The Santa Ramona Chronicles

Local News & Events

November City Council Proposals

November 21, 2019

 

The following are the proposals submitted for the City Council meeting scheduled on Saturday, November 23rd at 5:00 p.m. SLT. If you have questions or comments please send to City Hall before the start of the meeting. (Madison Munro) 

 

 

 

 

Proposal 1:  Gun Violence Reduction

 

Presented Jointly by

Under Sheriff Azariah Brentt
Mayor Chiara Villanova

 

 

 

 

BACK GROUND

Gun violence brings devastating injuries and loss of life, a heavy burden on community quality of life, and heavy costs to the justice system. The most common forms of gun violence—involving gang members, violent conflicts, and other forms of violent crime—occur in this city weekly and the Sheriffs department is relied upon, to place their personnel in increasingly dangerous situations in order to mitigate the risks to the public. That being said the increase in Gun violence is something that effects us all. SRSD is dedicated to reducing gun crime in SRV without infringing on the rights of law abiding citizens and their ability to have and carry guns with a license.

Case studies from Boston, Kansas City and closer to home in LA amongst many others, support the idea that one single focused strategy is NOT going to work. Only by using a multi prong approach which is taken on board not only by ourselves in the SD but by other agencies with the city, the Mayor's office, SRV courts and others can we hope to reduce what is an on going problem.

What we know;

•     A small number of criminals commit a hugely disproportionate number of all gun crimes.

•     Most of this group have already committed crimes involving guns, which have either not resulted in        conviction or as is more often the case where the gun element in the crime had been mitigated with an over        lenient plea deal that effectively turns a felony for a gun charge into a misdemeanor or drops it altogether,  allowing that person to not only walk free, but to obtain more guns, sometimes usually legally.

•     Most gun crimes take place in a relatively small number of geographic areas.

•     Enforcement strategies that identify and deter repeat gun offenders have proven effective all over the county.


What we are proposing:

Multi pronged action.

1)  Tip reward scheme-this is the about getting the 'illegal' guns off the streets. The tips would be anonymous, the caller does not have to leave their name or contact information, they would drop a completed form into City Hall or to a SRSD Deputy with information regarding the whereabouts of an illegal firearm the more information the better. IF the tip leads to an arrest for possession of firearms, the caller would receive a monetary payment we are suggesting $1000 but that would depend budgets and is open for negation.

2) Zero tolerance of illegal guns- In Santa Ramona shootings are often committed by people who have been arrested or detained multiple times for crimes involving the illegal possession of guns, but who never faced any jail time as a result. This city needs to provide, certain, swift and proportional consequences to deter illegal gun possession. This would include;

•   The cessation of giving plea deals for cases involving illegal firearms. Unless the suspect actively gave us information on who supplied them with the guns, that leads to an arrest being made.

•   More frequent and lengthy probation/ parole supervision. This not only allows for monitoring of persons on probation/ parole, but makes provision for curfews and/or restrictions on entering particular areas, it also allows the Sheriffs Department and/or the courts to conduct searches of a person and premises associated, whenever it is felt necessary. With the idea of separating these violent criminals from a supply of guns that may be used in subsequent crimes.

3)  Direct action- When a person is arrested for violent gun related offenses, the person will ONLY released on bail under Mandatory Special Recognizance Conditions.

These would include some or all of the following;

    *   that they obey all laws of Santa Ramona Valley
    *   submit to any search of person and seizure of weapons, by the Sheriffs Dept as is deemed necessary.
    *   that they will not leave the state of California without prior knowledge and permission of the Sheriff of SRSD
    *   that they will not posses any unregistered(illegal) firearms or carry in public if they have a carry permit.
   
The arrestee will sign to the effect that they agree to the Special Conditions Recognizance Conditions. Their Surety will also sign if they have one. If the arrestee does not agree to conditions of bail the must either have a lawyer arrange a meeting the Judge to contest them on valid grounds. Or the person remains in jail until their trial.

