Marsy’s Law Applies to Lifers – Thank you Steve Ipsen

Co-author of Marsy's Law changes the California parole process.

Steve Ipsen co-author of Marsy’s Law changes the California parole process.

When I asked Steve Ipsen about this article and what it all meant.  He said, “Marcella Leach had a heart attack during a parole hearing for the possible release of her daughter’s brutal murder.  She had been to the hearings repeatedly for his release and he little chance of being paroled.  Enough was enough.  The system was broken, expensive and a I wanted to fix it.”  By having presumptive 15 year denials, the process is designed to be fair to victims, reduce the expense to the state, and be fair to the murderer who, in many cases, has little chance of being paroled.

Marsy’s Law Applies to Lifers - California District Attorney’s Association Blogs

Marsy’s law has reshaped victim’s rights in California. Since its inception in 2008, it has expanded victims’ rights in parole proceedings for prisoners sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole by guaranteeing victims the right to be notified of parole hearings and to present information to the Board of Parole Hearings. It also amended Penal Code section 3041.5 to increase the time period between parole hearings, while still allowing for earlier hearings if a change in circumstances or new information subsequently established that there is a reasonable probability a prisoner is suitable for parole.

On March 4, 2013, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled in In re Vicks that the changes made to the parole hearing schedule under Marsy’s Law apply to all inmates already serving life sentences—not just those sentenced after the law went into effect. This ruling overturned the decisions of two lower courts, which agreed with Vicks. Despite speculation that increasing the time between parole hearings would result in a longer sentence, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, writing for the court, asserted in Vicks that, “[a]lthough multiple changes to the parole scheme contributed to longer periods between hearings, the changes have no cumulative effect that would create a significant risk of prolonged incarceration.”

Before Marsy’s Law, the maximum length between parole hearings was five years for murder and two years for all other convictions. Regardless of the changes to the Penal Code, inmates are still allowed to petition for earlier parole dates and the eligibility requirements for parole remain the same. However, parole board commissioners now have the option to defer parole from anywhere from three to 15 years.

The decision to include lifers sentenced before Marsy’s Law took effect, has two potential benefits worth noting. First, increasing the duration of time between parole hearings that often result in a denial, will likely reduce costs to the state, which has already been struggling to maintain a balanced budget.  But more importantly, the affirmation to uniformly apply Marsy’s Law to lifers and impose minimum lengths of up to 15 years between hearings could spare victims the trauma associated with confronting their attackers in more frequent parole hearings, holding true to the original intent of Marsy’s Law.

 

Victims CANNOT trust Alan Jackson for Los Angeles District Attorney

Victims cannot trust Alan Jackson as their next District Attorney

A packed room full of victims and law enforcement filled the Los Angeles Police Department last Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012.  But who was absent you may ask?  Alan Jackson wasn’t there that is for certain.  Today he released a video stating that victims can trust him, but the victim community knows all to well that he simply CANNOT BE TRUSTED to follow Marsy’s Law and look out for victims.

His token video takes advantage of one victim he helped and we commend her for her courage, but overall Alan Jackson has been absent from the victims rights community, and his most recent violation of Marsy’s Law without apology to the victim is worth a thousand more words than his new video.  Actions are proof that this prosecutor looks out for himself not the victim community.

Steve Ipsen co-author of Marsy’s Law and Carmen Trutanich were present and spoke to the group of victims in the room.  No other candidate running for District attorney bothered to attend.  Where were Jackie Lacey, Danette Meyers, Bobby Grace, Alan Jackson and Mario Trujillo?  Maybe they were enjoying the sunshine, but they certainly weren’t supporting victims. 

Victims cannot trust Alan Jackso who violated Marsy's Law

Let’s recall Alan Jackson’s egregious violation of Marsy’s Law. 

