In 2016, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 57, which allowed inmates who were convicted of non-violent felonies to seek early parole.
Upon passing, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was required to create regulations to implement this law. In doing so, the CDCR excluded inmates who were required to register as a sex offender from being eligible for early parole review.
A recent court ruling has declared this exclusion to be void. What does this mean for you if you are serving time in custody for a non-violent sex crime?
The CDCR Regulations
The language of Prop 57 did not define what a “non-violent” felony is, so the CDCR was forced to try to figure out the intent of the law on its own. As a result, the CDCR excluded inmates who were:
- Sentenced to death or a term of life in prison
- Serving a term of incarceration for a “violent felony” listed in Penal Code Section 667.5(c); or
- Convicted of a sex offense requiring registration under Penal Code Section 290
Criminal justice reform organization the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) took the CDCR to court over these regulations.
Court Rules CDCR Wrong in Excluding Sex Offenders
The ACSOL argued that the CDCR’s regulations did not follow Prop 57’s mandate because not all crimes that result in sex offender registration require that the offender used violence.
In response, the CDCR argued that registered sex offenders had high rates of recidivism, meaning they were more likely to commit more crimes.
The California Superior Court disagreed with the CDCR, stating that the voters intended that persons serving time for non-violent felonies, whether related to sex or not, were to be eligible for parole review. Moreover, the regulations excluded any person who had been required to register for a past crime but was serving time for a crime unrelated to the sex offense that required registration.
For example, suppose you were convicted of indecent exposure and required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. Years later, you are convicted of felony forgery, a crime that is not violent. Under the CDCR’s rules, you would not be eligible for early parole review even though the crime you are currently serving time for was nonviolent.
The court ruled this restriction is not what the voters intended when approving Prop 57. The court therefore ordered the CDCR to stop excluding all registered sex offenders and create new regulations in line with the law.
You may now be eligible for early parole if you were convicted of any non-violent felony, even if you were denied in the past.
Speak to an Experienced Sex Crimes Attorney at Wallin & Klarich Today
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable sex crimes defense attorneys have been successfully helping clients obtain post-conviction relief for more than 35 years. Our law firm can help you determine which post-conviction relief options work for you if you have a sex crime on your criminal record. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.