Capitol Alert

Former California lawmaker seeks early release from prison on corruption charges

Former Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, holds a brief news conference to discuss the FBI raid on his Capitol office on June 10, 2013.
Former Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, holds a brief news conference to discuss the FBI raid on his Capitol office on June 10, 2013. The Associated Press

Seven months into his prison term for corruption charges, former California Sen. Ron Calderon is already preparing for possible release.

The Montebello Democrat, who pleaded guilty last year to a federal count of “mail fraud through the deprivation of honest services,” filed paperwork last week requesting a judicial recommendation to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that he be afforded a “reasonable opportunity” under the Second Chance Act of 2007.

That law ensures prisoners, “to the extent practicable,” can serve up to the final 12 months of their term under conditions that prepare them for re-entry into the community, such as a halfway house. The bureau can place an inmate in home confinement for up to 6 months or 10 percent of their term, whichever is shorter.

“Mr. Calderdon requests a recommendation from this Court to the BOP that he benefit from the Act at the earliest appropriate time, by assignment to a community correctional facility and then home confinement,” his lawyer, Mark Geragos, wrote to Judge Christina A. Snyder. “Mr. Calderon understands that such recommendation by Your Honor would not be binding on the BOP, but that the BOP would give it serious consideration.”

Geragos did not return return numerous calls and e-mails.

After admitting to undertaking official acts in return for jobs for his children, trips to Las Vegas and tens of thousands of dollars for him and his brother, Calderon was sentenced last October to 42 months in prison. It was a shorter term than prosecutors sought, and far less than the maximum 396 years possible in his original 24-count indictment.

Though he had asked for no prison time, citing poor health, Calderon entered a medium-security facility in Sheridan, Ore., in January, putting his estimated release around July 2020. But his release date has since been bumped up to Jan. 19, 2019, according to the Bureau of Prison’s Federal Inmate Locator.

If the bureau grants Calderon a full 12 months in a re-entry program, then he could be out of prison by January, just a year after he entered.

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Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff