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Prison Realignment Plan May Include Those Convicted Of Serious Crimes

Publication Date: 
October 04, 2011
San Jose Mercury News

Professor Robert Weisberg is quoted in the following San Jose Mercury News article on the recent changes in California's sentencing law

Gov. Jerry Brown and others who supported the dramatic shift in California's sentencing law that took effect this week have said it will send only those convicted of nonviolent or non-serious crimes to county jails instead of state prison, a change designed to save the state money and reduce inmate crowding.

Yet a review by The Associated Press of crimes that qualify for local sentences shows at least two dozen offenses shifting to local control that can be considered serious or violent.

Among them: Involuntary manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, killing or injuring a police officer while resisting arrest, participating in a lynching, possession of weapons of mass destruction, possessing explosives, threatening a witness or juror, and using arson or explosives to terrorize a health facility or church. Assault, battery, statutory rape and sexual exploitation by doctors or psychotherapists are also covered by the prison realignment law and carry sentences that will be served in a county jail instead of state prison.


"Well as I read the statute, pure involuntary manslaughter if it doesn't involve a weapon or direct physical infliction of bodily harm on the victim is non-serious and nonviolent and isn't part of the special excluded list. So if that's what he's convicted of, yes he goes to county jail," wrote Stanford University law professor Robert Weisberg in an email response to the AP.