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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 September 30, 2016, 167 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 September 2016, inmates granted early prison release include:
Reginald Leroy Byrd (Case #07F04200) – In 2007, a husband and wife were delivering newspapers for the Sacramento Bee. When the couple got out of the car to drop off papers, Byrd jumped into their car. The husband grabbed on to the hood and pleaded with Byrd to get out of the car. Byrd instead accelerated forward with the victim hanging on to the windshield wipers for dear life. Byrd then intentionally swerved violently until the victim flew off of the car onto the hard pavement. Byrd was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and vehicle theft. He was also found to have a prior strike conviction and six prior prison sentences. Byrd had been released on parole just 16 days before committing these current offenses. The 19 year prison sentence Byrd received reflects the danger he poses. Byrd has a prior strike conviction for a 1987 residential burglary. While pending court on the residential burglary case, Byrd demanded money from a female family member. When she refused, Byrd knocked her down and stole a stereo. When officers arrived, Byrd crashed into their vehicles as they tried to stop him from driving away. A high speed chase ensued, putting the officers and the public at risk. In this case, Byrd pled to felony grand theft from the person and was committed to state prison for both offenses in 1989. After being released from prison, Byrd has reoffended and was sent back to prison multiple times for felony convictions including vehicle theft, possession of a controlled substance and grand theft. In 1995, Byrd was again convicted of grand theft from a person, where he held a gun to his victim’s back and stole $10 from his pocket while an accomplice threatened the victim. Byrd also violated parole 11 times over his extensive criminal past and is known to have gang ties to the Oak Park Bloods. Opposition Letter
Allen Noble (Case #14F04340) – In 1998 at the age of 17, Noble was arrested for attempted murder. Charged as an adult, that attempted murder case resulted in a California Youth Authority commitment and a strike offense. While incarcerated, Noble committed an assault on a non-inmate and was sentenced to an additional 2 years in state prison. Noble was paroled in 2005, but was soon arrested and convicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He received another state prison sentence for a term of 1 year and 4 months. After Noble was released from this prison term, he violated parole in 2008 and was again arrested and convicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2009. Noble received yet another state prison sentence for a term of 4 years. In 2013, Noble was found to be in the company of another Varrio Franklin Boulevard Norteno and both admitted being affiliated with the gang. In the present commitment offense, Noble possessed a stolen loaded firearm in a vehicle and stated, “He got the gun from a friend for free and he would only use it for protection.” Noble was convicted yet again for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Noble’s 18-year dangerous criminal history includes multiple felony convictions and prison commitments, interspersed with a number of parole violations. Opposition Letter
John Trotter (Case #15F04232) – In June 2000, Trotter violently assaulted his girlfriend, pushing her around and punching her in the face while she held her 8-month-old baby. The victim was left bleeding from her nose and mouth. Trotter was convicted of felony domestic violence for this assault. After being released from jail in June 2001, Trotter was arrested and convicted for a number of drug possession, theft, and vehicle theft charges. In August 2005, Trotter was found to have been driving a stolen vehicle. When officers attempted to handcuff Trotter, he made a run for it. He was located soon after and admitted he ran because he was a wanted parolee with active warrants for his arrest. Narcotics paraphernalia were found in the stolen vehicle and officers later learned that Trotter had stolen a second vehicle earlier that day. Trotter was convicted of felony vehicle theft and misdemeanor resisting arrest, and received a sentence of 3 years in state prison. In October 2006, Trotter was found to have a significant amount of methamphetamine (meth) and a scale in his possession. He was convicted of felony possession of narcotics and sentenced to 2 years in state prison. In June 2010, officers responded to an attempted burglary after a young girl caught Trotter and a validated Norteno gang member trying to break into her house. Trotter ran to a nearby school campus in an attempt to evade arrest, but was soon detained by the school resource officer. A loaded firearm and burglary tools were found in Trotter’s vehicle and surrounding area. Trotter was convicted of first-degree burglary, and was sentenced to 2 years in state prison. After serving just a portion of his 2 year sentence, Trotter was released and soon arrested for possession of meth. He was convicted of misdemeanor possession of narcotics, and was sentenced to 270 days in county jail. Following his release from jail, Trotter was quickly re-arrested when he was found in possession of a stolen debit card, individualized baggies of meth, heroin, and brass knuckles with spikes on them. Trotter pled to felony possession of a controlled substance for sale, and was sentenced to 32 months in state prison. After his release from prison, Trotter was convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence of meth. Just four days after being released from jail for a parole hold, Trotter was found to be in possession of a sawed-off shotgun and ammunition. Trotter was convicted in 2015 of this current commitment offense of being a felon in possession of a firearm. This is the second strike conviction Trotter is currently serving. Opposition Letter
The Early Prison Releases webpage can be found at www.sacda.org/early prison releases.
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