Prop 47, the California law meant to retroactively reduce the severity of sentences for nonviolent crimes has had mixed success during its first year. Some California law enforcement agencies, however, have been arresting more people for minor crimes than before the measure took effect, according to a report released Tuesday, November 10th by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The ACLU of California, in their report, faults law enforcement officials for “a disappointing level of resistance” in their response to Proposition 47. Prop 47, approved by about 60 percent of voters in November 2014, turned drug and property offenses from felonies into misdemeanors. It applies to drug possession for personal use, and non-violent property crimes involving amounts under $950. For misdemeanor offenses, the law allows police officers to either arrest suspects or issue them tickets to appear in court.
Minor Crime Arrests Down in Some Counties, Up in Others
The effectiveness of Prop 47 in reducing arrests for minor crimes depends on how police departments across the state are make the decision to either arrest or issue tickets, the ACLU said. Their report found mixed results. In some counties, steep drops in arrests were seen for the first six months of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014. For example, in San Francisco, the number of arrests for minor drug and property crimes fell by 50%. In Sacramento, the number of these arrests dropped by 43%.
In other counties, however, arrests rose during the same period, the ACLU reported. Ventura County, near Los Angeles, made a mere 10% more arrests during the first six months of 2015, while in Fresno County, minor drug and property crime arrests increased by a staggering 77%.
Public Against Arrests for Minor Offences
“We have seen a disappointing level of resistance from some in law enforcement around the state,” said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, director of drug policy at the ACLU of California.
She added that arrests for minor offenses are no longer supported by the public. “Voters said they want to stop wasting resources on draconian sentencings and instead start connecting people to get at underlying issues: drug addiction and mental health problems,” Dooley-Sammuli said.
About Charles Magill, Fresno Defense Lawyer
Charles Magill’s relentless and creative style of legal service has resulted in more than 150 jury and court trial victories. Because of his uncanny ability to explain complex legal cases with unmistakable clarity, many news organizations, including FOX, ABC, CBS, NPR, NBC, The Wall Street Journal and The Fresno Bee, have sought his concise legal insight in interviews. He is an active member in the local Fresno Community and a member of the Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce. He and his firm have received multiple awards of recognition, many of which are a direct result of client nomination.
Leave a Reply