SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown is at it again. He has killed California’s murder rule—pun intended.
Under SB1437 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, California will no longer allow people to be charged with murder when they were not directly involved in a killing. Brown signed the bill, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
The law overturns the state’s felony murder rule that holds an accomplice in an offense such as robbery liable for a homicide that happens during the crime, regardless of whether the defendant was involved in the killing.
This anti-public safety measure comes on the heals of the governor commuting 20 convicted murderers and granting more than 1,100 pardons, LET reported last month.
The felony murder rule has long been used in gang related homicides and other crimes of violence.
Instead, under the new law, a suspect can be charged with first-degree murder only if he or she was the actual killer, solicited the murder or aided the slaying in a way that showed a “reckless indifference to human life.”
Moreover, the new law will allow those who have been convicted under the felony murder rule to petition a court to be resentenced. So once again the state is more interested in releasing inmates than protecting citizens.
Is it any wonder that cops from California flee the Golden State upon retirement—LET managing editor Jim McNeff is included in this category.
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“California’s murder statute irrationally treated people who did not commit murder the same as those who did,” Skinner said. “SB1437 makes clear there is a distinction, reserving the harshest punishment to those who directly participate in the death.”
Skinner pointed to a 2018 survey by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition and Restore Justice, which found that 72 percent of incarcerated women in the state with a life sentence did not personally commit the murders for which they were convicted. The average age of someone charged as an accomplice to murder is 20.
Many prosecutors, who urged Brown to veto it, opposed the bill.
The California District Attorneys Association said the bill was “well-intentioned” but flawed because it puts communities at risk.
The man who became known as “Governor Moonbeam” during his initial years in office of 1975-1983, is living up to his nickname.
Mike Royko, the famed Chicago columnist, who in 1976 said that Mr. Brown appeared to be attracting “the moonbeam vote,” which in Chicago political parlance meant young, idealistic and nontraditional, coined the nickname, according to the New York Times.
– LET Staff