California Supreme Court Unanimously Rules Against Early Release for Violent Felons

On January 3, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that violent felons may not be considered for early release, even if their primary offense was considered nonviolent under state law. In 2016, California voters had approved Proposition 57, which allows individuals to petition for release for nonviolent felonies. State inmates had sought to extend the Proposition's language to those serving sentences for violent felonies. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the opinion that while the initiative's language was ambiguous, ballot materials were clear about voters' intent to exclude such inmates from early parole consideration. See Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg Law.