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Abuse of Discretion - StevenDarbyMcdonald.com

Click Here 

 to download Justice Works' Full PowerPoint Presentation

"Reforming Washington's 3-Strikes Laws" which includes

the  Honorable Judge Richard Sanders' 2010 Sentencing Guidelines Recommendation

 

 

 
 
 
WHY WEREN’T THE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY WA/DOC SECRETARY JOE LEHMAN
AND SENTENCING GUIDELINES COMMISSION CHAIR DAVE BOERNER 10 YEARS AGO
TO STAVE OFF THE THEN-PREDICTED BUDGET CRISIS FOLLOWED?
© 2012 Steven Darby McDonald
 
1.     The reason why won’t be a surprise to many people. It’s because the powerful prison guards union and special interests who influence and control a majority of the Washington State legislators, whose prison building projects they build, were constructed or owned by companies they or their friends had a controlling interest in or were located within their districts.
 
2.     To get to the bottom of this scandal and see who received what from who, use Washington’s Public Disclosure Law codified under RCW 42.56 et seq. Directions on how to use this statute to uncover the truth can be found on this site by clicking on the Public Disclosure tab.
 
3.     Now their proverbial house of cards has fallen on top of them, gone along with all your assets and your quality of life. These things are slowly being replaced with feelings of helplessness and dread deep in the pit of your stomach as you look around and see the decay taking place everywhere. If you’d like to go to a public park, be prepared to pay $10 a day, if you can still find one open. Social services are almost non-existent, as shown by the Governor’s announcement of yet another Special Session on November 29, 2011 and a shortfall of $1.7 billion, most to be cut from your social service security net.
 
4.     Occupy movements are sprouting up across the state and our country. Occupy Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellingham are getting the message out that the corporations control the politician and judges to do their bidding at our expense. All these corporate criminals care about is profits, and they’re responsible for the enactment of the three-strike legislation (which sends petty criminals to prison for life and enhances crimes above their original offense definition to fit them into strike categories), including the bankrolling of the initiative process and reaping of profits from the largest prison construction boom and WA/DOC expansion in the state’s history which has caused or at least contributed to your and your family’s present financial situation.
 
5.     Now you owe them a debt of gratitude that must be repaid. They must be exposed using their own records to show their culpability in bringing about this calamity. This site clearly explains how to do this and the facts you can use.
 
6.     Please review each page of the following documents carefully, and see the comments and recommendations that were made by the above professionals back in November of 2001, pointing out that a financial nightmare was just around the corner if the Washington State Legislature did not act quickly and reverse the path the guards’ union and the special interests were pushing them down, by their creation of mass incarceration for all types of inconsequential crimes at tax payers’ expense.
 
7.     Glaring examples of this exist everywhere if you only know how to look for it and where to look for it. The Revised Code of Washington has sought to criminalize non-incarceration offenses just to incarcerate people to have bodies in the WA/DOC which will require the construction of new prisons and the hiring of new prison guards. Page 10 of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission Report, MOTION #892, allows a person to be incarcerated (at taxpayers’ expense) if they fail to pay their restitution. But how many of you know that for every day you serve in jail your fine is reduced? If you stay in jail for several months you will totally eliminate your restitution, while many guards are required to monitor you, costing the tax payers millions of dollars.
 
8.     How many people believe crack smokers, meth cooks, or winos pay their fines? Hopefully not too many that are reading this. And Washington’s prison guards’ union and related special interests sure know it. And knows it’s good for business. Their business. It’s good to have lots of people incarcerated so they can watch over them. And do so at your expense. So that’s why they want as many people as possible in prison or in jails on their way to prison. It’s good for business.
 
9.     Prison is a business. It needs warm bodies to make a profit. No “rehabilitation” whatsoever takes place inside a prison. They gutted all these programs they once had, claiming the costs were prohibitive, years ago before this financial nightmare began. Why rehabilitate when you can re-incarcerate for profit? Less bodies means less money and work for the guards and less room required to house prisoners (i.e. the closure of prison facilities). This is why, according to the Washington Sentencing Guidelines Report dated 2010, Washington has a “74% recidivism rate.”

10.Many of the cost-saving measures proposed by the above experts had originally been passed and were waiting final formal vote. Like the one on page 8 of the Sentencing Commission Report, Motion #887, that reads: “PASSED unanimously.” This cost-cutting proposal would have saved Washington state taxpayers millions and millions of dollars because it specifically removed Second Degree Robbery from the Three-Strike Offense List as either a predicate triggering offense or an offense at conviction. This would prohibit a criminal defendant from being sentenced as a three-strike candidate using a Second Degree Robbery.
 
