Proposition 47 is coming under fire once again after being scrutinized by local law enforcement leaders in the wake of the arrest of Joseph Espinoza for the murder of 17-year old San Joaquin Memorial student Nick Kauls.
Investigators say Espinoza was in possession of Methamphetamine when he was cited at a local Motel hours before the teen’s murder. Prior to the passage of Prop 47 Espinoza would have been taken to jail on felony charges. Under current guidelines simple possession is a misdemeanor and not a felony, and Espinoza was free to allegedly go on a murderous rampage. “”Had he been in custody that night and the next day he would not have been in a position to commit those robberies, shootings, and the murder of Nicholas Kauls”, according to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
Criminal Defense Attorney Mark King says it’s not fair to blame Proposition 47 for this crime, saying “Had he been in custody that night and the next day he would not have been in a position to commit those robberies, shootings, and the murder of Nicholas Kauls”.
Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp argues that prop 47 is impacting California’s neighborhoods, and the officers who patrol them. “It really has hindered, and really caused a lot of problems with regard to public safety and the way that the deputies and the officers are able to manage safety in our streets today”, says Smittcamp.