California Proposition 6, Penalties for Gang-Related Crimes (2008)
Proposition 6, if it had been approved, would have made a number of changes to California's criminal justice laws, particularly with regard to gang-related crimes and drug crimes. It would have:
- Set a specific requirement of spending levels for some existing criminal justice programs, and for some of the programs that Proposition 6 would have created.
- Increased penalties for certain crimes. The increased penalties would have applied to crimes relating to "gang participation and recruitment, intimidation of individuals involved in court proceedings, possession and sale of methamphetamines, vehicle theft, removing or disabling a GPS device, and firearms possession."
- Changed some state parole policies. The most significant change is that it would have reduced the average parolee caseload of parole agents from about 70 parolees per parole agent to 50 parolees per parole agent.
- Required the state to develop two databases related to gang information for the use of law enforcement agencies.
- Expanded the circumstances under which hearsay evidence is admissible in court, "especially in cases where someone has intimidated or otherwise tampered with a witness."
- Made violation of court-ordered injunctions a new and separate crime punishable by fines, prison, or jail.
- Allowed counties with overcrowded jails to operate temporary jail and treatment facilities to house offenders.
- Prohibited a person charged with a violent or gang-related felony from being released on bail or his or her own recognizance pending trial if he or she is illegally in the United States.
- Expanded the circumstances under which juveniles would be eligible for trial in an adult criminal court, rather than the juvenile court system, for certain gang-related offenses.
|California Proposition 6|
Turnout: 79.4% of registered
Text of measure
The ballot title was:
The official summary provided to describe Proposition 6 said:
- Requires minimum of $965,000,000 each year to be allocated from state General Fund for police, sheriffs, district attorneys, adult probation, jails and juvenile probation facilities. Some of this funding will increase in following years according to California Consumer Price Index.
- Makes approximately 30 revisions to California criminal law, many of which cover gang-related offenses. Revisions create multiple new crimes and additional penalties, some with the potential for new life sentences.
- Increases penalties for violating a gang-related injunction and for felons carrying guns under certain conditions.
- See also: Fiscal impact statement
The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:
- Net increase in state costs that are likely within a few years to exceed $500 million annually, primarily due to increasing state spending for various criminal justice programs to at least $965 million, as well as for increased costs for prison and parole operations. These costs would increase by tens of millions of dollars annually in subsequent years.
- Potential one-time state capital outlay costs for prison facilities that could exceed $500 million due to increases in the prison population.
The name of the official campaign committee supporting Proposition 6 was the Committee to Take Back Our Neighborhoods.
- Mike Reynolds,
- San Bernardino Fourth District Supervisor Gary Ovitt and
- California State Senator George Runner.
- The California State Sheriffs’ Association,
- The California District Attorneys Association,
- The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs
Arguments in favor
Notable arguments made in support of the measure included:
- Creates tougher punishment for gang crimes, drive-by shootings, meth distribution and victim intimidation
- Creates more effective and accountable intervention programs to stop young kids from joining gangs.
- Helps victims who have been intimidated by gang criminals
- It provides additional funds for victim-witness protection programs in our communities.
- Prohibits bail for illegal aliens who are charged with violent or gang crimes.
- Ensures additional funding for local police, sheriff, district attorneys and probation officers.
$1,983,008 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Proposition 6.
Donors of $50,000 or more were:
|Taxpayers for George Runner and George Runner for Senate 2008||$89,000|
|Committee to Elect Gary C. Ovitt||$50,000|
The officially committee opposing Proposition 6 was known as No on Propositions 6 & 9, Communities for Safe Neighborhoods and Fiscal Responsibility.
- California Democratic Party
- The California Professional Firefighters,
- The California Labor Federation,
- Former Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks,
- The California Teachers Association,
- The California National Organization for Women,
- The Los Angeles City Council,
- The League of Women Voters,
- California Church IMPACT
- The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
- The Libertarian Party of California
- The Green Party of California
Notable arguments made in opposition to the measure included:
- It diverts billions from California's schools, hospitals and childcare centers by funding failed prison and policing policies, deepening the state's ongoing budget crisis..
- It targets youth for adult incarceration by deeming any youth 14 years or older who is convicted of a "gang-related" felony must be tried as an adult.
- It Targets poor people by requiring recipients of public housing subsidies to submit to annual criminal background checks and withdrawing the housing subsidies of people with recent criminal convictions.
- It Targets illegal aliens by denying bail to those that are charged with violent or gang-related crimes and requires local sheriffs to inform Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the arrests.
- Individuals who are not affiliated with gangs are listed in gang databases and may be falsely prosecuted under this provision..
Donors of $100,000 or more were:
|California Teachers Association||$955,911|
|California State Council of Service Employees/SEIU||$572,805|
|California Democratic Party||$467,129|
|California Federation of Teachers||$100,000|
"No on 6"
- The Los Angeles Times.
- Pasadena Star News.
- The New York Times, saying, "It recreates the failed criminal justice policies of the past."
Path to the ballot
- See also: California signature requirements
As an initiated state statute, 433,971 signatures were required to qualify Proposition 6 for the ballot.
- Official Voter's Guide to Proposition 6
- PDF of the mailed November 4, 2008 voter guide for Proposition 6
- November 4, 2008 ballot proposition election returns (dead link)
- Proposition 6 in the Smart Voter Guide
- Analysis of Proposition 6 (dead link) from the Institute of Governmental Studies
- Guide to Proposition 6 from the California Voter Foundation
- Summary of donors to and against Proposition 6 from Cal-Access
- Donors for and against Proposition 6 from Follow The Money
- Props. 6 and 9 Reader, Harvard Law School blog
- State Sen. Runner throws support behind anti-gang proposition
- Ella Baker Center contributes to campaigns against two propositions
- Prop 6
- Safe Neighborhood supporters
- Gary Ovitt biography
- State Senator George C. Runner, R-District 17
- A Message From Senator George Runner, Oct. 27, 2008
- Safe Neighborhoods Statistics and Facts
- Prop 6
- Follow the Money, "Donors to Yes on Proposition 6"
- List of Prop 6 opponents
- Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies, Loren Siegel, 2003
- Follow the Money, "Donors to No on Propositions 6 & 9"
- Los Angeles Times, "No on Proposition 6," September 26, 2008
- Pasadena Star News, "Vote 'no' on props. 6 and 9," October 6, 2008
- New York Times, "Fiscal disaster in California," October 9, 2008
- Campaign expenditure details
- The Appeal Democrat, Crime initiative could hit ballot, April 30, 2008
- KHTS-AM, "Runners Looking To Target Gangs In Ballot Initiative," March 18, 2008