Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

Posts Tagged ‘kamala harris

The Politics of Three Strikes and the California AG Race

with 2 comments

The Economist has been on a roll lately with coverage of the American criminal justice system. Today the magazine published this article on California’s three strikes law (the appeal described was litigated by Emily Galvin, a student in Stanford Law School’s Criminal Defense Clinic). As the article highlights, this year’s California AG race is shaping up to be interesting. San Francisco DA Kamala Harris has not won many fans statewide with her strict no-death-penalty policy, so she’ll seek to prove her tough-on-crime bona fides, in part, by muting her criticisms of the three strikes law. Her Republican opponent, Los Angeles DA Steve Cooley, has more leeway to be vocal:

… Steve Cooley has other ideas about Three Strikes, which he values as a “powerful recidivist tool” but also considers “draconian”. Mr Cooley has become the first DA in California to have a written policy not to invoke the three-strikes law when neither the current crime nor the previous strikes are violent or serious. … As a conservative, he need not be as paranoid as his Democratic rival about being called soft on crime. The son of an FBI agent and a proponent of the death penalty, Mr Cooley can point out the obvious—that the law is often egregiously unjust—and still be considered tough.

With or without a written policy, the San Francisco DA’s office has historically charged far fewer three strikes cases than other counties. But Kamala Harris will certainly not emphasize that in her campaign.

In Press, California AG Candidates Criticize Prison Budget Cuts

with 3 comments

As I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, California axed two-thirds of its prison rehabilitation programs in its most recent round of budget cuts. Now, those budget cuts are coming in for criticism from across the political spectrum, as recently reported in a couple of San Francisco Chronicle articles and editorials. And by “across the political spectrum,” I mean, across the list of contenders for the 2010 Democratic Party nomination for California Attorney General. OK, well, at least two of the contenders.

Here’s San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris:

“We know that when you go to prison and come out with no changed circumstances, you are prime to reoffend,” she said. “The first and principal priority should be prevention.”

And here’s California Assemblyman Ted Lieu (D – Torrance, Los Angeles County), a former military prosecutor:

“I believe the best way to reduce prison costs is to inject money into rehabilitation programs. … If it works for a certain percentage of people, that’s really all we need,” said Lieu, who believes the policy changes will make it easier for inmates to get credit for time served.

But, interestingly enough, here’s Assemblyman Lieu again — in an op-ed co-signed by California victims’ rights advocate Harriet Salarno:

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: