Sacramento Judge Allows Potential Early Release for Repeat Offenders

A judge has allowed the state of California to allow early release to some repeat offenders who have committed serious and violent crimes under California’s “three strikes rule”.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shama Mesiwala lifted a temporary restraining order that she imposed last month. The order temporarily blocked correctional officials from using emergency regulations which allowed them to increase good conduct credits for non-violent inmates who received a second strike and were serving their sentence at a minimum-security prison. Those credits have increased from cutting their sentence by half to cutting their sentence by two-thirds. The recent ruling, “clears the way for the Department to implement regulations that incentivize incarcerated people to participate in positive rehabilitative activities and avoid negative behavior” said corrections department spokeswoman Vicky Waters. 

The ruling has already been met with criticism from around the state. 28 of the 58 California District Attorneys have moved to block the rule, but Judge Mesiwala sided with the corrections department saying that the District Attorney’s that challenged the rule lacked standing. The 28 District Attorneys argued that the rule would allow those who are convicted of violent and heinous crimes such as domestic abuse, human trafficking, and animal cruelty would abuse the system, as California has not broadly defined what constitutes as being a violent crime. 

Judge Mesiwala ruled that the twenty-eight prosecutors did not have any legal standing, despite them representing “over 20 million Californians who have been impacted by these so-called emergency regulations.” Instead of listening to the local prosecutors, Judge Mesiwala used her ruling to criticize the DA’s, “District Attorneys do not represent crime victims, they represent the People of the state. Thus, District Attorneys do not stand in the shoes of crime victims as their de facto legal representatives; they instead represent the public at large.” Judge Mesiwala’s rather lackadaisical approach to this ruling and apparent scorn for local district attorneys is just one of the reasons this state is seeing such an uptick in crime. 

Photo Cred: Sacramento Bee