Los Angeles County District Attorney to Apply Proposition 36 to Drug Offenders Convicted Before July 1
In a "break" for drug offenders in Los Angeles County, the district attorney's office yesterday said it will not ask for jail time for people convicted but not sentenced before Proposition 36 was implemented July 1, the Los Angeles Times reports. Proposition 36 is the voter-approved initiative that calls for most nonviolent first- and second-time drug offenders to be directed toward treatment instead of jail. In recent weeks, prosecutors and defense attorneys have "battled" in court over whether Proposition 36 applies to the sentencing of defendants convicted before July 1. Head county Deputy District Attorney Lawrence Mason said that the office will adopt the new policy until appellate courts rule on the issue. Mason said that the new policy will apply to drug offenders arrested and convicted between Nov. 7, when voters approved Proposition 36, and July 1. Although he was unsure whether the appeals court would "apply the law retroactively," Mason said, "There are good indications it will say they are entitled to the relief that is provided by Proposition 36." However, he predicted that Los Angeles lawyers will "rush to get their cases settled" before the appeals court issues a ruling. Officials estimate that Proposition 36 will apply to about 16,000 defendants per year in Los Angeles County (Berry, Los Angeles Times, 8/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.