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: “I am a Liar”

Alan Jackson, Candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney calls Carmen Trutanich is a liar. But. Alan Jackson lied to victims after he violated Marsy's Law - The Victims' Bill of Rights

 Alan Jackson seems to be on the attack calling Carmen Trutanich a liar.  He recently posted a similar picture (as seen above) about Carmen Trutanch.  It seems as though Alan Jackson should look in the mirror.  He released a video telling all victims that they should “trust him.”  The video emphasizes “trust with victims.”  Unfortunately, the grim reality is that VICTIMS CANNOT TRUST ALAN JACKSON.  He horrifically violated Marsy’s law by giving a murderer a break when he reduced a death penalty case to 6 years without notifiying the victims family.  Arnold Schwarzenegger recently gave a break to a staffers son who murdered someone and he will get 7 years, an occurance that is now tied up in court with victims watching closely.  Jackson has yet to apologize to the family of Joseph Azevedo who was gunned down in his own home. 

Victims cannot trust Alan Jackso who violated Marsy's Law

Lets recall Alan Jackson’s violation of Marsy’s Law.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune 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.

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

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

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.  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.”

The Antelope Valley Press reported 

A murder charge carrying a potential death sentence or life in prison was dismissed.  ”Where is the justice? I can’t believe it after all these years,” Esmeralda Tirak of Palmdale said Friday.  “The guilty get away with murder, and the victims” she said, breaking into tears. “I can’t talk anymore.”  Michael Tirak, Azevedo’s nephew, said: “There’s something wrong with our justice system.”  After three decades, the family at least deserved the decency of a phone call to give them a chance to be there. Victims’ families usually speak in court to let the judge know the impact the loss of the loved one has had on friends and family.  

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.