The Pasadena Star, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Whitter Daily News and the Antelope Valley Press reported on Alan Jackson’s recent violation of Marsy’s Law.  Jackson struck a deal with a murderer who may have received a death sentence and reduced the charges to manslaughter giving the murderer six years without notifying the victim’s family.  They wanted to be involved in the process, but were left out, and Jackson dodged reporters when they tried to question him.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune , Pasadena Star, and the Whittier Daily News reported on Jackson’s failure to comment after he recently also avoided the Antelope Valley Press.   Interesting that those articles have been taken down from the SGVT, Pasadena Star and Whitter Daily News websites.  This stunt exemplifies that corruption in the media is rampant.  Probably insiders don’t want the truth out in the open about Alan Jackson and you can see the willingness to cover up the truth, but we have the story for you below (verbatim before it was taken down).   Steve Ipsen, co-author of Marsy’s Law is running against Alan Jackson in the race for Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012.    The Pasadena Star and San Gabrial Valley Tribune reported, “Among Ipsen’s opponents in the 2012 District Attorney’s race is Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson – who prosecuted Winter.  He declined to comment.”

Victims certainly won’t tolerate this malconduct in someone seeking the office of the LA District Attorney.  Here is proof that the media was doing their job until someone interfered.  The the news papers and their affiliated partners may have taken the articles down, but we have it verbatum here.  Mr. Jackson can’t run from victims.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE
Published on Monday, July 25, 2011
By San Gabriel Valley Tribune Staff Writer

Kevin Azevedo wanted to know when the man who killed his father would next appear in a Los Angeles courthouse.

He hoped he would get a heads-up from authorities prosecuting the 30-year-old homicide that could have led to the death penalty for suspect Christopher David Winter, 55, of Indiana.

But by the time Azevedo received word, Winter had already cut a deal with the Los Angeles County District’s Attorney’s Office. In exchange for his plea, the killer got less than six years in state prison when he was sentenced on June 7.

“I felt a little cheated there, even though I couldn’t have made it out there,” said Azevedo, who lives in Pennsylvania. “I wish I could have known so I could have told my brothers. Maybe one of them would have gone to the hearing and at least said something to (the defendant) if given that chance.”

More than two years after the passage of the state’s Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008, experts say stories like Azevedo’s show implementation of Marsy’s Law has been mixed.

When pitched to voters, Marsy’s Law – Proposition 9 – promised victims and their families the right to reasonable notice upon request of all public proceedings, with few exceptions.

Its passage significantly expanded victims’ rights and included them in the state Constitution. But making it work has been tricky, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Ipsen, who co-authored the law and is running for Los Angeles County District Attorney in 2012.

Proposition 9 is implemented “incredibly well in some areas and incredibly poorly in others,” Ipsen said. While implementation has been life-changing for some victims, “it’s heart-wrenching where it has failed.”

Experts agree that full implementation of Marsy’s Law takes education for all parties – including victims, law enforcement officers and prosecutors.

For example, it’s important for victims or their families to be part of the legal process and make their presence known, said Superior Court Judge Jared Moses of the Alhambra Court during a recent victims’ rights clinic hosted by the Pasadena Police Department.

Victim impact statements made in the courtroom, for example, “are so important,” he said. “They affect us. They affect everyone in the room.”

Some victims’ rights advocates complain, too, that not all law enforcement agencies are handing out a Marsy’s Law card to victims as the law requires. The cards enumerate the 17 constitutional rights afforded to victims by the law. In some cases, homicide detectives incorrectly assume that another officer has already given out the card but it’s everyone’s responsibility to check, said Lawanda Hawkins, founder of Justice for Murdered Children and one of three signatories of Marsy’s Law.

In a phone survey of 24 law enforcement agencies in the San Gabriel Valley, all of them reported having Marsy’s cards readily available.

“That’s world-changing,” said Ipsen of the distribution of the information cards. “It goes a long way in answering questions (victims have), and allowing law enforcement and police officers to focus on investigating the case.”

But Ipsen said he’s “very troubled” that prosecutors are entering plea agreements with criminal defendants “and not including victims” in that process.

Among Ipsen’s opponents in the 2012 District Attorney’s race is Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson – who prosecuted Winter. He declined to comment.

Steve Ipsen, Candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012, Secures Endorsements From Key Victims’ Rights Leaders

Steve Ipsen gains endorsements from the largest victims' rights groups in Southern California

Steve Ipsen, founder and eight term past president of the nation’s largest prosecutors union and candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012, has secured the endorsements of prominent victims’ rights leaders from the largest victims organizations in Southern California.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) December 21, 2011

Steve Ipsen, founder and eight term past president of the nation’s largest prosecutors union and candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012, has secured the endorsements of prominent victims’ rights leaders from the largest victims organizations in Southern California. A 25 year veteran prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, Steve has served for nearly a decade as an advisory board member to victims’ rights groups across the State. He was a ballot signator for Jessica’s Law passed in 2006 and co-author of Marsy’s law passed in 2008 by the voters in California.

