“Any law which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all.” — Maximilien Robespierre
So goes Proposition 47, also known as the ‘Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.’ It’s a referendum passed by voters of California in 2014.
It categorized several ‘nonviolent’ felonies into misdemeanors. By the following year, San Diego’s police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, had come to describe Prop 47 as “a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card.”
She also expressed concern about the criminals who exploit Proposition 47 to commit crimes.
For example, one criminal in San Bernardino brought a calculator into a store to avoid stealing more than $950 worth of goods, while another man in Palm Springs was caught with a stolen gun valued at $625. Police reports show that when the arresting officer explained he would not be taken to jail but given a ticket he reacted, “But I had a gun. What is wrong with this country?”
Good question. Prop 47 does nothing to protect the owner of the property being stolen and that’s where “the inalienable right of man” is being violated.
Section 1 of the 14th Amendment reads in part, “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”