Bypass the law with that trusty old CA Code of Regulations – The Title 15.
Dear Readers, I understand it’s difficult to sympathize with the people in here that the State has maligned with labels corresponding to their crimes. But you would be appalled if you could only peek into the level of corruption and injustice that those same agents perpetrate to bypass law with. I have explained how these injustices aren’t just against prisoners who may or may not deserve it, but that it trickles down to you and your own children; and even though they know these things as they perpetrate their misdeeds, they continue to do them willingly.
The CA Supreme Court has decided not to review the Butler Settlement. However, the Board is now rolling out Phase II, their contingency plan(s) for just in case the high court would decline to meddle. For starters, they are re-writing the definition of what a “base term” is. They are going to use that trusty old CA Code of Regulations to do it – The Title 15 Regulations. I clearly explained that the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) is loaded with the Board/Governor/CDCR (it’s all the same: “State”)’s toadies. Every time they want to pass a hard-to-pass law, they simply rely on The State Regulations (CA Code of Regulations Titles) because they carry the same effect as the law when the subjects are normal citizens who don’t know any better. When they want to produce a new fee at the DMV they write a regulation in whatever the Title of CCR DMV is in. New procedure for charging higher electric bills (like those nifty new meters that seem to record higher usage)? No problem; add a new regulation to whatever CCR Title Utilities falls under. All State agencies use the Gov. Code to promulgate regs. To undo them, you must challenge them in court as unconstitutional. Yes, before a State judge whom the Governor put on the bench. It sounds like more conspiracy theory, because it actually is a scheme. It may not have been intended to be, any more than gerrymandering is. But it’s an effective weapon. Here, they have an effective weapon to combat the Settlement’s aftermath: re-write a definition for “base term.” Also, the State plans to define a “Verified life term” versus a “Proposed life term.” Why the distinction now? Well, I’ll spell it out: suppose I go to the Board for my hearing. They will “SET ” a “PROPOSED” base term, and voila! They have complied with the Butler mandate to “SET” a term. Semantic magic. They know they can’t sustain this calculations-only policy without getting in trouble.
Another new trick they have is that starting January 1, 2015, every Deputy Commissioner will be reclassified as an “Administrative Judge.” Therefore, every Deputy Commish MUST be a lawyer by trade. Those already there who aren’t lawyers, will be “grandfathered in” until they retire. “Oh how fun, Mom : I get to play judge like I always wanted!!” Board hearings have been legally qualified (by the Supreme Court) as “quasi-judicial functions.” This is because they result in the ultimate sentencing of a prisoner. The Legislature created a restriction against our sentencing courts from setting our sentences, with the presumption that the Board would do so using the matrices created for that purpose. The BPH then created a Title 15 rule (reg) allowing themselves to only SET the base term by the matrix WHEN they finally find one suitable for parole. That finding is so hard to achieve that prisoners frequently die of old age decades past the base term that would’ve been set but for these fickle and capricious commissioners that make their own rules in this complicated game.
We clearly have few advocates. Only the people who care and listen, like the reader here. They give themselves a chance to see that this doesn’t only affect some obscure prisoner somewhere. The writer here is a real person with a real chance to make a positive impact in society, the way his punishment is supposed to function.
It’s wasting YOUR taxpayer dollar. It’s setting a dangerous precedent. Why? Because where they know I only have a less-than 1% risk to ever come back to prison and a 0% risk of committing another violent crime, they overcrowd the system until they are forced to release people who DO reoffend at a rate of 73% (recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plata v. Brown); and 43% for serious felonies. Of those 43%, 11% commit a VIOLENT CRIME within three years of release. Yes, murder; rape; robbery – and the State KNOWS this. They aren’t worried though: the CDCR stays in business with its repeat customers. They are early-releasing those people RIGHT NOW. “They aren’t lifers though!” – they yell. (At least not YET, right? — THERE’S a management strategy.) Recite our commitment crimes, and the public will digress.
The tragedy is that an unsuspecting public is being hornswoggled. The very people they put in charge to protect them are knowingly endangering them. It isn’t a matter of speculation. Statistics show that lifers do reform, and that non-lifers actually commit all of the crimes. To use a manufacturing analogy, often, refurbished units operate better than new units, if only because we’ve learned about the product in real use and the retrofit parts are more effective than the defective originals.
Lifers are refurbished human beings of sorts. The original parts (traumatic, abusive upbringings) were defective, and the units came apart at full speed and hurt those around them. We have now seen the damage we caused, and retrofitted with better parts that are designed to prevent another tragedy. In fact, our “retrofits” are designed to help keep others from coming apart at full speed. The State does not care to employ these skills we have to help others out there and lower crime; they would rather train in legal techniques on how to prevent our legally-mandated parole. Again, it’s YOUR tax dollar hard at work. Since it’s YOUR money, I hope it doesn’t bother you much when you get that nifty electric bill.
Until my next, I sign off.
Written by Rodolfo “Rudy” Gonzalez Jr. while incarcerated in California.