By: Ron Wright | American Thinker
The District Attorneys of Tulare County and Riverside County, Tim Ward and Mike Hestrin, respectively, and Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco and Riverside City PD Chief Larry Gonzalez, held a joint press conference on April 12, 2023 (See Video). These DAs are not radical Left Soros-supported prosecutors. Instead, they are at wit’s end regarding the unintended consequences of Assembly Bill 109, the California Public Safety Realignment Act, for serial low-level felony offenders.
In my experience, 8% to 10% of offenders commit most crimes, including violent ones. The others re-offend at a much lower rate. From a resource allocation perspective, it would be more practical for the criminal justice system to focus on the 8% to 10% population and divert the others. I would include in the serial offender definition, retail theft gangs who plague many commercial businesses across jurisdictional boundaries. These serial theft gangs seldom are caught and prosecuted because of the decriminalization of shoplifting. Every day, serial offenders are in custody. They aren’t committing new crimes.
AB109 released low-level felons from state prison back to their home counties for incarceration and supervision (AB109 local state prison). Riverside County DA Hestrin expressed his frustration “Frankly, all of us up here on stage have had enough…. We cannot protect our public; we are getting no help from Sacramento, the laws don’t back us up.”
Chief Gonzalez said, “There was a time when theft, specifically repeated theft, was met with a consequence …. These days, they have been legislated away and our community is suffering….” Sheriff Bianco added. “They [legislators] don’t care what we think, they care what voters think…. Until we can get the voters fed up and the voters start calling them, it is not going to change.”