Oakland’s new district attorney hopes to reduce prison sentences and prison sentences for criminal defendants, including murderers, in her latest effort to fulfill ultra-wakeful campaign promises that propelled her to the top job.
In a leaked memo from Alameda County, DA circulated Pamela Price to her office, saying she hoped to bring back a balanced conviction and then reduce recidivism, according to the Berkley scanner.
The directive also said probation will be the “presumed offer” during plea negotiations, and that low prison sentences should be offered in cases that don’t qualify for probation — though nearly every crime in California’s criminal code qualifies for probation. .
Price, who was sworn in as a prosecutor in January, stressed that the policy is not yet final and that she is open to feedback, referring to the note as an “interim final guidance” that takes effect next week.
New Oakland District Attorney Pamela Price hopes to reduce prison sentences and prison sentences for criminal defendants, including murderers, in her latest effort to fulfill ultra-wake campaign promises that propelled her to the top job
Employees who spoke to the outlet and remained unnamed said they are “deeply concerned” about the impact the new policy has on public safety in the province.
“This is catastrophic for the safety of our community,” said a prosecutor.
“What this does is remove anything that adds time beyond the basics, core crime.”
The policy allows for exceptions in “extraordinary” circumstances, including human trafficking, hate crimes, child or elder abuse, and crimes that cause “serious” bodily harm.
But will require prosecutors to obtain regulatory approval before proceeding with improvements to a new case or plea deal, the memo states.
It comes as the first major policy change proposed by Price and is expected to be finalized by the end of the month.
Sentencing improvements can be added to existing California charges. The most common are gun enhancements, gang enhancements, prior conviction enhancements for strikes, and personal use charges, for cases where a suspect is alleged to have fired a gun.
The application of such enhancements is intended to reflect the seriousness of a particular crime.
Critics of sentencing improvements claim that they punish people multiple times for the same crime and are partly responsible for California’s overcrowded prison system.
“It doesn’t differentiate between the serious and violent crimes and the non-violent crimes,” another DA office worker told the outlet.
“It doesn’t differentiate between the broad category of things that fall into the same section of the criminal code.”
More than 80 percent of people in state prisons are serving terms that have been extended with a sentence increase.
The memo echoes Price’s campaign promises last year when she defeated prosecutor Terry Wiley in the November 8 general election.
Price walked on a platform of judicial reform, seeking alternatives to incarceration, holding police accountable and eliminating the use of special circumstances charges that lead to life without parole or the death penalty.
Price drew criticism from the families of crime victims in January when she dropped special circumstances in the case of a convicted murderer facing multiple murder charges.
In a leaked Alameda County memo that DA Pamela Price circulated to her office, she said she hoped to bring back a balanced conviction and then reduce recidivism
Price walked on a platform of justice reform, seeking alternatives to incarceration, holding police accountable and eliminating the use of charges of special circumstances leading to life without parole or the death penalty
In February, she dropped them as part of a proposed plea deal for a man accused of committing three murders in 31 days.
She is also expected to review several other cases of special circumstances.
Meanwhile, several other improvements can be ‘pursued’ under the new directive, but only under exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the regulator.
These include improvements related to hate crimes, sexual abuse, child abuse, sex trafficking, and abuse of the elderly and dependent adults.
In an office that routinely charges hundreds of cases each week, some people familiar with the memo said the new process seemed unrealistic, especially since decisions about charging people in custody must be made within 48 hours.
Critics also noted that in early January, attorneys had sent hundreds of cases to Price and her team for review at Price’s request. To date, there has been no response, they said.
“We have been hearing for weeks now that they have to arrange their affairs. They don’t respond,” he said.
“They don’t have the bandwidth to respond to all these things.”
Price also ordered prosecutors to end previous strikes, significantly extending prison sentences.
Price’s new “interim final” guidelines go into effect Monday and will apply retroactively to cases convicted within the past 120 days.
In a statement to the outlet, Price said she had “worked with our leadership team to develop guidelines consistent with the mandate given to her by voters.”
‘(The directive was) designed to create structural changes to improve operations and ‘for a fair and balanced administration of justice.
“This is not a directive from above. Our office listens and works together to serve the people of Alameda County.
Price joins a national movement of progressives seeking to push back mass incarceration and push for reform at the county level by seeking seats for the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office.
Price also said she would hate people facing life without parole, and would prosecute police misconduct.
One of her first actions after taking office was to reopen investigations into eight police shootings and deaths in custody, including two cases more than a decade old.
Price defeated her moderate opponent to become Alameda County’s first black district attorney in 2022.
One county away, however, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins was elected after a wave of voter dissatisfaction over the course of events under her progressive predecessor, Chesa Boudin.
Voters removed Boudin, arguing that his progressive reforms were too lenient and made the city less safe.
Boudin was elected after promising to hold police officers accountable for wrongdoings, fight prison overcrowding and develop policies for a more racially just criminal justice system.
One county away, however, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins was elected after a wave of voter discontent over the course of events under her progressive predecessor, Chesa Boudin (pictured)
But the political winds began to shift about a year into his tenure, as pandemic-induced concerns about a perceived increase in crime began to emerge.
While overall reported crime fell during his tenure, a spike in crimes such as residential burglaries and a series of shocking crimes committed by people already arrested under Boudin’s leadership fueled a sense of lawlessness in the city.
Critics also alleged mismanagement of his office and pointed to the many staffers who quit under his tenure.
The final split for the recall vote was 55-45 in favor of Jenkins.