Nielsen says proposed bill allows violent criminals less consequences

Tri-County News

California's Democrat majority of the Senate recently passed a measure requiring the courts to dismiss sentence enhancements, thereby, resulting in shorter jail or prison time for convicted criminals. Senate Bill 81 further removes the discretion of judges and provides them no guidance when evaluating whether an enhancement should be dismissed, according to State Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Red Bluff.

He said some of these enhancements, like the Three Strikes law, have been placed into law by the votes of the people.

“By eliminating the enhancements, the Legislature is sending the message that it is ok to do multiple crimes without consequences,” Nielsen added. “The criminals understand this message well. This legislation emboldens the criminals, and ignores the rights of victims and the rest of society.”

According to San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan, “Senate Bill 81 serves to mandate dismissal of sentencing enhancements imposed by the original sentencing judge for many offenders by creating a new opaque legal concept – a presumption of dismissal unless the prosecution shows by clear and convincing evidence that the dismissal of the enhancement would endanger public safety.”

Nielsen said the bill would likely eliminate all property crime enhancements, as such crimes are deemed “non-violent.”

For example, he explained, embezzling or defrauding a person of $5,000 or embezzling and defrauding their entire $500,000 life savings would essentially have the same penalty.

“This is completely unfair and unjust for both the victim and the community at large,” Nielsen added.

Senate Bill 81 received 27 yes votes. No Republican voted for the measure. It now moves to the State Assembly for additional hearings.

Elected to the State Senate in January 2013, Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Nielsen's office call 916-651-4004, or via email at senator.nielsen@senate.ca.gov.

Recommended for you