Dem senator introduces bill that will allow California’s worst criminals to be released after serving 20 years in prison
By Arsenio Toledo // Apr 17, 2023

A bill introduced in the California State Legislature would allow the state's worst criminals – those sentenced to death or life without parole – to walk out of prison if they have already served 20 years.

The bill, Senate Bill 94, was authored by Democratic Sen. Dave Cortese, who is known for writing a prior bill that would have decreased the punishment for knowingly infecting someone with HIV. (Related: More people are rapidly leaving crime-ridden, high-cost cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago.)

SB 94 specifies that criminals convicted of murder with special circumstances before June 5, 1990 and sentenced to death or life without parole will have the opportunity to speak with a public defender about petitioning the state for recall and resentencing.

The bill provides courts with the judicial discretion to modify the sentences of successful petitioners. This means criminals could be given lesser sentences, recent changes to laws could be applied to their sentences, or in other instances, their sentences could be vacated entirely.

Criminals who could be beneficiaries of this measure, if it passes, include people convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances. These include murderers who killed multiple people and murderers who killed in concert with another heinous crime like rape, robbery, kidnapping or torture.

SB 94 already has five other co-authors attached to the bill, all Democrats, two of whom are in the State Assembly and the other three are in the State Senate.

Bill heavily criticized by both liberals and conservatives

Fortunately, SB 94 has been widely panned not just by Republicans, but by Democrats as well.

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"It is a slap in the face to victims who were told that these people would go away for life without the possibility of parole," said State Assembly Minority Leader James Gallagher, who also serves as vice chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Gallagher added that the bill is part of an incremental push to empty out the state's prisons, which first began when state Democrats opposed the death penalty.

The death penalty still technically exists in the state, but no one has been put to death in the state in 17 years. In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a moratorium on executions in the state, but over 600 inmates still remain on death row.

"And with California's track record right now, these are [the] people who are going to end up being released, [those] who committed murders, rapes, unfathomable crimes against Californians," added Gallagher. "It's a dangerous and unthinkable policy."

Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles Jonathan Hatami said the state politicians who support this bill "should really be ashamed of themselves."

"I'm a Democrat, and I'm 100 percent against this. I'm also a dad and a caring human being," said Hatami. "People who brutally torture and murder children should not be released. Period. That's inhumane to all the children who can't fight for themselves."

Kathy Cady, a California lawyer and former prosecutor, argued that SB 94 is a "slap in the face to victims and their families." Furthermore, the proposal could be in violation of Marsy's Law, the California Victims' Bill of Rights of 2008, which guarantees the rights of victims in the state.

If the resentencing process is done without the opportunity for the criminals' victims to be heard, it would be a violation of their rights under Marsy's Law, which stipulates that victims have a right to be heard at sentencing and resentencing hearings.

"Victims of crime are entitled to finality in their criminal cases," said Cady. "This prolonged suffering of crime victims and their families must come to an end."

Find the latest news coming out of the so-called Golden State at

Watch this clip from Fox Business as anchor Guy Benson discusses why liberal cities are facing skyrocketing crime waves.

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