Marcella Leach co-founded Justice for Homicide Victims after her daughter Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas was murdered in 1983. “I am forever grateful that my son Nick and Steve partnered to write Marsy’s Law, the most comprehensive Victim’s Bill of Rights in the United States. I whole heartedly endorse Steve Ipsen for Los Angeles District Attorney,” she said.

Saul Zavala, whose daughter Jessica Zavala and niece Olivia Munguia were murdered in Lynwood on their way to school in1999, is the Spanish chapter leader of Justice for Murdered Children. Savala said, “Steve Ipsen will make a significant difference to the Latino community in Los Angeles. He is fair minded and truly the ‘People’s Prosecutor’.” Patricia Wenskunas is the CEO and founder of Crime Survivors and Crime Stoppers of Orange County. “I hope you will join me in endorsing Steve Ipsen for LA County District Attorney in 2012,” says Wenskunas.

Shari Martin, whose son Marshall was murdered in Lancaster in 2002, is the Antelope Valley chapter leader for Parents of Murdered Children. “Steve is the only candidate that addresses the dangerous early release policies of our massively over-crowded jails and prisons,” says Martin. She supports Ipsen’s “Reform First” approach to criminal justice that employs risk assessment criteria to prioritize jail space for dangerous criminals, and diverts non-violent offenders into rigorous work, community service, job training or drug rehabilitation programs in order to stop recidivism and escalation to violent crime. Ipsen states, “We have known about the prison overcrowding crisis for some time and the AB 109 realignment is only a partial solution. ‘Reform First’ addresses overcrowding issues and prioritizes violent crime to prevent early release of dangers criminals.”

Also endorsing Steve are Janette Chavez, a victims’ rights advocate whose 16 year old daughter Samantha Salas was murdered in 2008 in Monrovia, California; and Lawanda Hawkins, founder and president of Justice for Murdered Children, whose only son Reggie was murdered in the South Bay in 1996.

More information about Steve Ipsen for Los Angeles District Attorney 2012 can be found at http://www.SteveIpsen.com

Despite Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson’s illegal violation of Marsy’s Law, former Governor Pet Wilson gives endorsement

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson violated Marsy’s Law by reducing a death penalty case to manslaughter without notifying the victim’s family.

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson violated Marsy’s Law by reducing a death penalty case to manslaughter without notifying the victim’s family.

Pete Wilson is said to be endorsing Republican Alan Jackson over declined to state and former Republican Carmen Trutanich for the next District Attorney of Los Angeles.  Clearly, Pete Wilson hasn’t been informed about Alan Jackson’s frank and utterly deplorable disregard for victims in his recent violation of Marsy’s Law just a few months ago.  Pete Wilson was part of the group that met to edit Steve Ipsen’s and Doug Pipe’s original version of Marsy’s Law.  I guess Pete Wilson either doesn’t care, and is placing politics before justice, or he hasn’t been told by the Jackson campaign about the “Scarlet Letter” Jackson will wear in victims eyes.

The Pasadena Star, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Whitter Daily News and the Antelope Valley Press reported on Alan Jackson’s recent violation of Marsy’s Law.  Jackson struck a deal with a murderer who may have received a death sentence and reduced the charges to manslaughter giving the murderer six years without notifying the victim’s family.  They wanted to be involved in the process, but were left out, and Jackson dodged reports when they tried to question him.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune , Pasadena Star, and the Whittier Daily News reported on Jackson’s failure to comment after he recently also avoided the Antelope Valley Press.   Interesting that those articles have been taken down from the SGVT, Pasadena Star and Whitter Daily News websites.  This stunt exemplifies that corruption in the media is rampant.  Probably insiders don’t want the truth out in the open about Alan Jackson and you can see the willingness to cover up the truth, but we have the story for you below (verbatim before it was taken down).   Steve Ipsen, co-author of Marsy’s Law is running against Alan Jackson in the race for Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012.    The Pasadena Star and San Gabrial Valley Tribune reported, “Among Ipsen’s opponents in the 2012 District Attorney’s race is Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson – who prosecuted Winter.  He declined to comment.”

