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CA Supreme Court Decision Overturns CDCR’s Prop. 57 Regulations [UPDATED 1/6/21]

[Updated 1/6/21 with new link]

The California Supreme Court today issued a unanimous decision that overturned regulations issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that prohibited all registrants from benefiting from the benefits of Proposition 57. The primary benefit at issue is early consideration for parole.

In today’s decision, In re Gadlin (S254599), the Court ruled that CDCR’s current regulations prohibited early parole consideration for all registrants are void because they violate the state constitution.

“This is a significant victory for registrants who are currently in custody,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “As the result of this decision, all registrants in custody who have been convicted of a non-violent sex offense must be provided early consideration for parole.”

According to today’s decision, CDCR may no longer deny the benefits of Prop. 57 to individuals who were previously convicted of a sex offense. CDCR also may no longer deny the benefits of Prop. 57 to any individuals who is currently in custody due to a conviction for a non-violent sex offense.

In addition, today’s decision requires CDCR to issue new regulations which acknowledge those limitations. As a result, the only individuals who may lawfully be denied the benefits of Prop. 57 are those who were convicted of a violent offense, including but not limited to, a violent sex offense.

Today’s CA Supreme Court decision is consistent with nine prior decisions issued in five appellate courts. That is, all nine decisions determined that CDCR’s regulations were invalid. Some, but not all of those decisions, including the Gadlin case, applied to individuals previously convicted of a sex offense. Other decisions, including the decision in which ACSOL is the moving party, focused upon individuals whose current offense is a sex offense.

In today’s decision, the CA Supreme Court noted that early parole consideration does not guarantee early parole. The Court also noted that the Board of Parole Hearings, which grants or denies parole, can consider an individual’s complete criminal record, including sex offense convictions, during the parole process.

The impact of today’s decision is expected to affect several cases pending before the CA Supreme Court. Those cases include In re Schuster (S260024) and ACSOL v. CDCR (S261362).

CA Sup Ct – OPINION – 28 Dec 2020

Related:

California’s top court: Nonviolent sex offenders can qualify for early parole [ktla.com – 12/28/20]

Non-forcible sex-crimes offenders are eligible for early parole, California Supreme Court rules [sfchronicle.com – 12/28/20]

Sex Offenders Can Qualify for Early Parole, California Court Rules [nbclosangeles.com – 12/28/20]

Sex offenders can qualify for early parole, California Supreme Court rules [latimes.com – 12/28/20]

California Supreme Court upbraids Jerry Brown on ballot measure [ocregister.com – 1/5/21]

 

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The court’s decision is obviously the right one. But now, will these renegade officers actually abide by it? We shall see.

@ Jack:

I suspect not. I anticipate a few will be let out as a token to show supposed compliance. They’ll find other reasons to deny parole to registrants specifically. I’m more curious if they try to explain the sheer coincidence that registrants are almost exclusively denied across the board.

Congratulations Janice and Chance. I personally am so grateful you have taken on this challenge. You bring hope to us all. Every win is cause for celebration. Many thanks for all you do.

Great news! Wins like this at the end of a terrible year brings much hope for a better new year. You did a great job once again Janice and Chance. However, I’m sure they will try to add more crimes as violent felonies again. Since I rarely speak to anyone or leave my house, I expect I’ll never need to benefit from this ruling.

That’s fantastic! It’s what I’ve always been telling people regarding this: this is only for the chance to go up for parole, not a guaranteed release. Why arbitrarily remove this chance?

My BF is currently incarcerated and is elegible for parole since 2016, but because he will need to register once he is released he has been in there until now. This is great news! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

Another victory for ACSOL! Let’s give ACSOL our full support in its fight for justice!

@Roger YES Indeed-CONGRADULATIONS JANICE & CHANCE & The Board who worked and paid for this besides members !
Without you, this would of been a dead end ACLU or not.
Job Well done…with this one.
Much more to.go.in 2021.and beyond.

First, yea, a win! Next, 2 comments. The first is a curious thought on the registry. If things have to be applied equally, per this decision, then shouldn’t all felons be on a registry? Shouldn’t fairness go both ways? Second, with the passage and then a rescinding of the flavored tobacco ban, it occurred to me that a petition can bring something up for a vote. I speak of the new registry. I understand that there is a win in those who will be able to “apply” to finally be removed. The fault and sheer evil of the law is… Read more »

Hi Roberta, I too am outraged that computer crimes, illegal images, have landed on tier 3. Hopefully, as everything falls in place this will remedied. I cling to this hope.

