pass thanks to your ignorance. Free speech sheesh Says, whose stopping anyone from talking? Ramble on but keep that head down, you’ll need to. As for your “lock them up and throw away the key isn’t working” stupidity, under 3 Strikes what happened with the crime rate Einstein, that’s right kept going down. What do you and your latte drinking pals want to do, weaken it every election cycle. Yeah, you’re brilliant, we’ll see how that works out, one young girls already a victim, how many more we going to pile on your plate?

  • Kind of good to be back Celeste but please answer one question..what happened to Reg? Believe it or not I would be sad if he passed on, those were my best battles ever.

  • Sheesh, I see you have no shortage of uber liberal arrogance that is topped the infamous “utopia, yes we can,” mentality. The same over the top left arrogance that proclaims the American public too stupid to figure it out, yet created a political backlash a couple of weeks ago that you, Obama and Pelosi said had nothing to do with them.

    So you and drone thinkers like you proclaim victory on the backs on the backs of the well financed and manipulateive organized Prop 47 crew. And then you call us in law enforcement “jackbooted and swastika” wearing whiners. Maybe as law enforcement professionals, we might have a more informed insight based on reality and not a liberal “they just need help,” utopian mentality. We are the professional who deal with victims of crimes 24/7, not you. We see these animals who prey on the innocent, the scum who commit burglaries, robberies and other crimes to pay for their 24/7 addiction to meth and heroin. We see the robberies that go bad and turn into murders, the storekeeper laid out on his/her back, eyes wide open and hole in their chest gunned down by one of your Prop 47 poster boys who you celebrated over their release. I’ve never seen a thug locked in prison able to murder an innocent victim to supply their drug habit. It doesn’t work, regardless of how you think Hope and Change should work.

    Maybe I will take you along for my next death notification and let you tell the family of a murder victim how much you love your Prop 47 crew. You can celebrate afterwards and tell your crew about the whiners.

  • sheesh,
    I wouldn’t be celebrating too much. It’s abundantly clear that you’re not all that hard to hoodwink into believing any lie you are told.

    “The average American family will save twenty five hundred dollars a year thanks to the ACA”.

    So how’s that working out for the average American family? About as well as “Drug addicts and thieves don’t belong in prison because they are non-violent, they will behave better if we give them more lenient sentences” is going to work out.

    Like Dr. Gruber said: “Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever”.

  • @ 17) Yes, You are correct and there is no difference. (For the record, I do not totally agree with Prop 47). It was meant “one way” for a few and has already been “taken advantage of by many”

    Like many other laws, systems and programs designed for some, this prop 47 will be “destroyed” by the undeserving.

    I too, know that it has already started to “self destruct” My beef is with those (despite circumstances)who cry like a “Witch” with a capitol “B” when things don’t always go a certain way.

  • For (Not So) Sure Fire…..stats are “manipulated numbers” One can make them look either high/low or good/bad. Don’t get stuck on stats…. Stupid.

    I would venture to say that “stats” ARE NOT in your favor when you look at the LIBERALS & ASS BACKWARDS laws here on the LEFT COAST.

  • Sheesh: I have no problem with Democracy; I embrace it and always have. The problem I have is ignorance. Please don’t type to me that you truly believe this prop was presented to the public for what it truly is. You can have some of my foil!

  • Steady Beat,
    I appreciate your consistency where the whiners and bitchers are concerned.
    Here’s what is kind of a conundrum for me.
    Considering your statements that you do not totally agree with 47, and that it:
    “was meant “one way” for a few and has already been “taken advantage of by the many”, “will be destroyed by the undeserving” and “has already started to self destruct”; Do you now feel that those who supported 47 made an error in judgement due to lack of foresight that this was what was going to happen?
    You seem to be defending the supporters of Prop 47 while at the same time agreeing with those who are lambasting it due to the unintended consequences coming down the road.
    In short, do you have Buyers Remorse, or do you think the voters of CA made a wise decision by passing 47?
    Concerning your statements in #24, coupled with your beef with the anti-47 whiners and bitchers some clarification is in order.
    It seems like you’re saying: “Yeah you guys are right, but quit your bitching about it and pointing out how 47 supportes made a mistake”, while at the same time admitting 47 supporters made a mistake.
    Your thoughts?

  • The passage of Prop 47 is just part of the cycle of “socio-political-economic” life. When people get fed up with crime and the “system” not being pro-active enough in making them feel safe they complain to their local elected officials. These officials in turn pressure their local police agencies to do a better job making the “good citizenry” feel safe. The police in turn increase patrols, become more pro-active and start making arrests.

    During this “honeymoon period”, crime rates go down, people start to feel safe and life is good. Everybody is happy… people…local politicians….police.

    Soon people start to forgot about the “bad times” and what it was like before. Over time the courts start to feel they are over-burdened, the jails become over-crowded and the prisons start to run out of bed space.