Victims certainly won’t tolerate this malconduct in someone seeking the office of the LA District Attorney.  Here is proof that the media was doing their job until someone interfered.  The the news papers and their affiliated partners may have taken the articles down, but we have it verbatum here.  Mr. Jackson can’t run from victims.

Alan Jackson violates "Marsy's Law" San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Alan Jackson violates "Marsy's Law" San Gabriel Valley Tribune

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE
Published on Monday, July 25, 2011

By San Gabriel Valley Tribune Staff Writer

Kevin Azevedo wanted to know when the man who killed his father would next appear in a Los Angeles courthouse.

He hoped he would get a heads-up from authorities prosecuting the 30-year-old homicide that could have led to the death penalty for suspect Christopher David Winter, 55, of Indiana.

But by the time Azevedo received word, Winter had already cut a deal with the Los Angeles County District’s Attorney’s Office. In exchange for his plea, the killer got less than six years in state prison when he was sentenced on June 7.

“I felt a little cheated there, even though I couldn’t have made it out there,” said Azevedo, who lives in Pennsylvania. “I wish I could have known so I could have told my brothers. Maybe one of them would have gone to the hearing and at least said something to (the defendant) if given that chance.”

More than two years after the passage of the state’s Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008, experts say stories like Azevedo’s show implementation of Marsy’s Law has been mixed.

When pitched to voters, Marsy’s Law – Proposition 9 – promised victims and their families the right to reasonable notice upon request of all public proceedings, with few exceptions.

Its passage significantly expanded victims’ rights and included them in the state Constitution. But making it work has been tricky, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Ipsen, who co-authored the law and is running for Los Angeles County District Attorney in 2012.

Proposition 9 is implemented “incredibly well in some areas and incredibly poorly in others,” Ipsen said. While implementation has been life-changing for some victims, “it’s heart-wrenching where it has failed.”

Experts agree that full implementation of Marsy’s Law takes education for all parties – including victims, law enforcement officers and prosecutors.

For example, it’s important for victims or their families to be part of the legal process and make their presence known, said Superior Court Judge Jared Moses of the Alhambra Court during a recent victims’ rights clinic hosted by the Pasadena Police Department.

Victim impact statements made in the courtroom, for example, “are so important,” he said. “They affect us. They affect everyone in the room.”

Some victims’ rights advocates complain, too, that not all law enforcement agencies are handing out a Marsy’s Law card to victims as the law requires. The cards enumerate the 17 constitutional rights afforded to victims by the law. In some cases, homicide detectives incorrectly assume that another officer has already given out the card but it’s everyone’s responsibility to check, said Lawanda Hawkins, founder of Justice for Murdered Children and one of three signatories of Marsy’s Law.

In a phone survey of 24 law enforcement agencies in the San Gabriel Valley, all of them reported having Marsy’s cards readily available.

“That’s world-changing,” said Ipsen of the distribution of the information cards. “It goes a long way in answering questions (victims have), and allowing law enforcement and police officers to focus on investigating the case.”

But Ipsen said he’s “very troubled” that prosecutors are entering plea agreements with criminal defendants “and not including victims” in that process.

Among Ipsen’s opponents in the 2012 District Attorney’s race is Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson – who prosecuted Winter. He declined to comment.

Mario Trujillo finally breaks the secret pact and exposes Steve Cooley as “archaic and inefficient”

The LA Weekly breaks the story as Mario Trujillo takes his jabs at Steve Cooley and his policies

The LA Weekly breaks the story as Mario Trujillo takes his jabs at Steve Cooley and his policies

Has Mario Trujillo finally broken the secret pact?  For months the six declared candidates have largely remained silent about the complete and utterly humiliating realization coming out of the LA District Attorney’s office that prosecuting crime in Los Angeles is a complete joke.  The only candidate willing to point out the “elephant” in the room is Steve Ipsen who is always willing to expose the jokers for who they are.  It seems Mario Trujillo, once a favorite of Steve Cooley, has had enough of the “glowing” and stroking of his boss Steve Cooley.  His platform is nearly mimicking Steve Ipsen’s platform of criminal justice reform now that he has finally broken his silence.  He is throwing the word victim out in the air once in a while so we will give that to him, although like all of the other candidates besides Steve Ipsen, he has never been to our victims events.   We do like and admire the fact that he is willing to finally speak out about the policies in the LA District Attorney’s office that have practically destroyed the minority communities and have kept them in their intended second class citizenship.  Steve Cooley prides himself and his polices of throwing the book at everyone with brown or black skin, while the prisons fill to their max and fail to keep violent offenders behind bars.  The LA weekly broke the story and Steve Cooley doesn’t seem very happy.  Jackie Lacey’s, Mario Trujillo’s and Alan Jackson’s secret pact to support everyone in the race but Steve Ipsen and Carmen Trutanich has now taken a twist with Mario speaking out.  The best part is that Robert Philabosian gets in on the comments.  It seems Cooley’s close friends don’t want anyone speaking out against him.  Remember Philibosian, former DA and the one who participated in the city of Cudahay scandal?   He also owns property with Steve Cooley in Lake Arrowhead which has illegal ties.  He has been sued over it.