@Roberta – As we have said many times, but bears repeating, ACSOL will lobby the state legislature until the unlawful images offenses (CP) are reduced from Tier 3. We are tenacious and will not give up! Please remember that ACSOL did not agree that CP offenses belong on Tier 3. The fact is we strongly disagree with that change. The decision to move CP offenses to Tier 3 was made by elected officials in a private setting without our knowledge or consent. We learned about the change at the same time the public was notified about it. Please understand that… Read more »

Of course, no one in their right mind would think Janice or anyone from our group would purposely twist the bill. Nevertheless, with all the passion and love and time ACSOL and Janice put into it, it was destroyed. Our political climate, with the Qanon sex trafficking ring and a sentiment by at least half of the country to kill all Sex Offenders, having this to be enacted at this time is a death sentence for our cause. Phillip Morris and RJR decided to push not having the tobacco bill enacted rather than fighting an up hill battle. With the… Read more »

Excellent work! Regulations void! And the court, at p 20, used cp as an example of a nonviolent offense. Although the Department now asserts the regulations effectively exclude registerable sex offenses from the category of “nonviolent felony offenses,” the regulations at issue plainly are not focused on nonviolent felony offenses —they exclude from parole consideration an inmate convicted of any registerable sex offense, felony or misdemeanor. (Cal. Code Regs., §§3491, subd. (b)(3), 3496, subd. (b); see, e.g., Pen. Code, §§290, subd. (c)[listing offenses requiring registration, including possession of child pornography and indecent exposure], 311.11 [criminalizing possession of child pornography as… Read more »

Congrats, Janice and ACSOL!

Is this the case where Janice took the mantle to take on this case? Great job!

1995 288C conviction. Threatened and provoked by wannabe undercover Informant. Almost killed said
informant circa 2003. Convicted of “violence with force by jury 2005. Thank God I got out on Parole 2008, off of Parole 2011. Harassed and Provoked everyday! God is Good…

I thought when reading the new tiered law that only if you also had a 667.5 or 1192.7 charge, you would be a tier 3. If not, you’re a 1 or a 2 depending on misdemeanor or felony. I’m kinda confused there. My offense was 20 years ago and I don’t have any prior or any aggravated enhancement.

@ New Person: Yes, that’s correct – Janice took on this case (Gadlin vs CDCR) when Gadlin’s previous lead attorney died very unexpectedly. With a very short deadline to prepare for oral arguments, Janice nonetheless clearly prevailed in those oral arguments and, ultimately, in the Justices’ unanimous decision!
Way to go, Janice!! Notorious!! 👏👏👏🤗🥳🥳

Thank you, Janice, Chance, and all at ACSOL for your continued tenacity in fighting for the rights of all registrants and their families. This decision allows for a promising ending to an otherwise horrible year!

Feliz navidad.

Have a happy and joyous holiday season compliments of the California Supreme Court and ACSOL.

Good work Janice!!!

Janice I would have to say I’m proud also of this team accomplishment for the state of California in this teir ordeal reduction. I’m sure many are just as greatful and I hope it reverberates to all states. One even wonders if much of this registry is about language barriers or can one look at this registry as some untimely compromise as in these porno images that are talked about on this site or even the compairison of extreme’s of porn or even alcohol or drug in sexual abuse. Anything can be abusive or abrasive if taken to far yet… Read more »

(There may be some confusion about the subject of this lawsuit that the California Supreme Court just ruled on. This lawsuit – Galdin vs CDCR – does not pertain to California’s Tiered Registry law. This lawsuit was regarding those incarcerated individuals who are required to register being able to come before the parole board for early release consideration under California’s Prop. 57. CDCR said “No, no one who is currently incarcerated and required to register – whether for a current [non-violent] sexual offense or any past sexual offense – would be allowed to go before the parole board.” Gadlin’s attorney,… Read more »

Congratulations Janice and Chance.!

Thank you to you Janice and your team for a major victory here. I don’t know much about the parole consideration procedures in other states than Penn but in Penn parole is considered a privilege and not a right. Any time after your minimum sentence (there is a min and max sentence structure in Penn) you can be considered for parole. Even if you are considered and do see the parole board it takes several members of the board to approve the parole if granted by those members of the board. They don’t have to parole you just because you… Read more »

Agreed. In NJ, even though those convicted of a sex crime could see the parole board, 99% were denied parole.

