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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 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 April 29, 2016, 125 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 April 2016, inmates granted early prison release include:
Ralph Vincent Munoz – Munoz has a 2005 strike offense for manslaughter. In that case, Munoz was driving crazily on surface streets at 60 to 70 mph with his friend and cousin in the car. His friend pleaded with him to slow down but Munoz refused. He then hit a speed bump and the car flipped over, ejecting his friend and cousin. Instead of staying at the scene of the horrible crash he caused to aid or give comfort to his cousin and dying friend, Munoz was concerned only for himself and fled the scene. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison for the manslaughter conviction and was paroled in September 2007. He was arrested just over one year later for abusing his girlfriend, who is the mother of his children. With the children watching, Munoz gave her a black eye and kicked her in the head, causing her to bleed. Whenever Munoz got angry with his girlfriend, he threatened to kill her and the children. He was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence and went back to prison. After being paroled again in May 2009, Munoz was convicted of a misdemeanor for violating a domestic violence restraining order a few years later. Next, he was convicted and served time for driving on a suspended or revoked license and driving above the speed limit on a highway. In December 2014, he was convicted for his current offense of felony drunk driving on a suspended or revoked license. In this case, a security guard reported a possible drunk driver. He saw Munoz driving at a high rate of speed in a private parking lot and then hit a stop sign. A test of his blood alcohol about two hours later was .15. While in jail for this offense, Munoz received serious write-ups for a number of things, including unauthorized possession of medication and unauthorized possession of prison wine, known as “pruno.” Opposition Letter
Jacare James Gormon – Gormon has a 2012 strike offense for terroristic threats. In that case, Gormon and the victim were married, but had not been living together for quite some time. In July 2011, Gormon entered the victim’s house without her knowledge or permission. Gormon was angry at the victim for lying to him. The victim stated Gormon kicked her 20 to 30 times in the face, head and stomach. He took her cell phone and told her that if she called 911 he would “kill her.” The victim stated she tried to get out of the house, but Gormon dragged her back into the house and locked the door. Gormon kicked the victim and broke two wooden chairs over the top of her head. The victim was eventually able to escape from Gormon and seek help at a neighbor’s house. Gormon was sentenced to 3 years prison. In 2008, Gormon led law enforcement on a high-speed car chase. Gormon reached speeds of 80 mph through intersections, stop signs and red lights, with no regard for approaching vehicles and children who were attempting to cross the street. Gormon came within 5 feet of the children. Gormon’s vehicular flight was such a danger to public safety that officers were forced to cancel the ground pursuit – which was only resumed shortly before Gormon ditched the auto and fled on foot. He was apprehended and convicted of felony evading an officer with willful disregard for human safety. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison. Gormon also has prior drug use, and illegal possession of firearms convictions and has a number of parole violations. Opposition Letter
Henry Andrew Moore – Moore’s current committing second strike offense is for the 2014 residential burglary of a home that was occupied by a 73-year-old woman. Moore cut a screen, entered the eldery woman’s home, and stole her purse. With her cell phone inside of the purse, officers were able to track her phone and find Moore. For this offense, Moore received 4 years in state prison. When the plea was negotiated, it was anticipated by both sides that he would have to serve eighty percent of that time before being released back to society. Moore’s first strike offense was a 2002 robbery he committed in Yolo County. Between these two strike convictions are a number of additional offenses and convictions that span the past 17 years. They include vehicle thefts, felony evading officers, drug-related offenses, burglaries and possession of stolen property. Opposition Letter
The Early Prison Releases webpage can be found at www.sacda.org/early prison releases.
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