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Commentary

California Criminal Guide: Tips for Thugs



Things are getting competitive for criminals these days, but there’s also some good news. All criminals can gain a big edge by moving to California.

In 2014, the Golden State passed Proposition 47, the so-called Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative. This changed several felonies such as shoplifting, receiving stolen property and car break-ins into misdemeanors.

Aside from assumptions about readers’ morals, under this law, anyone can basically steal nearly $1,000 worth of other people’s stuff and the cops won’t treat it much differently than a traffic ticket. So, no surprise that the smash-and-grab gang is going wild.

Last year in San Francisco, there were nearly 30,000 car break-ins, and in only 1.7 percent of those cases did the cops make arrests. And most of the thieves who got caught never got jail time. Some politicians like the proposition because California’s jails are already overcrowded. So, what’s an aspiring criminal to do?

You can easily sell hot goods on the internet and use the stolen credit cards to get money and other stuff like stolen computers for identity theft and addresses of where the people with the money live and work.

You can also thank California cities for underfunding their workers’ pension costs, because the shortfall means some have cut back on services including police. The city of Oakland won’t even dispatch police to most non-violent or non-emergency crime.

The news is even better if you’re just starting a career in violent crime.

Under Proposition 57, the so-called Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, prosecutors can no longer try any juvenile as an adult, even if the crime is rape, arson or murder. So one 13-year-old arrested for gunning down a 16-year-old will go to juvenile court and the maximum sentence could be only imprisonment until age 25 in a soft facility. And get this: they are applying Proposition 57 retroactively.

Back in 2013, Daniel Marsh was just 15 years old when he tortured, murdered and mutilated Oliver Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, in Davis, California. Aside from Juan Corona and that Manson bunch, Marsh’s mayhem was probably the worst murder in state history.

Marsh was convicted in 2014 and Proposition 57 didn’t pass until 2016, but this year they reversed the killer’s conviction and gave him a new hearing, without presenting new exculpatory evidence. Authorities even let this killer give a TED talk, in which he portrayed himself as a victim, and put the video on the internet (since removed). So Marsh got to testify, without being under oath, and with no possibility of cross-examination.

If judged suitable for juvenile court, this double murderer will be out at age 25 at the latest. So for juveniles who like to kill in creative ways, the California system is basically on your side, kind of a criminals’ lobby. Still, adults have other advantages.

California makes it harder for law-abiding folks to obtain firearms and now even ammunition. This doesn’t affect criminals, who don’t follow the law. Criminals can easily get guns and are now less likely to get shot in the commission of a crime.

Speaking of guns, you might remember American Indian Movement rabble-rouser Dennis Banks, who back in the 1970s shot it out with cops in a North Dakota courthouse. Banks fled to California and Governor Jerry Brown refused to extradite him.

So the governor of California has a soft spot for gun violence. He was pretty quiet when racist felon Luis Bracamontes killed two cops in Sacramento, and he’s is okay with Propositions 47 and 57.

Just so you know, Jerry Brown remains in office until November, so criminals who want that competitive edge should head to California right now.


K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent Briefing, Cross-Currents in California Water: A Case Study of Bureaucracy Versus Tradable, Private Water Rights.






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