In an effort to minimize the prison population in California and better manage the associated costs, more inmates may be eligible for early parole. Included in this population are nonviolent sex offenders, according to a ruling by the California Supreme Court. The ballot measure, which was approved four years ago, was aimed at non-violent felons. The measure did not include language excluding sex offenders who were charged with non-violent felonies.
While former Gov. Jerry Brown has been an outspoken backer of the initiative, he said that he was not in favor of the measure including those convicted of sex crimes. The lower appeals court ruled that the way the initiative was written, it plainly includes all non-violent felonies including those convicted of sex crimes. When the ruling by the lower appeals court went to the high court, the ruling was upheld.
As a result of the ruling, 20,000 inmates may have the opportunity to gain early parole. Of those 20,000 inmates impacted by the initiative, approximately 50% are individuals serving their time for sex offenses and the other 50% had a previous sex crime conviction but were presently serving time for another crime such as burglary. These numbers were reported by Janice Bellucci the executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws. The courts indicated that the actual number of inmates who would be eligible for consideration would come to just over 4,000.
Bellucci says this ruling by the lower appeals court and which was maintained by the California Supreme Court is “a significant victory” for individuals convicted of sex crimes in California. Even though the ruling allows for sex offenders to gain consideration for parole, that does not mean a parole board will permit early release for these individuals. Ultimately, the parole board has a wide capacity for which they can determine who is paroled and who is not.
What Legal Defenses Can be Used When Charged With a Sex Crime in California?
When you have been arrested and charged for a sex crime in California, the penalties are high. The stigma of just a sex crime accusation follows a person forever and will negatively affect their life, even when there is no conviction. A conviction has even deeper implications for a person’s ability to sustain to return to a normal life after serving their time.
It is best to have the most strategic and resourceful California criminal defense attorney representing you when you are arrested and charged with a sex crime. Possible legal defense approaches could include:
- The alleged victim consented to the act.
- The alleged victim falsely accused the defendant of committing the act.