Reporting from Sacramento — A federal appeals court Thursday upheld strict parole revocation rules approved by California voters in 2008, overturning a federal judge's decision.
Senior Judge Lawrence K. Karlton of the U.S. District Court in Sacramento had previously issued an injunction against part of Proposition 9, known as the Victims' Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy's Law. He had said California was required to abide by a 2004 court- imposed consent decree mandating that the state provide legal counsel in all parole revocation hearings.
A three-judge panel ruled Thursday in favor of the ballot measure's provision that legal counsel must be provided by the state only in particularly complex cases.
"Today's decision makes it clear that a judge's order to grant more rights to parolees than constitutionally required does not trump a state constitutional amendment adopted by the people," said Kent Scheidegger of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which helped draft Proposition 9. Scheidegger filed papers in the appellate case on behalf of state Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster) and other Proposition 9 supporters.