California Proposition 9

Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole.


Requires notification to victim and opportunity for input during phases of criminal justice process, including bail, pleas, sentencing and parole. Establishes victim safety as consideration for bail or parole. Fiscal Impact: Potential loss of state savings on prison operations and increased county jail costs amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Potential net savings in the low tens of millions of dollars annually on parole procedures.

I’m generally suspect of any initiative that would change the state constitution, and Prop 9 is no exception.

Much of what Proposition 9 aims to accomplish, has in fact already been provided for Proposition 8 in 1982, dubbed the Victim’s Bill of Rights. There is no need to duplicate laws that are already on the books.

Further, Proposition 9 has been placed on the ballot through funding from a single person, Henry Nicholas III, who has donated about $5 million to the cause. His sister was murdered in 1983 and the family feels they haven’t been treated with proper regard by the justice system.

Ironically, Nicholas himself has recently been indited on drug and securities related charges, and ties to a prostitution operation have been alleged. He has stepped away from active involvement in promoting this initiative, so as not to be a distraction.

Obviously, all sympathy is given to victims and their families, who have to deal with these terrible tragedies. However, a constitutional amendment is not the appropriate recourse for a single family who feels slighted by the system.

I’m voting No on Prop 9.

Additional information is available at Ballotpedia.

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