If they DO NOT follow and uphold these conditions it would be considered breach of bail conditions. And they will be arrested for breach of bail conditions and returned to jail.

They will NOT be granted bail and second time.

We would ONLY at this point talking about using the  recognizance's on people who have already come to SRSD attention via incidents that have involved the violent use of fire arms, in any thing other than self defense.

What this allows us to do as a Dept is stop and search these persons who are ALREADY ON BAIL for violent gun offense, to search their person and remove the guns from them in the intention of preventing them from committing any more of these crimes while they wait ON BAIL in the court systems or on our caseload for transfer over. As a good portion of the cases involving the violent use of guns have been by committed by people already in the system and not yet convicted or on parole and ON BAIL.

SRSD would NOT apply for this ALL cases involving guns. We would have to provide reasonable probable cause that the person is threat. This would be done, by the considering all the factors in the case, such as previous usage of firearms, the mitigating and aggravating circumstances( the things that might be considered to excuse or make the situation all the worse), previous strains on the relationship with the other people involved(if there is a history of hostility with that person) and other factors that together give a reasonable indication of potential if this person is allowed to keep firearms in the interim until the trial. While deputies could carry out the searches, only SD Command would allowed to apply for Special


Probable cause to search is defined as when "the facts and circumstances within their knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information" would lead a prudent person to believe that the arrested person had committed or was committing a crime. the amendment requires that the warrant establish probable cause to believe that the search will uncover criminal activity or contraband. They must have legally sufficient reasons to believe a search is necessary. merely requires that the facts available to the officer would "warrant a man of reasonable caution" in the belief that specific items may be contraband or stolen property or useful as evidence of a crime. In Carroll v. United States (1925), the Supreme Court stated that probable cause to search is a flexible, common-sense standard.[88][89] To that end, the Court ruled in Dumbra v. United States (1925) that the term probable cause means "less than evidence that would justify condemnation",[90] reiterating Carroll's assertion that it merely requires that the facts available to the officer would "warrant a man of reasonable caution" in the belief that specific items may be contraband or stolen property or useful as evidence of a crime.[91] It does not demand any showing that such a belief be correct or more likely true than false. A "practical, non-technical" probability that incriminating evidence is involved is all that is required.[92] In Illinois v. Gates (1983), the Court ruled that the reliability of an informant is to be determined based on the "totality of the circumstances".[93]

 


4) Obtaining federal or state grant for the personnel either within our department or the usage of such personnel from SDSD to 'test fire' ALL guns taken from crime scenes for us in order to add to our system a means of cross referencing if the gun has been used in a previous crime in SRV. This is something that often happens anyway, but with the lack of Lab staff and increasing staff shortages in our department its not something we routinely have the time or resources to do.

5) The teaching of 'Self Defense' classes as discussed with Mayor 'a lot of people especially females do carry guns, as they feel threatened on these streets or afraid, not all of them are going to be legal to carry. As the Mayor stated if people can learn how to defend themselves against possible assault, kidnap or rape attempts that would lessen the reasons to carry at all.

6) In conjunction with the Mayors office we will embark on a campaign to help make people aware of the benefits of and encourage people to come to the SD or call 911 with their issues 'before' things escalate to the point of guns becoming involved. At then end of the day, we don't want to shoot people and if we can get callers informing us before that becomes necessary then so much the better for all involved. To this ends I will be working with our designers to make some posters to put out and we are hoping to try and get some radio or even TV time for some adverts to remind people that folks are around to mediate fights and  help them be aware to make the call before shots are fired. Mayor is going to look into potential federal funding for all SD and all city personnel to take mediation training.

