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California court: Sex offenders can qualify for early parole

Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
Posted at 3:52 PM, Dec 28, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that inmates convicted of nonviolent sex crimes cannot be denied a chance at early parole consideration under a ballot measure approved by nearly two-thirds of voters four years ago.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown, who championed the 2016 initiative as a way to reduce prison populations and costs by speeding chances for parole, has repeatedly said he and other proponents never intended for it to cover sex offenders.

But lower appeals courts ruled that the plain language of the initiative means they cannot be excluded from consideration as nonviolent offenders, and the high court agreed.