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Lynching and Killing Cops Now “Not Serious” Crimes in CA

Lynching and Killing Cops Now “Not Serious” Crimes in CA

When the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that California’s prison were so overcrowded and inhumane that they constituted cruel and unusual punishment, it became evident that the state would finally have to act. Many hoped that this would spur new reforms that improved public safety and took into account the rights of prisoners. Governor Jerry Brown, however, just signed a bill that dubiously redefines horrible and violent crimes as no-big-deals that should be dealt with at the local level by even more cash-strapped counties.

The Associated Press reports that these crimes include: “Involuntary manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, killing or injuring a police officer while resisting arrest, participating in a lynching, possession of weapons of mass destruction, possessing explosives, threatening a witness or juror, and using arson or explosives to terrorize a health facility or church.” Yes, you read that correctly — if someone possesses a weapon of mass destruction, participates in a lynching, or commits acts of terror in California they’re not going to go to prison; instead they are going to county jails for what are sure to be much reduced sentences. Because those are just, you know, community disturbances.

The problem with having counties deal with the problem is that sentences are likely to be shorter and the counties themselves likely don’t have the institutional resources to offer alternatives to incarceration. This means that instead of instituting broad-based reform, the state of California is just leaving a giant void in who should have to deal with that long list of crimes. Counties don’t have the resources and the state doesn’t want responsibility, which means that more hardened criminals are going to be out on the streets — with little support system to disincentivize doing it again.

What California should be doing is investing in better rehabilitation services — or at least programs that ensure that these kinds of crimes won’t happen in the first place. Of course, that costs money, something that the state is currently running a bit short on. And because California is uniquely ungovernable, it seems unlikely that anything besides a piecemeal and ineffective reform will get passed anytime soon. It’s too bad, because what just got signed is unlikely to help out prisoners, but a whole lot more likely to make our streets more dangerous.

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Photo from miss_millions via flickr.

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40 comments

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11:09AM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

CINDY B.

I agree with you 100%... if they (cops) can give it, they CAN TAKE IT!

12:42AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

I don't know about those other offenses, but as far as the cop-killing goes, I can only say that cops kill people very indiscriminently and literally ALWAYS get away with it (not to mention beating the crap out of people as well). Here in Seattle, WA, in the past year, cops have killed a poor old deaf whittler just because he had a small knife in his hand and was walking across the street and didn't respond when the cop, some yards behind him, said to HALT. They've killed a poor drunk guy who was SLOWLY backing his car out of a parking spot, not heeding the cop's order to stop the car (Cop: "I feared for my safety...") There are just unlimited examples of these murders, here and everywhere. Cops murder without blinking an eye in case after case where someone was drunk, terribly upset, had a moment of bad judgment -- and certainly wasn't any real threat... killing the guy most certainly was not necessary! So as far as I'm concerned, if they can give it, they can take it. Sorry, but I have NO respect for the cops, freakin' power junkies.

PS: I'm aware this really doesn't address the issue at hand (somewhat weirdly presented anyway) very well. But I just had to get this off my chest.

12:36PM PDT on Oct 10, 2011

We need to take a serious look at our drug laws. I can't understand why we need to have big brother look over us. If a person wants to ruin their lives by taking drugs, then let them. If they are to stupid to not see the ramifications of their decisions then lets call it Darwinism at work. Don't get me wrong I know people make mistakes but it's a whole lot cheaper to staff and operate rehabs then it is prisons. I myself found myself in the clutches of addiction and suffered for many years and it's a problem I'd never wish on anyone but the current policy of trying to control it, is not going to work. I'm still for prescribing and not selling out of a drug store but if you take the illegality out of it you'll also eliminate a good part of the profit which will also take the legs out of the organized crime people.

1:05AM PDT on Oct 10, 2011

The whole damn prison overpopulation problem would be solved by changing drug laws! Keep the more dangerous laws where they are - change the drug laws!

7:35PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

People "convicted" of killing cops are often rail-roaded through the system on the imperative to get a quick conviction and set an "example".
See "Troy Davis"

9:20PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

I know Calif.s budget woes are bad, but please don't release the scum of the earth to save a few bucks!

3:09PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

I would really like to see some form of documentation that this article is factual, or whether it is some sort of hyped out distortion of reality.

12:18PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Carry a gun to protect myself or depend on police (public system) is still an interesting topic today. Actural, it is nothing to do with police or gun but what should be protected and how to protect myself? if anyone understand human's history, you will be open to ideas. Nothing is new here.

12:33AM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Hope S. and Johnathon Y. are correct. This article has been 'chopped' to meet a very narrow view of the law. It is more about discrediting Governor Brown than conveying the facts.

12:28AM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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