Prosecutor Mario Trujillo Calls D.A.’s Policies “Archaic,” Draws Rebuke From D.A. Steve Cooley
By Gene Maddaus Thu., Dec. 8 2011 at 4:48 PM
After three terms as District Attorney, Steve Cooley is retiring next year. Though he won’t be on the ballot, he sure is taking an active interest in who will be. He’s been touting Jackie Lacey, and trashin Carmen Trutanich, for nearly a year.

Now he’s taking aim at another candidate: Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo. In a fundraising-email sent Wednesday, Trujillo had some pointed things to say about the current administration:

“I have seen how archaic and inefficient policies of the D.A.’s office have delayed justice for victims, wasted taxpayer money, and put our community at risk,” Trujillo wrote.

Cooley, who apparently has time to read these things, was not amused.

At an L.A. County Bar Association event last night, Cooley pulled Trujillo aside and gave him an earful.

“Mr. Cooley and I had an intellectual discussion about our differences in philosophy,” Trujillo said. “There was a concern that some colleagues may feel I am putting down their work… That was not my intent at all.”

Cooley declined to comment, but his spokeswoman confirmed that he had some problems with Trujillo’s rhetoric.

“The unspecified criticism of the office contained in his mass solicitation e-mail was unwarranted and disappointing,” said spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons. “Mr. Trujillo knows better.”

Trujillo is one of the most liberal candidates in the race. He has talked about easing up on prosecutions of unlicensed drivers (who tend to be undocumented), and expressed some reservations about the death penalty.

“You’re not going to get the status quo from me,” Trujillo said. “We’re going to have to change some of these policies.”

Trujillo was also quick to say that he and Cooley have a good relationship, and that he intends to uphold Cooley’s policies as long as they’re in place.

“He’s been great to me,” Trujillo said. “My e-mail is in some respects in line with what he taught us.”

Update: The Met News rounds up reaction from other candidates, plus this beauty from former D.A. Robert Philibosian:

“If Mr. Trujillo truly thinks there’s something wrong with the district attorney’s policies, he’s free to resign from the office and run his candidacy any way he chooses.”

Is that what Cooley did when he ran against Gil Garcetti? Uh, no.

Steve Ipsen, Deputy District Attorney saves the state of Calfornia millons: Manson acolyte ‘Tex’ Watson denied parole

Tex Watson denied parole for five more years thanks to Steve Ipsen, co-author of Marsy's Law

Tex Watson denied parole for five more years thanks to Steve Ipsen, co-author of Marsy's Law

CNN Justice reports on the five year parole denial of “Tex” Watson.  He has been up for parole 16 times and denied parole 13 times.  Each time he goes before the parole board the families of the murder victims have to re-live the horrific murders of their loved ones.  Equally unfair, Tex Watson has gone before the parole board 13 times, falsely hoping for his freedom.  Steve Ipsen, Deputy District Attorney, co-author of Marsy’s Law, and candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012 changed the Calfornia Constitution with Proposition 9, “Marsy’s Law” in 2008.  With this provision, the parole board now has the option to deny parole for up to 15 years for those who qualify.  This change was designed to be fair to victims and criminals who have little to no chance of parole. 

When Marcella Leach, one of the co-founders of Justice for Homicide Victims and the mother of “Marsy”, told Steve Ipsen she suffered a heart attack, due to the stress, while attending one of the parole hearings for the murder of her daughter, Mr. Ipsen was determined to change the way victims were treated in the state of California.  He designed and authored the provision to allow the parole board denial options that are fair to victims and the criminal offender.  

