State Supreme Court Overturns Proposition 36 Ruling
The California Supreme Court yesterday overturned a ruling by a Los Angeles appeals court last year on Proposition 36, stating that state judges do not have the power to grant drug treatment for low-level drug offenders with recent criminal records, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/20). Under Proposition 36, a ballot measure voters approved in November 2000, some nonviolent drug offenders are offered treatment rather than prison (California Healthline, 5/2). The proposition allowed individuals who successfully complete the drug-diversion program to have their arrests removed from their records. According to the state Supreme Court, drug offenders who have committed felonies and served time in prison within five years of a narcotics arrest are not qualified for leniency under the proposition. The appeals court reasoned that the state Supreme Court in 1996 granted judges the power to hand out less severe sentences to three-strikes defendants facing life terms. However, the state Supreme Court said that there was "no such wiggle room" for judges under Proposition 36, the Union-Tribune reports (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/20).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.