Tuesday, March 17, 2009

People v. Williams (Cal. Ct. App. - March 12, 2009)

Here are the facts. Sorry they're so long, but I want you to have the full details. What's the appropriate punishment?

"Appellant was released from state prison on Wednesday, May 24, 2006, on parole after a Madera County conviction of forcible rape in concert. He took an Amtrak train back to Madera and spent his first night after release with a friend. He could stay there only one night, however, because the friend was moving. Within 24 hours of his release, as required, appellant met with parole agent and officer of the day Gloria Chadwick for an initial interview. . . . Chadwick [] personally advised appellant to register within five days under section 290. . . . Chadwick directed appellant to meet with his assigned parole agent, Todd Cregar, on Friday, May 26, 2006. Appellant spent the night of Thursday, May 25, 2006, at the Madera Rescue Mission (the Mission).

On May 26, 2006, appellant met with Agent Cregar and advised Cregar he was staying at the Mission. Appellant had not yet registered with either the police or the sheriff. Cregar directed appellant to register and noted in his parole file that appellant must register by May 31, 2006. Cregar informed appellant that appellant could not remain at the Mission. It was too close to a school to allow for appellant’s residence.

Cregar arranged for appellant to stay at the Casa Grande Motel (the Motel) in Madera. He drove appellant and another parolee to that motel and directed both to register with the Madera Sheriff’s Department since the Motel was located in the County of Madera. Appellant spent that night, Friday, May 26, 2006, at the Motel.

Cregar made a mandatory home visit within five days of placing appellant at the Motel, but appellant was gone from his assigned room and had taken all of his personal belongings with him. Cregar returned another day but appellant was still not present.

Appellant had moved to the home of a cousin in the City of Madera on Saturday, May 27, 2006. He had done so, according to his testimony, because he had been kidnapped and threatened by certain people who came to his room at the Motel. He had escaped but remained afraid of them. He made no attempt to contact Agent Cregar, and he did not register. He remained at the home of his cousin until his arrest on Saturday, June 3, 2006. At that time, he had been out of prison and in Madera for 10 days, not counting the day of his release. He had passed six full working days, not including the day of his release, in Madera. . . . Appellant . . . [thus]failed to register within the 'five working days' specified in section 290."

There you have it. Arrested on Day 6 for not registering by Day 5. What's the appropriate penalty?

What'd he get here? 26 years to life. Which the Court of Appeal affirms, and the law's so bad that the attorney doesn't even raise a cruel and unusual punishment argument.

What do you think? Justice?