@Janice Bellucci wow very impressive you deserve A standing ovation for this one It was a honor meeting you back in 2017. thank you for all you do and thank you for giving people hope. I remember back in 2014 feeling hopeless and alone in this fight against IML then I found ACSOL A little spec of light in the darkest tunnel I knew if had any chance of surviving this nightmare JANICE BELLUCCI was the way and iv been supporting ACSOL ever since. Now here we are 2021 that lil spec of light in the darkest tunnel is now… Read more »

This is somewhat of a feel-good victory, as the practical result will likely not mean any changes for those currently incarcerated. My offense was parole-eligible and when I went up, the board members were too preoccupied with their next case to even listen to what I had to say. Later, I learned from an insider that no one with sex offenses were being granted parole in my state, despite eligibility. That’s the system we have unfortunately.

When will this actually go into EFFECT?. DO they have to start modifying there time now and give them a early release date or no? Does it take a few months?

@Romeo – The CA Supreme Court has ordered CDCR to rewrite their regulations implementing Prop. 57. Unfortunately, this process could take up to 12 months. On the other hand, CDCR could create a policy that temporarily fixes the problem by allowing the agency officials to immediately provide early parole consideration. If the CDCR does not act in a timely manner, we will need to file another lawsuit. By the way, a hearing is scheduled next week (Jan. 15) in another Prop. 57 case. We are waiting for the judge in that case to rule in our favor which could take… Read more »

Congratulations and thank you to Janice, Chance and ACSOL. Another chink has been chiseled into the pathetic armor intended to protect Lunacy. One step, one piece, one victory at a time; they are all interconnected.

I believe that it’ll be women that get these insane laws overturned. It might not happen as fast as we like, but we must continue to fight for all of us. Qanon is for tin foil hat wearing who believe everything they read.

What about Probation! Am l eligible for early release from a non-violent Probation according to Prop. 57?
I have a Probation hearing in Court on Jan. 11 at 10:00 am.
Harry 916-584-8396

Thanks Janice and team. May the Force be with you.

Thank you Janice, Chance, and everyone else who works so hard to make things right for all us who are affected daily by this injustice called the registry. Hoping for more positive changes in 2021.

California people, this is what one of your assemblymen, Jim Patterson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Patterson_(California_politician said about Prop 57

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bqi_EqqbGqk

This is great news and so happy for all who will benefit. Thanks to Janice,Chance and all others who helped.

Oh no, they can’t get early consideration for parole because they’re always be after our children and we must protect them even one reoffender is high; while other convicts treat prison like a hotel in and out year after year with no outrage. Where’s the outrage when registrants are locked up beyond their time just because of residence restrictions; which does nothing for society and the people in that situation. Either way the state gets money for filing up a bed at taxpayer expense. As insanity turns…

We all know how the media twists things, but here is how I have seen this reported in various San Diego new agencies….

“Governor Brown has said prop 57 was never meant for sex offenders…”

“Thousands of sex offenders set to be released from prop 57 case”

And so on…..

Yup. Vast majority of the public seems to think this is some Golden Wonka ticket to instantly be let out. Everyone seems to completely miss the fact that this is simply about the ability to be considered for parole release. WE all know that odds are good RC’s won’t be granted parole. Prop 57 and the lawsuit was mostly for optics of equality. Which I guess technically what matters in the end: the opportunity.

This is a wonderful victory. When will CDCR follow the order of the Supreme Court and start releasing the people past their dates?They told my boyfriend it’s NOT in effect yet. Is that legal?

@ STILL WAITING: Please be aware that the ruling only enable those incarcerated for sex offenses to be considered for early parole. The final decision is still up to the parole board – it’s not an automatic early release from incarceration.

@Still Waiting – CDCR admitted in Sacramento Superior Court last Friday (March 5) that they have not complied with the decision issued by the CA Supreme Court. Specifically, CDCR has not repealed their regulations which prohibit anyone convicted of a sex offense from early parole consideration and CDCR has not issued new regulations. The judge in the case agreed to grant the writ of mandate ACSOL requested and required CDCR to report back within 60 days regarding what actions, if any, they have taken to comply with the CA Supreme Court’s decision. In the meantime, it is unlikely that anyone… Read more »

Many thanks for the update, Janice! 👍

Thank You. I appreciate YOU.

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