From the President

October 15, 2014

We had another great meeting in San Diego County last week, thank you to the San Diego County Probation Officers Association for hosting the meeting! Our guest speakers were California State Assemblymember Rocky Chavez, and San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox. Both clearly understand the challenges that Probation is facing throughout the state. It’s always good to see that legislators are not only aware of our issues, but are ready to do their part to work on common problems with Probation.

Well, this year’s legislative session has wrapped and unfortunately the governor chose not to sign AB 2052 (Gonzalez) into law, though it was one of the last few dozen bills considered on the last day of eligibility. This SCOPO supported bill would have provided expanded worker’s compensation coverage on presumptions (i.e. cancer, hernias) to the remainder of the 830 PC series; including probation peace officers. Rather than doing the right thing, the governor chose to treat probation peace officers as second class citizens by not signing the bill into law. As it stands, many probation peace officers work side-byside with 830.1 PC peace officers, whom are already covered by the presumptions we were trying to have added in AB 2052. We are exposed to many of the same risks that those peace officers face. Shame on you Governor Brown.

Ahead of this November 4th General Election, SCOPO has taken a position of NO on Proposition 47. If approved by voters, Proposition 47 would change future crimes for low-level, nonviolent drug possession and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, which would reduce the penalty and make fewer offenders eligible for state prison. Second, it is likely to make around 10,000 state prison inmates originally convicted of low-level, nonviolent offenses prosecuted as felonies eligible for early release. For those familiar with 2011’s Realignment, this sounds all too familiar. It’s a way for the governor to meet the demands of reducing the state prison population; while continuing to shift responsibilities to the local level. The bill has language that would allegedly provide funds to schools, but the reality is that the funding should go to where it would be needed most – law enforcement and probation services. It is our belief that Probation would once again be impacted, either through the preparation of reports for new crimes, and/or for the supervision of this new round of releases.

The following is a partial list of crimes where Proposition 47 would compel the court to grant an early release:
  1. Carjacking
  2. Armed Robbery
  3. Assault on a peace officer or a firefighter with an assault weapon, a hand-gun, shotgun or a knife.
  4. Most felonies in which the defendant personally uses a firearm
  5. Bank robbery
  6. Residential Burglary
  7. Kidnapping
  8. Drug trafficking, no matter how large the transaction
  9. Assault with a deadly weapon against a school employee
  10. Non-fatal drive-by shootings
  11. Witness intimidation
If Proposition 47 passes, the following offenses would be required to be charged as a lesser offense:
  1. Unlawful possession of “date-rape drugs (i.e. Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB)”
  2. Possession of drugs (i.e. this includes heroin, methamphetamine, and all forms of cocaine)
  3. Theft of a gun valued at less than $950
  4. Identity theft over the internet of up to $950
  5. Forgery of a check up to $950
As you can see, passage of Proposition 47 would only serve to water down our already struggling criminal justice system, on top of the ongoing ramifications of Realignment.

Please consider a NO vote on Proposition 47, and urge family and friends to vote the same.

Stay alert, stay safe, and stand committed.

Paul Brennan
SCOPO President