    The state politicians are now in the drivers seat and start to complain about the economic burden posed by arresting, prosecuting and housing “low-level offenders”. Depending on their political leanings, they make sure they enlist the aide of socially conscious groups such as the ACLU to inform the good citizenry of the “miscarriages” of justice delved out by the “law enforcers”, i.e the police. The citizenry start to buy in agrees that “we need to lighten up” on things…it’s not necessary to treat “criminal” so harshly, they only broke a “little bit of the law”….”what the big deal”.

    Now you have a “boogey man”, “the police” to blame all your societal wows on and a face the public can remember in the voting booths when they are faced with a yes/no vote on something like Prop 47.

    Standby…same bat channel…same bat time….until the cycle starts to repeat…..

  • I don’t have to manipulate anything to see what’s happened to crime here since the passage of 3 Strikes. Do your homework dude. I’m sure you’re one of the geniuses that was all gung-ho for Prop 36, you know the give a doper another chance to rip me off law? Well with 47 passing that’s now in the wind so even more opportunity for some tweaker to visit you, happy now? Course we all know people under the influence of CNS stimulants are non-violent so no problem for you and the family, just co-operate and you’ll be fine.

  • We Shall See,
    Bravo. You hit the nail squarely on the head.
    After a few years, the same people who voted for this debacle will get tired of not being able to go anywhere without being around tweekers and crack heads, or not being able to park their car at the beach or their local Starbucks without it being burged by a doper looking for anything of value that they can cluck off.
    When that time comes you won’t be able to find a single progressive soul who was in favor of Prop 47. You know, the same phenomenon like how you can’t find one now who admits calling Vietnam vets baby killers or spitting on them.

  • @ Oh Well. Yes & Yes, re: your last paragraph @ 28. That law should only apply to the “most minute” of offenders.

    Yes and any solid mind would logically agree.(this is my thinking)…..Maybe 1 in every 1000 knuckleheads should/would this apply to after detailed scrutiny.

    It should be revamped and revised. Regardless. ….there will be other battles.

    @ 30.) Miss Fire……..How are are a Left Coast native and be suprised at another foolish law. You fools “spared” Charles Manson.

  • Surprised, hardly, and California wasn’t always like this, not sure the date the lunatics took over but they certainly have. Oh,I was born in Chicago.

  • Today is John Scott’s farewell celebration. Of course it is at the Hall of Justice. It cannot come soon enough.

    What has he done for the organization other than the same as the past regime, it s good to be in the same old car.

    Sadly, Sheriff McDonnelll will have many burdens to bear from John Scott’s ineffectiveness and personal desires. He he many executives and acting executives thrust upon him that he cannot change if if he would like too. And the mismanagement of the organization under John Scott’s reign has put the Department 10’s of millions of dollars at just 4 months into the 2014/2015 budget.

    Thank You for leaving John Scott and Best of luck to you, Sheriff McDonnel. You will need it.

  • Steady Beat,
    You’re tired of cops bitching about Prop 47? They saw the unintended consequences of Prop 47 being passed. They are the ones who have to deal with the fallout. Since you yourself already see the problems with 47, and see that it’s allowing bunches of predatory types to walk out of custody, I would think you would have a modicum of patience for those that are saying: “See, we told you so”. That is human nature.
    Those that supported Prop 47 did so because they said it only applied to “non-violent drug offenders” and “petty thieves”.
    Those that opposed Prop 47 did so because they know that a LOT of drug addicts and petty thieves who would qualify for reduced sentences or release will commit violent crimes in the future.

    Of course those who opposed it are going to point it out if they are being proved right. That’s what takes place it debates over political issues. Remember how the left had no problem pointing out how there were no WMD’s found in Iraq? Same thing.

    If a friend told you not to buy a car because it was a lemon, you went ahead bought it, and a week later you called him for a ride to work because the transmission was shot, I’ll wager he/she would bring it up that they told you it was a lemon.
    And of course, you would tell them you didn’t want to hear it.

    Buyer’s Remorse, when you were told Prop 47 was a lemon, is tough to take. It bruises the ego. Instead of saying: “I was wrong and you were right”, people tend to say “I don’t want to hear your bitching about it”.

    Prop 47 supporters screwed up. Sorry, time to take their medicine.
    It’s tough on their ego. Hopefully they learn from it.

    I sincerely appreciate your consistency, honesty and the way you debate me in an adult fashion.
    BTW, the Manson reference was beautiful…….and appropriate lol.

  • Just a Misdemeanor! Prop 47 you have no life experience or what the real world is all about. I know, programs for Meth, Heroin, and Cocaine are better on the outside because recidivism rates are much better than those of jailed drug user recidivism! Well here’s a news blast Liberal, WRONG!!!Statistics are like discussions, each side thinks they win. Just do the research before you type! Or go to jail and see for yourself! Ignorance is bliss on this topic. It hurts to see your liberal views without personnel knowledge. Grow up, the world is not all flowers and hugs.

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