ACSOL has filed a lawsuit challenging regulations issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that categorically exclude inmates required to register from re-sentencing opportunities provided in recent legislation. The lawsuit was filed on July 6 in Sacramento Superior Court.
“The regulations being challenged repeat the same mistake made by CDCR in its regulations implementing Proposition 57,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “That is, the re-sentencing regulations create a categorical exclusion of all registrants even though the legislation does not.”
The individual plaintiff in the case, Antoine Jordan, is currently being denied an opportunity for re-sentencing because he is required to register due to a sex offense conviction more than 30 years ago. He is currently serving a sentence of 26 years due to his failure to register at a second address. ACSOL is also a plaintiff in the case.
“What is even worse in this situation is that the legislature initially included in the legislation an exclusion of registrants, but later removed that exclusion,” stated Bellucci. “CDCR has chosen to ignore the final version of the legislation and therefore we expect this lawsuit to be successful.”
CDCR’s regulations implementing Proposition 57 were challenged in more than a dozen lawsuits which resulted in nine decisions from courts of appeal. In every court of appeals decision, CDCR’s regulations were declared unlawful. The California Supreme Court issued the final decision regarding CDCR’s Proposition 57 regulations on December 28, 2020. In its decision, the Court ruled that CDCR’s regulations were unconstitutional and ordered the agency to repeal its regulations. CDCR did not repeal its regulations until April 5, 2021.
“The greatest harm resulting from CDCR’s unlawful regulations in both cases is that inflicted upon inmates who are being denied opportunities to be released from custody and their families,” stated Bellucci. “There is also a financial cost to taxpayers for longer prison sentences.”