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Prop 47 Reform Measure Blasted By Public Defender

The Proposition 47 reform initiative that’s now headed for the November ballot is getting some blowback from Nevada County’s Public Defender. Prop 47, passed by voters ten years ago, has reduced certain lower-level crimes to misdemeanors and set a 950-dollar minimum for shoplifting to be a felony, among other features. The reform measure, backed by district attorneys, would increase penalties for a handful of drug and theft offenses. Backers say theft and other crimes have increased in recent years. But Public Defender Keri Klein says her concerns include increased costs and less effectiveness in reducing crime…

click to listen to Keri Klein

Klein says theft arrests in Nevada County dropped from 179 in 2019 to 136 in 2022, with shoplifting arrests going down from 120 to 84. One major provision of the ballot proposition would increase punishments for someone convicted of shoplifting with two or more prior theft-related convictions. Klein says that would reduce the number of people being diverted to or qualifying for drug treatment programs, with many of these offenses committed by addicts…

click to listen to Keri Klein

Klein also indicates the measure is an ineffective shortcut to taking homeless people off the streets. Meanwhile, Democratic legislative leaders have announced a 14-bill package to address retail theft. But Republicans say they plan to add amendments that would void the legislation if voters approve the ballot measure.

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