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DA FILES LAWSUIT TO PREVENT RELEASE OF PRISONERS
RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA, August 14, 2007: Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco will file a motion in federal court today seeking intervention on behalf of the citizens of Riverside County against the early release of criminals from state prison.
Pacheco has gathered the support of prosecutors throughout the state in this action. The elected District Attorneys of San Diego, Santa Barbara, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Placer, Colusa, Amador, Contra Costa, Solano, Tehama, Butte, Kern, and San Luis Obispo County have joined with Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco in seeking to join in the federal lawsuit.
"I am honored to work with such esteemed public safety leaders of California," said Pacheco.
"We need to ensure that the dangerous and violent criminals that we have sent to prison in order to protect the citizens of Riverside County are not released only to commit more violent acts against the men, women, and children of our community," said District Attorney Rod Pacheco.
In documents filed today in United States District Court, Pacheco is seeking to intervene in the federal lawsuits that would consider the early release of inmates due to prison overcrowding. The class action lawsuits were filed by Ralph Coleman and Marciano Plata against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the State of California asking the court to address prison population issues. The motion was filed in opposition after the United States District Court for the Eastern and Northern District of California appointed a three judge panel to recommend solutions including a prison population cap and issuing an early release order.
"There is great concern among law enforcement that the newly constituted three judge federal panel will impose a population cap on our state prison population. If that occurs, tens of thousands of state prisoners will be released back to their counties that committed them, pursuant to state law. If they release these prisoners, Riverside County will be especially hard hit," said District Attorney Pacheco. The Riverside County District Attorney's Office has the highest state prison commitment of felony cases of any medium to large county in California.
District Attorney Pacheco intends to offer evidence that the release of criminals back to Riverside County will jeopardize the public safety and further harm our fragile local criminal justice system. United States Code Annotated section 3626 requires the court to give substantial weight to any adverse effect on public safety or the operation of the criminal justice system caused by the early release of state prisoners.
The California Legislature has already passed Assembly Bill 900 that provides for $7.8 billion in state funding for jail and prison construction and inmate rehabilitation. District attorneys and law enforcement officials fully support this type of prison reform in an effort to ease overcrowding and continue to oppose early release programs that statistics have shown only contribute to the recidivism rate and pose a further threat to public safety.
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