Early this New year, Governor Jerry Brown has once again denied parole to a former gang member who was convicted of fatally shooting a San Diego police officer in 1978. Jesus Salvador Cecena, 54, was only 17 when he was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting Officer Archie Buggs four times at a traffic stop, in the Skyline neighborhood. This marks the second year in a row the governor reversed the Board’s decision to recommend Cecena for parole. A two-member panel had announced its decision during an August 2015 hearing, citing that he had met the standards under a new law meant to assist prisoners serving long sentences for crimes committed as juveniles. The local police department there obviously launched a campaign against this decision to allow Cecena for parole.
While Brown acknowledged Cecena’s young age at the time, the Governor said in his statement he still believes Cecena would be a threat to society if he were to be released from prison. He claims that Cecena still has not given a credible explanation for his actions. At the sentencing in the late 1970’s a judge noted the evidence indicated the shooting was calculated and deliberate. Cecena was sentenced to life in prison and has been locked up since 1979.
The new law referred to be the parole board says the parole board must give “great weight to the diminished culpability of juveniles” and also consider the prisoner’s “maturity and rehabilitation in prison.” Cecena’s prison record indicates he has disavowed association with prison gangs and helps mentor younger prisoners.