by Erubey Lopez
On November 4, 2014, California Voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 47, by 59% to 40% vote. Proposition 47, also known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, redefined some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors, rather than felonies. Because of the passage of Prop 47, low-level crimes such as: check fraud, drug possession, forgery, petty theft, receiving stolen property and shoplifting (property crimes involving amounts less than $950), now receive lighter sentences.
The passage of Prop 47 was one of best changes that have happened in California in a very long time. Prop 47 not only saves the state millions of dollars that it can now be use on education, but most importantly, it saves thousands of lives. Few things ruin someone’s life as bad as having a felony record. If you are black or Hispanic and poor, your life is already difficult, if you add a felony record, your life is pretty much over. Few people ever rebound from that.
The people of California realized that giving minor offenders unnecessarily harsh felony charges was bankrupting the state and ruining people’s lives. Californians overwhelmingly voted in favor of Prop 47. Unfortunately, San Diego County District Attorney, Bonnie Dumais, did not get the memo. Actually, she did get the memo and she shred it. She decided that Prop 47 was a “dangerous package of ill-conceived policies wrapped in a poorly drafted initiative” and that to the extent possible, she would not enforce it. In a Union Tribune letter to the Editor dated September 20, 2014, Dumanis plead to the voters to reject Prop 47, when the voters disregarded her plea and voted YES on 47, she disregarded the will of the voters and continued to apply illegally harsh criminal sentences.
In her determination to appear “tough on crime,” Bonnie Dumanis, decided that she would break the law in order to be able to impose illegally harsh sentences on those who need love and compassion the most, on our youth. In order to continue ruining young people’s lives, Bonnie Dumanies decided that Prop 47 does not apply to Juveniles. If Bonnie Dumanis truly believes that Prop 47 does not apply to Juveniles, the State Bar of California should revoke her license to practice law because misreading the law so incompetently is legal malpractice. Only an idiot would believe that prop 47 protects adults but disregards juveniles. The truth of the matter is that she knows that Prop 47 also applies to juveniles but she doesn’t care.
Imposing illegally harsh sentences on kids is just heartless, especially when you know how a felony record has lifelong repercussions. What Dumanis is doing to our kids is nothing short of a scandal, she deserves a spot next to judges Michael Conahan and Mark Arthur Ciavarella, Jr., the former Judges who were involved in the “Kids for cash” scandal. Like them, Dumanis, is selling out our kids.