 

 

 

 

 

Proposal 2 Extension of Jail Time

 

Presented by Undersheriff Brentt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BACK GROUND- "....California Penal Code section 825 requires that a defendant being held in custody for a misdemeanor or a felony must be brought before a judge “without unnecessary delay” and within 48 hours of his or her arrest, excluding Sundays and holidays...." and the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants that a person arrested has 'The right to speedy Trial' As a general rule, however, if you're placed in custody, your "speedy trial" rights typically require the prosecutor to decide within 72 hours which charges, if any, will be filed. Many states adhere to this 72-hour limit.

As you can see above the normal period for the holding of person suspected of a crime by LEO prior to  Arraignment hearings being arranged and/or plea deals being made is 48-72hours.


➊ At the present time SRSD has the right hold an arrested suspect in custody for 24hrs maximum. In the ideal scenario (as above) with a full compliment of Sheriff Department and Court personnel, public defenders, prosecutors and judges this system would work efficiently. However, this is sadly not the case most of the time and in turn often creates significant public safety issues.

➋ SRSD at the present time, has no choice but to allow suspects to leave SD custody once 24hrs has been reached. This often does not allow for investigatory processes to to be completed. And forces us to have choose between permitting a suspect to answer questions without an attorney present, a situation that is not beneficial to either the suspects in custody or SRSD, or we have to forgo questioning of the suspect and with it not only our opportunity to gain a better understanding of it incident, vital information that is often significant to obtain further evidence and/or getting the case to trail, but it also means the suspect is being denied to chance to give their version of events with a lawyer present.

➌ On average it takes 48 hours for Search Warrants to be approved, twice as long as we are allowed to detain the suspect for, that is not counting the time it takes to serve the warrant and conduct the search. Meaning that in most cases the suspect is able to leave custody return home and dispose of evidence before SRSD can even obtain a search warrant. SRSD cannot  there after collect all the evidence it needs to pass the cases to the courts before the suspect is released, the case never makes it into the court system and they are the suspect free to offend again, often with violent and devastating consequences.

➍ Once the suspect has bailed and left Sheriff's Dept custody, there is no guarantee we are able to locate them again to follow up with further evidence. The upshot of this is that violent suspects are simply being allowed to walk free, from SD custody without the due process having been implemented. Plea deals are being sent or Arraignment hearings arranged sometimes weeks after their release from custody, during which time they are freely able to change addresses, appearance, names, obtain legal guns, commit more crimes and can even leave the state in order to evade the court papers and there is nothing the SD can do to prevent it.

On the back of this knowledge my proposal is thus;


● I propose, the granting of a court order by the Judge to Sheriff Dept Command, to allow for the extended detention of a suspect, in the case of serious Felony Arrests, beyond the original 24 hours, in 12 hour increments, to not exceed 48 hours beyond the original holding time, maximum. This court approved extension would have to be applied for every 12 hours unless the court order stated otherwise.

→ The extension would be applied for by SD Command only when an extension was deemed necessary for public safety reasons. I.e in case of arrests for Kidnap, Battery, Rape, Attempted Murder, Murder or Domestic Terrorism charges.

→ The extension would be applied for alongside Search or Forensic warrants if required, therefore minimizing the amount of paperwork submitted to the judge and allowing for Searches and/or Forensic process to take place while the suspect is still in custody.

 

 

 

Proposal Three: Weapons Permit Change 

 

Presented by Sheriff Jade Ramirez

 

 

 

 

 

Current SRV Gun Permit rules state: Rifles and pistols are permitted to be carried open or concealed. However, they must be unloaded to be legally carried unless you're a law enforcement officer.

The entire purpose of a citizen requesting to carry a weapon is for protection of self and property. If a citizen is lawfully allowed to carry a weapon, then they should be allowed to carry a loaded weapon in order to protect themselves. If a citizen is attacked the chances of being able to pull a weapon, load it, and then fire it to protect themselves is significantly decreased.

 

Proposal:

I submit the following change to the current permit language.

 Rifles and pistols are permitted to be carried open or concealed. So long as you are carrying your valid permit, you are allowed to carry a loaded weapon in SRV.

 

 

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