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California Proposition 89, Governor's Parole Review (1988)
Proposition 89 gave to the Governor of California the authority to approve, modify, or reverse any decision by the parole authority (Board of Prison Terms or Youthful Offender Parole Board) regarding the parole of persons who are sentenced to an indeterminate term for committing murder.
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Before Proposition 89 was enacted, Section 8 said:
- "Subject to application procedures provided by statute, the Governor, on conditions the Governor deems proper, may grant a reprieve, pardon, and commutation, after sentence, except in case of impeachment. The Governor shall report to the Legislature each reprieve, pardon, and commutation granted, stating the pertinent facts and the reason for granting it. The Governor may not grant a pardon or commutation to a person twice convicted of a felony except on recommendation of the Supreme Court, 4 judges concurring."
Proposition 89 added a new Section (b) that says:
- (b) No decision of the parole authority of this state with respect to the granting, denial, revocation, or suspension of parole of a person sentenced to an indeterminate term upon conviction of murder shall become effective for a period of 30 days, during which the Governor may review the decision subject to procedures provided by statute. The Governor may only affirm, modify, or reverse the decision of the parole authority on the basis of the same factors which the parole authority is required to consider. The Governor shall report to the Legislature each parole decision affirmed, modified, or reversed, stating the pertinent facts and reasons for the action."
The ballot title was:
The official ballot summary for Proposition 89 was:
- "Provides that no decision of the parole authority which grants, denies, revokes, or suspends the parole of a person sentenced to an indeterminate term upon conviction of murder shall become effective for a period of 30 days. Permits Governor to review the decision during this period subject to statutory procedures. States that the Governor may only affirm, modify, or reverse a parole authority decision on the basis of the same factors which the parole authority may consider. Requires Governor to report to the Legislature the pertinent facts and reasons for each parole action. Summary of Legislative Analyst's estimate of net state and local government fiscal impact: The fiscal impact of this measure is unknown and depends on the actions of the Governor. Grants of parole would result in relatively minor savings. Denials of parole could result in relatively minor costs."
The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:
- "The fiscal impact of this constitutional amendment is unknown and would depend on the actions of the Governor. The measure could result in relatively minor state savings if the Governor decided to release a person from prison or the Youth Authority after the person's parole had been denied by the Board of Prison Terms or the Youthful Offender Parole Board. The measure could, however, result in relatively minor state costs if the Governor decided to deny parole to a person who would have been granted parole by the Board of Prison Terms or the Youthful Offender Parole Board."
Court cases about Proposition 89 include:
- Johnson v. Gomez. 92 F.3d 964 (9th Cir . 1996).
- Johnson v. Gomez. 876 F. Supp. 226 (E.D. Cal. 1995).
- People v. Massie. 19 Cal. 4th 550, 967 P.2d 29, 79 Cal. Rptr. 2d 816 (1998).
Path to the ballot
The California State Legislature voted to put Proposition 89 on the ballot via Senate Constitutional Amendment 9 (Statutes of 1988, Resolution Chapter 63).
|Votes in legislature to refer to ballot|
- PDF of the November 8, 1988 ballot proposition voter guide
- California Law Library, November 8, 1988 ballot propositions
- Hastings California I&R database