In the first year after Marsy’s Law was passed by California voters on Nov. 4, 2008, the new Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights had significantly improved victims’ rights in the state.  In that year, 81 criminals received a maximum 15-year parole denial and an additional 393 convicted felons were denied parole for seven to 10 years, according to the Crime Victims Action Alliance web site.  In 2010 -  357, 196 and 79 criminals received 7, 10 and 15 year denials respectively.  Prior to Marsy’s Law, parole hearings were denied for a maximum of five years, with most ranging between one and three years.

Today Tex Watson was denied parole and although this family was hoping for at least a seven year denial, they can go on with their lives for the next five years before they have to again re-live the horrific murder of their loved ones.  

By the CNN Wire Staff

updated 7:43 PM EST, Wed November 16, 2011

(CNN) — Charles Denton “Tex” Watson, one of the chief participants in the Manson Family murders in the summer of 1969, will stay in prison at least another five years, the California Board of Parole Hearings announced Wednesday.

Watson, 65, was denied parole for the 16th time, the board said, and will not be considered again until 2016.

Watson, along with Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian were convicted in 1971 of murder and sentenced to death for the killings of five people, including the eight-months pregnant movie actress Sharon Tate, on the night of August 9, 1969. They and their leader, Charles Manson, were convicted and sentenced for stabbing Leno and Rosemary La Bianca to death the night after the Tate killings.

All their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment after a California court decision struck down capital punishment.

Watson has been housed at Mule Creek State Prison since 1993, according to the parole board.

Steve Ipsen “Fair and For the People” – Three strikes ballot measure faces public safety politics

Three Strikes Reform Initiative of 2012
ABC covers the Three Strikes Reform Initiative of 2012 that will be presented to the voters of California

Three Strikes and You’re Out
A new “Three Strikes Reform” initiative was filed with the California Attorney General’s office last month.  It has been reported that Steve Cooley is being recruited to back this initiative and Ace Smith (Kamala Harris’s campaign manager) will head up the campaign.  We predict this is a political stunt for Steve Cooley to re-enter the District Attorney’s race in 2012, despite his announcements he will not run.  It is odd that Ace Smith would work so closely with Steve Cooley afer he criticized Cooley’s Attorney General campaign with such vehemence.  We predict Cooley is getting cozy with the reformers so he can use this platform to get into the DAs race for 2012 and say he is going to save the prison overcrowding crisis, when in fact the prison overcrowding crisis is one in which Steve Cooley and his faulty policies created.   

Victims remember that Steve Cooley was one of the last people to oppose Prop 66 in 2004.  Both Republicans and Democrats opposed Proposition 66 including former Governors Arnold Schwarzenneger,  Jerry Brown, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis and George Deukmejian.  The four page article  the below author refers to is one Steve Ipsen wrote and mentions some of the criminals that would have benefited by Prop 66.  Charles Manson was featured highlighting his 14 “Strikes” that would have been reduced from 14 to one.  A man who raped his own mother was pictured on the front page along with a man who poured gasoline on his own son and lit him on fire.  It is wise for the legislative writers at Stanford to take into account the problems with Proposition 66, when considering their new law, because victims are watching very closely.   Steve Ipsen has been a strong victim’s advocate and is proposing criminal justice reform for low-level and nonviolent offenders.  At least “Reform First” is proposed by someone victims can trust to look out for them and he is a  “Fair and For the People” prosecutor.  Compared to the natorius Alan Jackson who recently violated Marsy’s Law, then refused to apoligize to the victims after he failed to notify the victims, when he reduced a capital murder case to manslaughter, giving the murderer six years instead of the death penalty.  In reflection, it was only a matter of time before a new “Three-Strikes” law would  again appear before the voters of California.  “Three-Strikes” was written after the brutal murder of Kimber Reynolds.  Her father Mike Reynolds changed the history of California criminal law, aimed at protecting society from other victims.  Also worth remembering is the blistering attack video and add Kamala Harris launched against Steve Cooley in the race for Attorney General of California where Steve Cooley lost overwhelmingly in LA County by over 65% of the vote.  When refering to Jessica’s Law, Steve Cooley was recorded saying that if you want to write a law in California “name it after a female”.  Unbecoming of an elected official if you ask victims.  Mike Reynolds reports disappointment in Steve Cooley in the way he prosecutes “Three Strikes” cases.  Recently, and infamously,  John Ewell was the beneficiary of Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey’s failure to follow “Three Strikes”.  Ewell later murdered four people.

