Proposition 9 legal update by Carol Strickman, Staff Attorney, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children


Prop. 9 has many provisions. This is the best information we have today on legal the challenges to it already filed in court.
1. Parole revocation hearings: U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence K. Karlton has issued a temporary stay (a court order) against the CDCR preventing it from implementing the parts of Prop 9 that concern parole revocation hearings. Those provisions of Prop 9 (such as denying the right to an attorney) contradict U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The name of that case is Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger.
2. Ex post facto challenge to lengthened periods between parole suitability hearings for lifers: The UC Davis Civil Rights Clinic and the Sacramento Federal Public Defenders Office has filed an ex post facto challenge. This argument says that Prop 9 increases penalties, so it cannot be applied after-the-fact to people already incarcerated; it can only apply to people who commit crimes after Prop 9 passed. They are raising this argument in a case called Gilman v. Welch. They are asking the judge (U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence K. Karlton) to certify the case as a class (meaning his ruling would apply to all California lifers, not just the 8 prisoners in that case). They are also asking for a preliminary injunction, to stop the CDCR from applying Prop 9?s lengthened periods and, instead, to make the CDCR use the older, shorter periods for now, until the case is finally resolved. This motion was heard on January 30 in Sacramento. We are waiting for a ruling.
3. Tax-payers lawsuit: An organization called TIPS (Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety) has filed a lawsuit in California state court. That suit states that all of Prop 9 is invalid, because it did not appropriate any money to pay for the costs of its implementation, such as the costs of increased incarceration.
4. In addition to these challenges, other attorneys are working or are considering filing other cases and challenges. If you or someone you know has been hurt by Prop 9, please write to CCWP.