The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office has released a list of eight inmates sentenced in Mendocino County who are up for early release under Proposition 57, which voters passed in November.
Spearheaded by Gov. Jerry Brown, Prop. 57 claimed it would enhance public safety at the same time as moving up parole hearings for nonviolent offenders based on good behavior, after they have served a full sentence for their primary offense, but District Attorney David Eyster disagrees. He believes the state, by adopting the measure, has elevated the need for space in jails over public safety, according to spokesman Mike Geniella of his office.
Eyster helped lead the opposition to Prop. 57 as a director of the California District Attorneys Association, arguing that the measure too narrowly defines violent crime, Geniella said. For example, taking a hostage is not considered a violent offense for Prop. 57’s purposes, nor is arson; those who have committed either are eligible for the early release consideration.
“Arson is a particularly frightening thing for surrounding people (in a rural community),” said Geniella.
Eyster points out a local case as an example of arson not being taken seriously enough, that of Steven Gene Hensley, who he prosecuted. Hensley was sentenced to 20 years in prison for arson of a forest or grassland, also charged with inflicting corporal injury on his spouse, in 2012. After only five years, his case will go before the state parole board for potential early release.
Another prosecuted by Eyster, Jeffrey Miguel Ruano was sentenced to 18 years for possession of cocaine and methamphetamine for…
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