Insider News portrayed some of the most henius crimes and the perpetrators who would have benefited if Prop 66 would have passed.

By Ryan Gabrielson (California Watch)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) — A pair of Stanford University law professors spent months this year writing ballot language to narrow, ever so slightly, California’s three strikes sentencing law.

The result is the “Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012,” which is now under legal review by the state attorney general’s office. It aims to remove courts’ authority to sentence convicts to 25 years to life in prison when their crimes have been neither violent nor serious.

At the same time, the initiative’s backers argue this measure will ensure dangerous criminals remain incarcerated.

By protecting one piece of the three strikes law (life sentences for violent offenders), the proponents hope California voters will agree to discard another piece (life sentences for minor crimes).

That transaction shows the initiative’s political vulnerability, said Arnold Steinberg, a Republican political strategist. “Their challenge at the margins is to prevent their effort from being seen as soft on crime,” he said.

Past efforts to change the three strikes law have failed that challenge. California’s law, enacted by voters in 1993, is the only law in the United States that allows convicts to receive a third strike for any new crime, including petty theft.

The initiative’s supporters intend to focus on the cost of long prison terms for minor crimes, said Dan Newman, a spokesman for the effort. Felons previously convicted of murder, rape and child molestation could continue to receive a third strike for any conviction.

“Frankly, it’s built to win,” Newman said. “It’s built so it restores what voters wanted when they voted for three strikes in the first place. And it does so in a way that allows us to put together a broad coalition of supporters.”

That coalition is still under construction, Newman said.

Supporters expect to begin collecting signatures next month to secure a spot on the November 2012 ballot.

Steinberg said the list of supporters has to include conservatives and law enforcement to convince voters that the measure won’t risk public safety.

“It cannot look like liberals from central casting,” he said.

In 2004, Proposition 66, a ballot measure that would have dramatically changed three strikes, was defeated after California prosecutors made a late media blitz characterizing it as a mass release of dangerous criminals. Numerous top state officials lined up against the measure, including former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Prop. 66 would have required that a third “strike” be a serious or violent crime and reduced the number of offenses deemed serious under state law.

Pre-election polls showed Prop. 66 was likely to pass before opponents claimed the measure could result in the release of 26,000 felons. Steve Ipsen, head of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, produced a four-page flier that listed 10 violent convicts who Ipsen contended would be “eligible for release” under the proposition.

The lineup included a man who had “cut dog’s head off,” the flier states.

The Stanford professors, David Mills and Michael Romano, kept that political attack in mind as they drafted the current initiative.

“Those criminals who committed heinous acts are singled out in the reform language to ensure they receive no benefit whatsoever,” Newman said.

Romano leads the Stanford Three Strikes Project, where law students work to reduce life sentences for convicts who received their strikes for minor offenses, like shoplifting or drug possession.

Ipsen, a prosecutor for the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, said he agrees that three strikes has resulted in some outsized prison sentences. However, he opposes altering the law, as it means reducing prosecutors’ discretion in how they charge their cases.

“It would be very unfortunate if that happened because I think discretion can be used properly,” Ipsen said. “It has been getting better.”

The law would not change for convicts receiving a second strike if voters approve the initiative.

There are more than 32,000 inmates with two strikes presently serving time in state prison, compared with about 8,800 with three strikes, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation data. So-called “second-strikers” have their sentences doubled under the law.

Nov. 2nd, 2011 – Debate and candidate forum for Los Angeles District Attorney 2012

District Attorney Debate

Join victims and friends at the first debate and candidate forum for the office of Los Angeles District Attorney 2012 on Wednesday November 2nd 2011.  It’s free to the public. RSVP to contactapaba@gmail.com

WHERE:  Japanese American Museum, 369 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

TIME:  Debate starts at 6pm

Victims want to know:

  • Will Alan Jackson publicly apologize for his recent violation of Marsy’s Law?
  • Will Jackie Lacey discuss they LA District Attorney’s Office policy and its failure to follow “Three Strikes”?
  • Will Mario Trujillo elaborate on his support for “Restorative Justice” and why victims should embrace their rapists and those who brutally murdered our family members?
  • Will Danette Meyers explain “Smart Justice”?
  • Will Carmen Trutanich show up and declare his candidacy?
  • Will Bobby Grace talk about his ideas for alternative sentencing?
  • Will Steve Ipsen explain “Reform First” and ensure he will prioritze violent crime?

