Judge Eugene Hyman JD ’77 wrote an opinion piece for the Mercury News about combatting smash and grab robberies in California.
“I’ve written extensively about my support for progressive criminal justice reforms such as Propositions 36 (promoting drug treatment as an alternative to jail), 47 (changing certain low-level crimes from felonies to misdemeanors) and 57 (allowing parole considerations for nonviolent felons.) I still believe we still have a ways to go to address the injustices in the system and its prejudices against our underserved communities. But there does come a point in time where we must say “enough is enough.” “
And for me, that point is where the concept of “catch-and-release” is accepted as the de facto law of the land. While I supported Proposition 47’s recategorizing some nonviolent felonies as misdemeanors as a healthy step forward, the district attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco apparently felt that a few further steps were necessary. Sadly, they took these further steps without waiting for word from the electorate or Legislature. Their offices are now declining to prosecute a range of low-level crimes such as resisting arrest, petty theft and making criminal threats. Even in cases that are borderline felonies, police are less inclined to charge the offenders, knowing that prosecutors are all the less likely to pursue the cases.