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Victim's Family Sues Over Early Release

Jennie Rodriguez-Moore has this story in the Stockton Record:

In a case that has drawn the attention of critics of AB109, California's prison realignment law, the son and daughter of an elderly Stockton woman who was allegedly raped and murdered by her grandson are suing the state and San Joaquin County, saying he should have not have been released from county jail.

According to the lawsuit filed Aug. 8, parole employees supervising Jerome Sidney DeAvila knew he was a danger and "were aware that on numerous occasions, he had stated his intent to harm, kill, and/or rape his grandmother," Racheal Renee Russell.

The body of the 76-year-old woman was discovered late February inside a wheelbarrow in the backyard of her South Golden Gate Avenue home.

DeAvila's case drew the attention of critics of AB109, which has parolees serve their revocation sentences at county jails instead of state prison.

Parole violators are routinely released and are usually the first to go early in San Joaquin County, because the jail has to meet a court-ordered population cap to avoid overcrowding.

And some overcrowded jails in the state are not booking them at all.

I doubt that a suit for damages has much chance.  However, the state's criminal justice system certainly did fail Mrs. Russell.  All the preening pseudosophisticates congratulating themselves on how "smart" they are on crime can go home to their safe, leafy neighborhoods, while the consequences fall on people like Rachael Russell.


I know I'll sleep better at night when those responsible for flooding our criminal system with non-violent, no-victim offenders are brought to justice for creating a system that is so overburdened it can't keep the genuinely violent, criminal sex offenders behind bars.

Looks like you have swallowed a myth hook, line, and sinker.

I gather by "no-victim offenders" you mean drug offenders. This story is about California. Congress has passed some severe mandatory minimums for federal drug offenses, including the infamous, now-repealed Biden 100/1 crack/powder ratio. New York had its notorious "Rockefeller laws" on drugs, also now substantially modified. But California's drug laws never have been that harsh, and the "treatment not jail" initiative passed 13 years ago.

California judges have had discretion to grant probation (including probation combined with some time in county jail) to essentially all non-violent felons the whole time. To get state prison for a non-violent offense before realignment required that a judge decide on an individual basis that this sentence was necessary for the offender and offense, including his prior offenses. The notion that California was sending large numbers of people to state prison unnecessarily is a myth.

The overcrowding occurred because the leadership of the California Legislature intentionally blocked the funds previously approved to build the needed space. They did it to precipitate the crisis on purpose, so they could ram through their irresponsible and dangerous watering down of criminal justice. The blood of the victims is on their hands.

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