11.Yet despite unanimously passing, this bill was nixed by special interests who had a vested interest in ensuring that the Washington State prison system grew as large as possible, so many new workers would be needed to watch over its population.
 
12. An artificial population created by greedy fat cats in Olympia and financially backed by the guards union that was hell bent on doing whatever they could to create jobs for their members – at the expense of the Washington state taxpayer!
 
13. All your senators and all your representatives were fully informed of the results of this Commission’s report. A report that uses “budget crisis” numerous times to describe what’s in store for the future of Washington State if these changes were not implemented. But their voices of logic and reason were ignored by the high pressure and dollar signs of the guards’ union and special interests, whose only interests were greed and their families’ wellbeing.  
 
14. Armed with this Sentencing Guidelines Commission Report from over 10 years ago, now is the time to find out exactly why they failed to follow these experts’ advice. Give them the chance to respond and defend themselves in the face of these facts. Ask them for a list of their assets and holdings they are required to disclose before taking office, vis-à-vis their current worth and financial holdings. Request a copy of their salary. Ask them to take a pay cut. Ask them why they and their friends own stock in the same companies that fabricated the buildings that were used to build Washington’s prisons. And then why they voted this way or that way.
 
15.It’s time they’re held accountable for this financial disaster they helped create because of their avarice. Fax them and email them this information and demand an accounting. File formal complaints, grievances, tort claims and civil suits against them if they don’t. What has happened to you financially is not an act of God as they want you to believe. Nor has it occurred in every other state in the union. Not the ones that know how to hold their government accountable for wrongdoing.
 
16.When Christine Gregoire was elected governor we had a billion dollar surplus. Right off the bat she gave herself and all the legislators a raise to buy their silence for the spending spree she was about to embark on. Who complains or raises their voice in opposition when the magic wand is waived?

17.Now, we’ve gone from a one billion dollar surplus to a 5.5 billion dollar deficit that she is personally responsible for, and attempting to simply explain away as “a loss of revenue due to a declining job market.” When nothing could be further from the truth. It’s all her fault because of her building and spending practices at the behest of big business which she calls her “constituents.” Now to save face on her way out, she is demanding that you pony up and correct all her mistakes by voting for a new state sales tax increase. The ultimate slap in the face to the population of the state whose sales tax is almost the highest in the country.

18.When are the State’s citizens going to stop believing what “propped up” politicians tell them when squarely confronted with the facts?
 
 
Please contact me for more information on these issues. Thank you.
 
© 2012 Steven Darby McDonald
 
 
 
 
 
SENTENCING GUIDELINES COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 2, 2001
 
DRAFT
 
Dave Boerner said the sentencing charges that Joe Lehman has identified for reaching the required budget cuts are areas that the Commission has identified for changes; Changing Drug Sentences from a Level VIII to a Level VI and returning to a single scoring rather than a triple scoring. Mr. Boerner pointed out drug changes, which included a new “drug grid” (see Attachment B). He indicated that a new grid could simplify sentencing and broaden the ranges in order to reach the savings. The second major sentencing change would be to expand “earned release” from one-third to 50 percent for all property and drug offenses. Mr. Boerner said the savings from these two major sentencing provisions could be used for alternatives in the community, but the budget crisis makes this unlikely at this time. He said the members should identify good policy but also identify where cuts can be made if the budget crisis makes that necessary.
 
DISCUSSION OF SRA REVIEW DRAFT REPORT
 
B.       Alternatives to Incarceration for Nonviolent Offenders
 
The members discussed alternatives to incarceration. Restricting liability to those situations where there is actual misconduct or recklessness was debated at length. Mr. Lehman said there are some parts of state government that are simply risky business, and no one in the private sector would engage in that type of business. He added that the idea that it is possible to control the actions of a third party who has demonstrated that he/she is able to harm someone is ludicrous. There needs to be some statement of what is expected.
 
Cyrus Vance suggested that the Legislature examine limiting liability or redefining liability. John Austin suggested that the Legislature define parameters of public duty to those situations where there is actual misconduct. Ms. Knapp indicated that the issue of liability is a barrier to the use of alternatives, and a standard should be established to eliminate that barrier.
 

