Michelle D. Wallis

Call 559-713-6363

California Prop. 57: Parole for Non-Violent Offenders and Juvenile Court Trial

silhouette of man standing near fence during sunset

Many of my clients ask me if they are eligible for a benefit under California Proposition 57. Many non-violent offenders are, and some who were convicted of other charges are not. So what is the difference, and what is Proposition 57? Voters approved an amendment of the State Constitution as well as a new statute when they passed California Proposition 57 on the November 8, 2016 ballot in the State of California. Proposition 57 allows those charged with a nonviolent felony offense and sentenced to state prison [to be] eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term of his or her primary offense.”( Superior Court of Sacramento County, California, “ACSOL v. Department of Corrections: Preliminary Order,” February 8, 2018—this citation should be listed in a footnote).

This means that some of the stacking sentencing options prosecutors and courts had added to inmates sentences were overturned. Moreover, Proposition 57 also authorizes the department of Corrections and rehabilitation to award additional sentence credits, assuming the new parole and sentence-credit provisions are certified to meet public safety. Finally, Proposition 57 ensures that JUDGES make a determination upon noticed motion by the prosecutor where a juvenile aged 14 years or older should be prosecuted as adults or juveniles, rather than allowing the prosecutor to directly charge juveniles in the adult system. (The following should be listed in a footnote please California Secretary of State, “California General Election November 8, 2016, Official Voter Information Guide,” accessed August 18, 2016). Thus, the effects of Proposition 57 for those incarcerated cannot be overstated. In some cases, it directly struck and continues to strike large amounts of sentencing time. In other, more serious or violent offenses, there would be no effect at all. In Juvenile Court, Proposition 57 overturned the ability of prosecutors to directly file juvenile cases in adult court. The finding that a child is suitable for an adult court must now be made by a Judge at a hearing.

So what does this mean for your case?

If you have questions about whether or not Proposition 57 will affect your case, please don’t hesitate to talk to your lawyer, or to call and hire a lawyer. It certainly can’t hurt to ask if it applies to your case, and then you may get a more realistic sense of what your sentence (or that of a loved one) might look like—hopefully it will be shorter as a result of Proposition 57.