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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Proposition 47 — Good or Bad?

Venetians have been talking about Proposition 47 — good or bad?  It passed in the November 2014 election.

Note:  After researching and writing this, it lacks the police perspective.

Proposition 47 reclassified most “nonserious and nonviolet property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor, and in so doing,  many who were in jail were re-sentenced to less time  thus freeing up jail space.   It says nothing about reclassifying misdemeanors to violations requiring a ticket only.

In Venice,  when someone steals from a drug store, no one stops him because clerks say police seldom come and items stolen are less than $950 and people are right back out even if police do come.  Recently, a home invasion occurred in an unoccupied, remodel of a house, without no trespassing signs.  Police refused to arrest the trespassers.  Owners had to do a citizen’s arrest.

According to the  proposition, if the crime is more than $950, it is still a felony.  If it is less than $950, it is a misdemeanor.  Remember that not all misdemeanors have a dollar figure attached.  Both can carry jail time and/or a fine.  (There is a movement to remove Proposition 47.)

Some examples of misdemeanors are vandalism, trespassing, public intoxication, prostitution, petty theft, public intoxication, simple assault, trespassing, reckless driving, discharging a firearm within city limits.

A misdemeanor conviction  can include up to one year in a county jail. The least serious are infractions (mostly traffic offenses), for which the maximum penalty does not exceed a $100.00 fine plus court costs.   A felony can include time in a state prison.

The proposition requires misdemeanor sentencing instead of felony sentencing for the following crimes:

  • Shoplifting, where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950
  • Grand theft, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950
  • Receiving stolen property, where the value of the property does not exceed $950
  • Forgery, where the value of forged check, bond or bill does not exceed $950
  • Fraud, where the value of the fraudulent check, draft or order does not exceed $950
  • Writing a bad check, where the value of the check does not exceed $950
  • Personal use of most illegal drugs

The proposition did the following:

  • Classified “non-serious, nonviolent crimes” as misdemeanors instead of felonies unless the defendant has prior convictions for murder, rape, certain sex offenses or certain gun crimes.
  • Permitted re-sentencing for those currently serving a prison sentence for any of the offenses that the initiative reduces to misdemeanors. Under Proposition 47, 10,000 inmates were eligible for re-sentencing, according to Lenore Anderson of Californians for Safety and Justice.
  • Required a review of criminal history and risk assessment of any individuals before re-sentencing to ensure that they did not pose a risk to the public.
  • Created a Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund. The fund was set to receive appropriations based on savings accrued by the state during the fiscal year, as compared to the previous fiscal year, due to the initiative’s implementation. Estimates ranged from $150 million to $250 million per year.
  • Distributed funds from the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund as follows: 25 percent to the Department of Education, 10 percent to the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, and 65 percent to the Board of State and Community Correction.





Comment (1)

  1. john Ryan

    Wonderful how the voters made being a small business owner easier. Yup A Venice crazy can go into a store knock over displays, steal stuff and nothing happens. What a joy doing business in this state! And the voters wonder why stuff costs so much!

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