MOTION #876
THAT THE COMMISSION ENDORCE JUSTICE TALMADGE’S 1999 QUOTE FOUND IN THE REPORT.
Moved:          Donohue
Seconded:  Place
PASSED    Unanimously

 
Kay Knapp pointed out that there is ample legislative authority for the use of alternatives in the state of Washington. There are two primary impediments to their development and use: lack of funds and liability. Pre-trial detention was also mentioned as a reason that alternatives are not being given.
 

MOTION #877
WITH ANY SENTENCING LEGISLATION THAT REDUCES STATE AND LOCAL COSTS, THE SAVINGS SHOULD BE REINVESTED TO PRUDENT COST-EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS IN THE COMMUNITY.
Moved:          Van Wagenen
Seconded:  Lehman
PASSED    Unanimously

 
 
C.       Proliferation of Drug Sentences
 
The Commission members agreed to change the title Proliferation of Drug Sentences to EXPANSION of Drug Sentences.
 
Dave Boerner directed the members the attachment entitled Drug Sentencing Grid DATA Assumptions (see Attachment D). Judge Gain suggested that all multiple scoring be eliminated. Penalties can be raised if needed.
 

MOTION #878
THAT THE COMMISSION RECOMMEND THAT SINGLE SCORING BE USED FOR ALL DRUGS.
Moved:          Gain
Seconded:  Donohue
PASSED    with Place and Nagle voting NO.

 

MOTION #879
THAT ALL THREE DRUG PROPOSAL OPTIONS BE SUBMITTED TO THE LEGISLATURE, AND THAT THE DRUG GRID BE RECOMMENDED, WITH THE SUGGESTION THAT ANY SAVINGS REALIZED BE APPLIED TO TREATMENT.
Moved:          Lehman
Seconded:  
PASSED    Unanimously

 

MOTION #880
THAT A UNIFORM JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE FORM BE MODIFIED TO INCLUDE THE PRIMARY TYPE(S) OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE INVOLVED IN AN OFFENSE, AND THAT ITS USE BE IMPLEMENTED UNIFORMLY ACROSS THE STATE.
Moved:          Nagle
Seconded:  Lehman
PASSED    Unanimously

 

MOTION #881
THAT THE COMMISSION RECOMMEND THAT DOUBLE SCORING OF BURGLARY BE ELIMINATED.
Moved:          Donohue
Seconded:  Calvin
PASSED    with Nagle and Place voting NO

 
 
D.       Disproportionality
 
Mr. Boerner explained that the disproportionality section explains that disproportionality exists but the sentencing structure does not produce the problem. Therefore, there will be no recommendation.
 
 
E.       Capacity
 
Options for Reducing Prison and Jail Populations
 
Dave Boerner suggested that the Commission discuss the series of options recommended to the Legislature for consideration and prioritize the series of options for reducing criminal justice costs. He referred the members to the option of increasing prison “good time” from one/third to 50 percent for nonviolent offenses. Mr. Lehman explained that the term is earned release and it must be earned. Mr. Lehman explained that those convicted of sex offenses and serious violent offenses currently receive up to 15 percent earned release time. Joe Hawe said that earned release is mandatory in jails. He explained that five days of “good time” is given for every 30 days served. He suggested that an extra five days of “good time” be extended for use at the local level.
 
Dave Boerner said the Commission is proposing these options because they are good policy and because the Legislature has asked the Commission to have recommendations that help balance the budget, are consistent with currently authorized rated and operational capacity, and are consistent with the purposes of the Sentencing Reform Act.
 
Dave Boerner said all of these proposals need to be retroactive to help with the budget crisis. He said there should be a grid showing the savings in FY 2004 to FY 2005. With the increase in earned release time and the reduction of sentence ranges for property crimes, a number of beds could be saved. However, several Commission members had a problem with the increase in “earned release” time.
 
Dave Boerner indicated that the options listed in the report need to be prioritized. He commented that options f and g were already recommendations to the Legislature. The members suggested voting on the options.
 

MOTION #882
THAT THE COMMISSION ADOPT COMBINING OPTIONS REDUCING SENTENCE RANGES FOR NONVIOLENT OFFENSES BY 20 PERCENT AND REDUCING THE “PRISON THREHOLD” FROM 12+ MONTHS TO 9+ MONTHS AS OPTION A.
Moved:          Nagle
Seconded:  Place
PASSED    Unanimously

 

MOTION #883
THAT THE COMMISSION ADOPT REDUCING SENTENCE RANGES FOR NONVIOLENT PROPERTY OFFENSES BY 20 PERCENT AS AN OPTION.
Moved:          Nagle
Seconded:  Lehman
FAILED     with four in favor, Place, Hawe, and Gain voting NO.

