L.A. Police Union Defies The Governor With A Wink And A Nod

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union the represents rank-and-file members of the Los Angeles Police Department, on Friday issued a statement calling Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's prisoner-release plan "dangerous and unacceptable."

The governor's plan was submitted to a three-judge panel that is overseeing a federal mandate forcing the state to reduce its prison population by 40,000 criminals in the next two years. Of course, the Governator didn't really mean it when he submitted his latest proposal: He's biding for time while appealing the population-reduction ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Schwarzenegger's plan, the LAPPL states, would let loose "those with no strikes under the 'three-strike' law who are convicted of simple drug possession or any one of a number of theft-related crimes" and "any person convicted of felony theft that did not meet a $950 threshold."

The governor, however, was devious in the plan's design and inserted some of the thresholds on purpose because they would, in fact, violate state law. According to the Los Angeles Times, Schwarzenegger could then tell the feds that he could not allow the transgressions; he could argue that the judges would be overstepping their bounds if they ordered the state to violate its own rules.

The union argues that the federal ruling to reduce cell overcrowding is overzealous, that the state's prison population is at the same level it was in 1998, and that health-care spending on convicts is better than what Washington itself spends on federal inmates. In fact, the LAPPL board, in its statement, wishes the Governator godspeed in his Supreme Court challenge:

"At this point, our best chance to stop the federal government from overstepping its authority and interjecting itself in the operation of the state prison system is intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court. We think that the panel's justification for the massive release is simply not supported by the facts, and are hopeful that the Supreme Court will clearly see that."


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