The Antelope Valley Press Attends Press Conference Where Steve Ipsen Calls for a Department of Justice Investigation of Steve Cooley’s Policies in the Antelope Valley Court House

AVpress.Ipsen.Tcal

The Antelope Valley Press Covers the Story on Concerns for Corruption in the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

LANCASTER, CA
September 15, 2011
 
In front of the Antelope Valley Courthouse today The Community Action League (TCAL) leader called a press conference to announce a community forum on Saturday, September 16 at the Lancaster Moose Lodge.  This forum will address the widespread concern in the community that too many youths are being charged with felonies for minor non-violent offenses, and the belief that local prosecutors are being paid extra money for each felony conviction they obtain. TCAL raised this new concern even as they are addressing other concerns related to section 8 housing fraud in a federal lawsuit.  Two residents from Lancaster, TCAL and the California State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are are named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in June claiming Lancaster and Palmdale officials engaged in racial discrimination in their pursuit of Section 8 fraud.
 
Steve Ipsen, a local prosecutor and past president of the prosecutor’s union was asked to address concerns by TCAL members that local prosecutors are corrupt and receiving illegal payments for handing down felony convictions.  Ipsen stated that the accusations were entirely “false” and Deputy District Attorney’s are “hardworking and honest.”  Ipsen said that there is a problem, but it is not the hard working prosecutors and sheriffs.  He stated the felony statistics driven policies of the District Attorney’s Office is the problem because it limits Deputy DAs from doing the right thing and treating non-serious offenses as misdemeanors.  He said the policies force Deputy DAs to seek felony convictions for minor crimes, especially in the Antelope Valley.
 
Ipsen called for an investigation by the Department of Justice and the citizens of Lancaster and Palmdale to address the issue properly.  He stated that the citizens of Antelope Valley should do a public records request and inquire about the local policies and practices that are strikingly different from anywhere else in Los Angeles County.  He noted that local prosecutors are forced to violate office policy and seek felony convictions, when in other areas of the county the same low level criminal conduct would routinely qualify for  misdemeanor charges under written guidelines.   Ipsen, a candidate for Los Angeles County District Attorney, stated, “I am exposing, as a candidate, what we are doing wrong” and encouraged TCAL members to address the discriminatory policies in the Antelope Valley courthouse.
 
The AV Press, a local newspaper covering the event, mentioned Steve Ipsen’s video called “Reform First”  located on his campaign webpage.  Here Ipsen outlines his program to reduce crime.  Non-violent offenders will be required to work or perform community service so they will have money to repay their restitution and live a productive life rather then learn a new life, that of a hardened criminal, while in prison.  He describes how a tax burden becomes a tax payer when the nonviolent offender gets out into the community and works.  The AV Press mistakenly reported this press conference was a campaign event for Ipsen’s candidacy.  Ipsen indicated that he was simply called by organizers and community members who saw him speaking about criminal justice reform, and asked to answer the communities concerns and allegations of  corruption.  He said he felt it important to correct this impression. Ipsen indicated that office policy forbid his speaking out as an employee, but that he was allowed by law to speak freely as a candidate and felt it important to do so to allay concerns over corruption.

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson failed to notify the victims family and violates the California Constitution

One thing is clear in the race for District Attorney of Los Angeles County 2012, the only candidate who is a long time victim advocate inside and outside the courtroom is Steve Ipsen.  Recently, Alan Jackson dissapointingly plea bargained a death penalty case to an unconscionable six years and failed to notify the family in violation of the California Constitution – Article 1 Section 28(b).  Marsy’s law was written by Steve Ipsen for victims, and thanks to Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, it became law in 2008 by the overwhelming majority of voters.  The justice system has left victims out of the process for far too long and to see that Alan Jackson, a candidate running for the office of Los Angeles District Attorney, would dissregard the law and avoid reporters and the victims family is a foreshadowing that cannot be ignored.  It is heartwarming to know that Steve Ipsen has passion for protecting victims of crime.

Steve Ipsen stands with Marcella Leach and speaks about Marsy's Law and the rights victims have in court