 

MOTION #884
THAT THE COMMISSION ADOPT REDUCING THE “PRISON THRESHOLD” FROM 12+ MONTHS TO 9+ MONTHS AS AN OPTION.
Moved:          Nagle
Seconded:  Lehman
PASSED    with seven voting yes and four against

 

MOTION #885
THAT THE COMMISSION ADOPT AS AN OPTION REMOVING ASSAULT 2 FROM AMONG THE OFFENSES TRIGGERING PERSISTANT OFFENDER SENTENCES.
Moved:          Nagle
Seconded:  Calvin
FAILED

 
The members were troubled with the definition of assault with some believing that there was no statutory definition of Assault. Judge Gain suggested that the definition of Assault 2 that would make a person eligible for a “strike” needs to be defined.
 

MOTION #886
THAT THE COMMISSION SUGGEST RANKING ROBBERY OF A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION AS A ROBBERY 1 RATHER THAN ROBBERY 2.
Moved:          Gain
Seconded:  Hawe
PASSED    Unanimously

 

MOTION #887
THAT THE COMMISSION ADOPT THE OPTION OF REMOVING ROBBERY 2 FROM AMONG THE OFFENSES TRIGGERING PERSISTANT OFFENDER SENTENCES.
Moved:          Nagle
Seconded:  Austin
PASSED    Unanimously

 

MOTION #888
THAT THE COMMISSION RECOMMEND TO THE LEGISLATURE THAT LOCAL JAILS HAVE THE STATUTORY OPTION OF ADDING AN ADDITIONAL FIVE DAYS OF EARNED RELEASE.
Moved:          Hawe
Seconded:  Gain
PASSED    Unanimously

 

MOTION #889
THAT THE COMMISSION ADOPT THE OPTION TO INCREASE COMMUNITY SERVICE EXCHANGE FOR MAIL TIME FROM A MAXIMUM OF 30 DAYS TO 90 DAYS.
Moved:          Austin
Seconded:  Gall-Martin
PASSED    Unanimously

 
The members agreed not to recommend the option of prohibiting consecutive sentences in jail.
 
Dave Boerner referred the members to Washington State Department of Corrections Year-End Inmate Population and Operational Capacity Fiscal Years 1990 through 2006. He suggested an option of reducing property offenses by whatever percent is necessary to achieve operational capacity.
 

MOTION #890
THAT THE LEGISLATURE USE THE OPTION OF REDUCING PROPERTY OFFENSES BY 20 PERCENT OR WHATEVER PERCENT IS NECESSARY TO REACH OPERATIONAL CAPACITY.
Moved:          Nagle
Seconded:  Donohue
PASSED    with Place voting NO

 
 
F.       Regionalization
 
The Commission members voted to accept the recommendation that the state and local governments add regional corrections capacity to the current system, with the four features listed in the draft report.
 

MOTION #891
THAT THE COMMISSION RECOMMEND TO THE LEGISLATURE THAT STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ADD REGIONAL CORRECTIONS CAPATCITY TO THE CURRENT SYSTEM.
Moved:          Hawe
Seconded:  Place
PASSED    Unanimously

 
 
G.       Monetary Sanctions
 
Judge Gain suggested recouping fines/restitution/victim penalty assessments through a civil process rather than incarceration. He reiterated that unrealistic monetary sanctions are potentially counter-productive, beyond the financial means of many offenders, prolong efforts to pay debts to society, and adversely impact the offender’s reintegration into the community.
 

MOTION #892
THAT LEGISLATURE REMOVE INCARCERATION AS AN OPTION FOR FAILURE TO PAY LEGAL/FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AND PROVIDE A COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM OF MEANINGFUL RESTITUTION.
Moved:          Gain
Seconded:  Gall-Martin
PASSED    with Nagle voting NO

 
 
H.       Juvenile Justice Issues
 
The members adopted the youthful Offender Sentencing Alternative as a recommendation to the Legislature at the October 12, 2001 meeting.
 
ADJOURNMENT
 
The meeting was adjourned at 2:50 p.m.
 
APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE SENTENCING GUIDELINES COMMISSION.
 
 
 
__________________________________                    __________________________
Dave Boerner, Chair                                                                       Date
 
 
__________________________________                    __________________________
Ida Rudolph Leggett, Executive Director                               Date