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Protesting Releases

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When pollsters ask Californians about prisoner releases while describing the prisoners in innocuous terms, such as "low-level, nonviolent offenders," they get positive responses.  See, e.g., this USC/LA Times poll last month, Question 36. 

But the reality is quite different, and when the reality produces its inevitable consequences, people will realize they have been deceived.

Anita Bennett of the Culver City Patch has this story on a protest in LA last Friday.

Chanting "justice for the victims," about two dozen people marched in front of the Ronald Reagan State Building in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, demanding change in the state policy that allows "low-level" parolees to be out in society without supervision. "I'm hoping people realize that this is happening," said Fred Escobar, whose 27-year-old daughter Erica Escobar was killed, allegedly at the hands of an ex-convict who had been released on non-revocable parole status.

On May 3, Erica Escobar and 89-year-old Lucien Bergez were found dead in Bergez's Culver City home. A 31-year-old transient named Zackariah Lehnen was arrested two days later and charged with two counts of murder.

Lehnen is accused of fatally stabbing and beating Bergez and Escobar.  The young woman's father believes that if Lehnen had remained locked up, his daughter would still be alive. "He shouldn't have even been released. He had assault with a deadly weapon. If that's a low-risk criminal, we're pretty much nuts."

In LA Weekly Dennis Romero has earlier posts here and here with more info on the case.

Why, you might ask, am I linking to the Culver City Patch and not the Los Angeles Times for coverage of this protest?  Couldn't find a single word about it in the LAT.

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