Proposition 9: Criminal Justice System; Victims’ Rights; Parole

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What Is the Criminal Justice System; Victims’ Rights; Parole Statute?

Proposition 9 will amend the California State Constitution and various statutes to: 1) Expand the legal rights of crime victims by creating a “Victim’s Bills of Rights,” 2) Restrict the early release of inmates, and 3) Change the procedures for granting and revoking parole.

What do supporters of Proposition 9 say?
  • Its supporters call it “Marsy’s Law” and argue that it is needed to provide enforceable constitutional rights to victims of crime and to reform the parole and sentencing systems;
  • Requires law enforcement to provide all victims of crime a “Marsy’s Card” or a “Victim’s Survival and Resource Guide” that will inform victims of their enforceable constitutional rights;
  • Requires victims to be notified and given opportunity to speak during phases of the criminal justice system, such as bail, pleas, sentencing, and parole hearings;
  • Expands the number of people who may attend and testify on behalf of victims at parole hearings;
  • Requires prisoners to serve the entire sentence ordered by the court and reduces early release options;
  • Eliminates yearly parole hearings for prisoners sentenced to life with possibility of parole. Hearings will be held at intervals between 3 and 15 years.
What do opponents of Proposition 9 say?
  • Proposition 9 duplicates measures already in place for victims, will be costly to implement, and will impact the legal rights of defendants;
  • Many of the proposed legal rights for victims already exist in statute or in the 1984 constitutional amendment that guarantees victims’ rights. It would be more effective to focus on implementing and enforcing these existing laws;
  • Currently, all parolees must be given legal counsel during revocation hearings. This law will eliminate a full right to counsel and allow longer hearing date delays. It will deny parolees their Constitutional due process rights to a fair and speedy parole determination.
Who supports Proposition 9?

Crime Victims United of California, Memories of Victims Everywhere, National Organizations for Victim Assistance (NOVA), National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), The Cara Knott Foundation, Jim Costa (CA- District 20), Sen. Jim Nielsen, Sen. George Runner, Assembly Member Sharon Runner

Who opposes Proposition 9?

Taxpayers for Improved Public Safety (TIPS), California Teacher’s Association (CTA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) (Partial Lists)

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