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 upon 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. [View Original Press Release]
As of March 30, 2016, 122 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 March 2016, inmates granted early prison release include:
Anthony Zamarron – In 2008, Zamarron got into an argument with a man and proceeded to smash a glass bottle over the victim’s head, causing him to lose consciousness. He then choked his unconscious victim. When the victim’s female friend tried to stop the attack, Zamarran struck her in the face and head. Zamarran was convicted of felony assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury and misdemeanor battery. He was sentenced to 2 years in prison—which he did not fully serve. Under the current legal definition of ‘violent felony,’ assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury does not qualify. Zamarron was arrested just over a year later while he was on both probation and parole in 2009 for his violent strike offense of first-degree robbery. In that case, Zamarron and a friend bound the victim with duct tape and demanded he give them money. When the victim did not comply, Zamarron struck the victim in the back and head with a hammer multiple times before the victim was able to reach his phone and call 911 for help. Zamarron received a 4 year prison sentence for this violent offense. In 2005, he was convicted on weapons charges. Amongst his other notable convictions, which do not qualify as ‘violent offenses,’ is his 2004 felony conviction of recklessly attempting to evade arrest under circumstances likely to cause great bodily harm or death while driving a vehicle. In his current committing offense, Zamarron violated the privacy and financial security of more than 50 individuals. He was found to be in possession of their personal identifying information, including everything from bank account numbers to driver’s licenses. He was convicted of felony ID theft of 10 or more people and sentenced to 4 years in prison in June 2014. Opposition Letter
Robert William Adams – Adams has a 2008 strike conviction for first-degree residential burglary. In that offense, Adams went to the home of a mentally disabled classmate. When the victim opened the door, Adams pushed his way into the apartment and began taking items of value, knowing his disabled peer could not stop him. Adams then demanded the victim go with him to the bank so the victim could withdraw money for Adams to purchase methamphetamine. When the terrified victim refused, Adams brutally assaulted him and then ripped the phone cord from the wall before he left. The victim suffered mental and physical damage from the incident, and a significant increase in seizures. Adams was sentenced to 5 years, 8 months in prison for this violent assault. Adams’ other past convictions include second-degree burglary, multiple vehicle thefts, and ID theft. In his current committing offense, Adams recklessly attempted to evade officers who tried to stop him for driving a stolen car. Adams lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the side of a home. Determined not to get caught, he exited the vehicle and took off on foot. He was eventually apprehended with the help of a K9 unit. Officers also found more than 17 grams of methamphetamine in Adams’ possession along with a loaded firearm. He was convicted of vehicle theft, possession of methamphetamine while armed with a loaded firearm and evading officers with wanton and willful disregard for public safety and sentenced to 9 years, 4 months in prison. Opposition Letter
Michael Charter – Charter has a 2013 strike conviction for committing battery causing great bodily injury when he was in prison. In that case, Charter participated in an unprovoked, ruthless group beat down of another inmate, who was targeted because he did not want to associate with the white pride gangs. Charter and two other inmates repeatedly punched and kicked the victim in the face. The victim was knocked unconscious, suffered several lacerations to his face, and sustained two orbital fractures. Charter was sentenced to 2 years in prison for this attack. In 2001, Charter was convicted of assault and battery in the state of Virginia. In 2005, he was convicted of burglary in Virginia. In 2009, he was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. In that case, Charter pushed his then girlfriend onto a bed, slapped her, pulled her hair and head-butted her several times during an argument. While on probation for that offense, he failed to enroll in the Batterer’s Treatment Program as ordered by the court. He was convicted of 4 more felonies from 2011 to 2013. Charter committed his current offense while on parole for his prior strike offense. He was caught driving a stolen car that had another car’s license plate and was in possession of several shaved keys. He was sentenced to 2 years, 8 months in prison. Opposition Letter
The Early Prison Releases webpage can be found at www.sacda.org/early prison releases.
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