Monday, February 9, 2009

Free At Last. Free At Last

Judges order state to free thousands of inmates.

Outrageous. That's the only word to describe three judges ordering the release of tens of thousands of inmates because the California prison system itself, especially the prison health services, is supposedly "unconstitutional" for being cruel and unusual punishment. 

That's a joke right? Jerry Brown himself is arguing against this. Jerry Brown! He's the progressive's progressive; a true blue liberal. If Jerry Brown says the prisons are OK, that's good enough for me. 

These judges on the other hand...words fail. They would really release so many thousands of criminals out on to the streets? They would be willing to risk a dramatic increase in crime and chaos to satisfy some idealized vision of the perfect prison hospital? 

This is a perfect storm of legal issues that have launched a thousand preachy bumperstickers. The legal left in California has complained vociferously about prison constructions for 20 years. They have wailed incessantly about the sentencing guidelines that supposedly "tie the judge's hands" (because so many in the past let people off with the proverbial slap on the wrist). They have complained about the 3-strikes law that ended the revolving door of recidivist inmates. And, they have complained about the "law and order" policies that have been immensely popular in CA, even as CA has gone from Reagan country to Obama land. This attempted mass liberation of prisoners is Christmas in February for this crowd. 

I really hope this turns into a constitutional crisis with the governor and AG Brown refusing to obey any order to release inmates on these grounds. An independent judiciary is part of the constitutional scheme, but not when the judiciary has become a rogue body that no longer acts for the good of all Californians, just the ones who commit crimes.  

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