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Catch-and-Release: How Liberals Destroyed Law and Order in California

Posted on | February 7, 2021 | Comments Off on Catch-and-Release: How Liberals Destroyed Law and Order in California

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Gibson, 31, was killed last month in a shootout with Robert Calderon, 46, a lifelong criminal:

He had a combined nine felony and misdemeanor cases out of Sacramento County dating to 1993, Superior Court records show. The cases generally involve drugs and stolen vehicles. His most recent local case, a felony, came in 2012. He was sentenced to 16 months in state prison for vehicle theft.
Calderon reported a history of mental illness and said he had been treated by a Sacramento doctor in 2013 for drug-induced psychosis, according to court papers filed in 2016 in Oklahoma.
He also has a decades-long criminal history that includes vehicle thefts in Sacramento and near Lake Tahoe, according to records. Calderon also reportedly fled law enforcement at one point.
In June 2016, he pleaded guilty in Custer County, Oklahoma for methamphetamine possession and felony destruction of property after he ransacked a Hampton Inn hotel room and destroyed a microwave cart.
He was sentenced to four years in prison. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections told The Bee that Calderon had completed his sentence and was no longer on parole. Online records say he was discharged in November, 2017.

Calderon was killed in the shootout that killed Deputy Gibson, one of three such incidents in the same county during a span of four days.

After writing Saturday about a car thief who killed a man in San Francisco (“Catch-and-Release: Career Criminal Arrested in Deadly San Francisco Crash”), I began to wonder why this is happening.

Something has gone terribly wrong in California over the past decade, but I hadn’t followed the news closely enough to understand exactly what explained the rampant lawlessness in the state. However, for the past few months, to relax and take my mind off politics, I’ve gotten in the habit of watching police videos — car chases and bodycam video from shootings — on YouTube. Anyone familiar with this topic knows that Los Angeles is the car-chase capital of the world. At least once a week, it seems, TV news viewers in Southern California watch helicopter camera footage with the guy in the chopper narrating while the cops pursue suspects.

Usually, it’s a stolen car, or robbery suspects, or someone wanted on an arrest warrant. Why are these chases are so frequent? What is going on in California that so many criminals are out on the street? Curiosity eventually led me to the answer, after I researched the background on one notorious chase a couple of years ago. Police got a report that a man in a car was beating a woman in the passenger seat:

A domestic violence suspect with a woman in the passenger seat of a sedan led law enforcement officers on a three-hour chase Wednesday [April 24, 2019] through Los Angeles and Orange counties before he pulled into a shopping center and ran into a 99 Cents Only store, where he was taken into custody at gunpoint.
The passenger in the Honda Accord was later seen being helped into an ambulance after the chase, which began about 5:15 p.m. in the area of Firestone Boulevard and California Avenue in South Gate. A witness flagged down an officer in the area to report a man striking a woman in a car.
The driver took off when an officer spotted and approached the vehicle, South Gate Police Department Capt. Darren Arakawa said. During the chase, the woman was seen struggling with the suspect, who was reported to be a parolee at large, and a few times opened the passenger-side door, but did not get out as the car kept moving.
On Thursday, South Gate police identified the suspect as Alexis Leondardo Avinai, a 29-year-old felon on post release community supervision.

What is “post release community supervision”? If this explains one car chase, it might explain a lot more, so I kept Googling and found this:

Since 2008, Avina has served three prison terms for three separate felony convictions for weapons violations, and in the first incident, assault with a firearm, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Two years ago, after completing his most recent term, he was placed on Post release community supervision (PRCS) by the Probation Department for Orange County, where he was living. Under the AB 109 realignment passed in 2011, felons convicted of certain crimes are eligible for PRCS, instead of supervision by state Parole.
Since 2017, Avina has been cited in Los Angeles Country for a misdemeanor drug violation, and also for driving under the influence. The cases became more serious when he failed to appear as scheduled in court for both cases, and bench warrants were issued, according to Superior Court records reviewed by NBC4.
As it happened, Avina resolved both of those cases — without jail time — with a plea bargain when he finally appeared in court in West Covina on Wednesday — only hours before the pursuit.

There is a word for this: insanity.

California has always been kind of crazy, but now they’ve completely lost touch with reality, when a guy with three felony convictions for weapons violations, who then violates parole and skips court for two years, is turned loose after a plea bargain. The denouement of the Alexis Avinai story came last September, when he was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison, but what is this about “AB 109 realignment”?

After a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that California’s overcrowded prison system needed reform, the passage of former Governor Jerry Brown’s AB 109 in 2011 transferred responsibility of future “non-violent, non-serious, and non-sex” offenders to county jails, not state prisons. Those who were released were supervised by county parole.
California Proposition 47, which passed in 2014, reduced a host of felonies to misdemeanors, including personal use of illegal drugs, forgery, writing a bad check, and other thefts under $950 (even for repeat offenders); a felony conviction was allowed “if [the] person has [a] previous conviction for crimes such as rape, murder, or child molestation or is [a] registered sex offender.”
California Proposition 57, passed in 2016, gave early release for non-violent offenders, but the initiative failed to define who qualified as a “non-violent” offender. Hundreds of thousands of drug-addicted offenders on the streets are failing to receive mental health or drug treatment, and many are violent and merit incarceration.

Now do you see why thousands of dangerous criminals like Alexis Avinai and Robert Calderon are roaming the streets of California? Is it any wonder that car thieves are leading police on pursuits through L.A. on a weekly basis? Is anyone surprised that people are being killed by lifelong criminals who never should have been let out of prison? One politician in California who understands this is Assemblyman Jim Cooper:

Cooper released a statement Tuesday condemning the state’s “soft on crime laws” and blaming these recent incidents on the premature release of convicted felons.
“Under the PCRS Act of 2011, felons who commit crimes as egregious as assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence are released into our communities with little to no monitoring due to the lack of resources at the county level,” Cooper said. “I’ve said this before, California’s decade of soft on crime laws are endangering the public and our first responders. Victims’ rights groups and legal experts have all warned that California’s criminal justice reform laws such as AB 109 and Proposition 57 would lead to increased crime and risks to the public’s safety, as well as to our law enforcement officers.”
Cooper continued, “Felons that have been convicted of serious violent crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence should never be released under minimal supervision under parole. These parolees should be heavily supervised by the CDCR. Counties were never equipped to supervise violent felons. The families of the officers injured and killed in two separate incidents in just four days deserve better, our communities deserve better.”
Cooper said that lawmakers need to prioritize the safety of the public.
“California continues to release violent criminals onto our streets that have no regard for our laws because they know they will face little to no consequences,” Cooper said. “California lawmakers must stop prioritizing the release of violent criminals and instead prioritize protecting the public’s safety.”

You may be surprised to learn that Assemblyman Cooper is a Democrat and a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus. However, he spent 30 years as a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy, and he understands that “soft on crime laws” are destroying California.

Near the end of Saturday night’s edition of The Other Podcast, I discussed the craziness in California with John Hoge and Dianna Deeley, both of whom had the good fortune to escape California alive. Alas, for others, “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”




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