Earlier this month, the California Senate Public Safety Committee passed a bill that would allow some of the state’s worst criminals the opportunity to become eligible for parole. These criminals are murderers who have killed multiple people or were convicted of murder in addition to rape, robbery, torture, or kidnapping.
The bill allows for judicial review of cases that occurred before June 5, 1990, in which the criminal had alleged special circumstances and was sentenced to death or life without possibility of parole. These circumstances include “murder committed for financial gain or committed during the commission or attempted commission of certain felonies.” Criminals who matched this criteria would be provided with a public defender who would petition for their resentencing.
The court could lessen the convicted murderer’s sentence and or even invalidate the conviction and impose judgment on a less severe offense. If the court decides that the offender deserves a second chance, he or she would be able to work to earn parole.
One of the murderers who would be eligible for a lesser sentence under SB 94 is Tiequon Cox. In 1984, Cox murdered a mother, her daughter, and two of her grandchildren.
While on death row, he killed another convicted murderer and nearly escaped prison by cutting a hole in a fence. California Democrats want to give the most dangerous criminals like Cox a second chance that many Californians would argue they do not deserve.
The bill was co-authored by Democrat Senators Josh Becker, Nancy Skinner, and Scott Wiener, and Assemblywomen Corrie Jackson and Akilah Weber. In addition, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, Alameda County DA Pamela Price, and California Attorney General Rob Bonta are all in favor of letting convicted murderers free after 15-20 years in prison.
Crime in California is already out of control. A 5-year-old girl riding in the backseat of her parents’ car was fatally stabbed by a tech executive on a San Francisco sidewalk earlier this month. An innocent hostage was randomly murdered while two others were injured at a park just a few weeks ago. In January of this year, over the course of just eight days, 25 Californians were killed in four shootings. The list goes on.
Only convicted criminals guilty of the most heinous crimes would benefit from Senate Bill 94, and there is no reason to allow individuals who have proven to be a serious threat to California communities back on the streets.
To make matters worse, in March of this year, Democrat legislators voted down AB 229, which would have defined human trafficking and felony domestic violence as a violent felony for purposes of the Three Strikes Law.
Under California’s Three Strikes Law, non-violent crimes are not considered strikes. This means repeat non-violent offenders avoid longer sentences and they can use generous good-behavior credits to cut their sentences short.
At the very least, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle should have a shared goal of making California communities safer. However, it seems that the left is uninterested in establishing and maintaining justice in California.
SB 94 is in the Senate Appropriations Committee. If it gets approval, the bill will be voted on by the entire Senate before moving over to the Assembly for consideration.