In January 2015, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) began a new parole determination process, evaluating “non-violent second-strikers” for early parole. If early release is granted, they are released after serving only 50% of their sentences. Under existing law, they would otherwise have to serve 80% of their sentences before being eligible for parole.
Upon receipt of inmate names from CDCR with a recommendation for release, the Board of Parole Hearings [BPH] conducts an administrative review to determine if the inmate should be released early from prison as a ‘non-violent second-striker.’ BPH forwards the names of these eligible inmates to District Attorneys’ offices and invites input in making their determination about the inmate’s potential early release. Unlike parole hearings, where the prosecution, defense attorney and victim may appear, there is no public hearing for these administrative reviews. Rather, the decision is made purely by CDCR administrative staff. Additionally, prior to consideration for early release, no evidence-based “risk assessment” is conducted to determine if the inmate poses a danger to the public.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office takes an active role in evaluating these cases and writes letters to the Board with an overview of the inmate’s criminal history and current commitment offense, an opinion regarding the public safety risk posed by the inmate, and the appropriateness of an offender’s early release. The Board determines whether an offender would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety based on their prior criminal history, facts behind their current commitment offense, behavior in prison, rehabilitation efforts, whether the inmate has any medical condition which might affect his ability to re-offend, and written statements.
In November 2015, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office began posting on its website information about “non-violent second-strike” offenders who have been granted early release from prison.
As of January 31, 2017, 196 inmates sentenced from Sacramento County have been granted early prison releases. Given the number of violent offenders who continue to be granted early release, DA Anne Marie Schubert began monthly updates to provide the public with a sampling of the noteworthy criminals who appear to pose a risk to public safety, but are being granted early release into our community as ‘non-violent second-strikers.’
In the month of December 2016 and January 2017, inmates granted early prison release include:
Eric Jeffrey Nelson (Case #14F03928) – Nelson’s first strike conviction was in 2008. In that case, Nelson got into an argument with the victim and yelled racial slurs at him. Nelson then advanced towards the victim with a knife in his hand. The victim was seated in his car and rolled-up his window to prevent Nelson from using the knife against him. Nelson then called a gang associate to help in the assault. Nelson and his associate were both in possession of knives and threatened the victim until bystanders intervened. Nelson pled to assault with a deadly weapon and a gang enhancement. In 2011, Nelson was convicted of his second strike in Nevada. In that case, the victim was a rival gang member who was found stabbed. Law enforcement located Nelson with the knife, which still had the victim’s blood on it. Nelson was convicted again for assault with a deadly weapon, this time causing great bodily injury, and a gang enhancement. He received a 24 to 60 month prison sentence. After being released from prison, Nelson returned to California and was still on probation for his 2008 conviction. All of Nelson’s crimes since 2008 have been committed while on probation or parole. In June 2014, Nelson committed his current offense of hit and run causing death. Nelson was driving down a road and hit the victim, who was walking in the middle of the roadway. Nelson fled the scene of the accident without stopping to check on the victim or call for help. Instead, he parked his car down the street and fled from the vehicle. The victim died a few hours later at a hospital. When law enforcement tracked Nelson down a few days later, he admitting he observed the damage on his vehicle and knew the victim must have been badly injured. Nelson received a sentence of 6 years in prison for this offense. Opposition Letter
Marcus Brogdon (Case #15F05542) – Brogdon has a 2009 strike conviction for robbery. In that case, Brogdon and two accomplices targeted a female robbery victim in a parking lot. When one of the accomplices was unsuccessful at snatching the victim’s purse, Brogdon grabbed the victim’s purse from her shoulder. The victim did not let go of her purse and neither did Brogdon. Instead, Brogdon pulled the victim into his getaway car while the car began to drive away, dragging the victim who was still part way inside of the car. Brogdon and his other accomplice began hitting the victim in the face until she let go of her purse and they were able to get away. In September 2015, Brogdon was riding a motorcycle when an officer noticed his motorcycle had expired registration. Brogdon had pulled into a driveway, and was seated on the motorcycle when the officer approached him. When the officer asked Brogdon for paperwork, Brogdon turned on his motorcycle, revved his engine and tried to speed away, but lost control of his motorcycle in the process. The motorcycle spun out from under Brogdon and fell on its side. The officer yelled at Brogdon to get down, but Brogdon disobeyed commands and ran away. When he was apprehended, he was found to be in possession of a 9 mm handgun that was loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition, which Brogdon was not permitted to possess because of previous convictions. Additional investigation revealed Brogdon had used meth earlier that day. Brogdon was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm with a prior and driving under the influence of drugs. He received a sentence of 2 years and 8 months in state prison. Brogdon’s criminal history includes several theft and domestic violence convictions. He has been unable to successfully complete any grant of probation or parole without violating or picking up a new criminal offense. Opposition Letter
Aaron Wellington Hudson (Case #15F06287) – Hudson has a prior 2007 strike conviction for assault with a firearm. In that case, Hudson went to McClellan High School where the victim worked as a teacher. When a fight broke out on the school grounds, the victim tried to break up the fight and grabbed one of the subjects off of a student who was being assaulted. Hudson then pulled out a revolver, pointed it directly at the victim’s head, and instructed him to let the subject go. The victim was severely traumatized, stating he did not know if Hudson was going to shoot him. Less than one year after this strike conviction, Hudson was found to be in possession of two loaded semi-automatic handguns, one with an altered serial number as well as cocaine. Hudson was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a controlled substance with a firearm. He received a sentence of 7 years and 8 months in state prison. In October 2015, Hudson was again found to be in possession of a loaded .45 caliber firearm and loaded .45 caliber magazine. Hudson was sentenced to 32 months in state prison. Opposition Letter
The Early Prison Releases webpage can be found at www.sacda.org/early prison releases.
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