Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown 'hopeful' in California Supreme Court ruling

Gov. Jerry Brown arrives for the State of the State in the Assembly Chamber at the State Capitol on Thursday January 21, 2016.
Gov. Jerry Brown arrives for the State of the State in the Assembly Chamber at the State Capitol on Thursday January 21, 2016. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday that it only took so long to file his ballot initiative to make certain nonviolent felons eligible for early parole because he was consulting with law enforcement groups, saying the “process worked” despite legal uncertainty surrounding the measure.

The Democratic governor was allowed to move ahead with his initiative on Friday, when the California Supreme Court temporarily stayed a lower court’s ruling blocking the measure.

Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a title and summary for the initiative, and Democrats were expected to begin circulating it immediately.

The initiative’s filing came so late that, if the Supreme Court rules against Brown, he has said he will not have enough time to re-file the initiative. Brown told The Bee on Saturday that his administration could not have filed sooner.

“One of the reasons we took a little bit longer is we were consulting with the district attorneys, the police chiefs, the sheriffs, the probation officials,” he said. “And we did a very extensive consultation, and that took days and weeks, and I think it was well worthwhile.”

Brown added, “That’s why I think the process worked, and I’m very hopeful that the Supreme Court will take a very close look at all the facts.”

That’s why I think the process worked, and I’m very hopeful that the Supreme Court will take a very close look at all the facts.

Gov. Jerry Brown

Law enforcement officials have previously described extensive meetings with Brown, though the fourth-term Democrat failed to gain support for his initiative from the California District Attorneys Association, among others.

On Wednesday, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled the initiative was improperly filed as an amendment to a measure concerning juvenile justice.

At issue is how substantially the amendment changed the content of the initiative. The district attorneys association and Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said in court that Brown’s measure so altered the original initiative that it should have been filed on its own.

Brown said Saturday, “I think the law is very clear that reasonably germane amendments are in order, and I strongly believe that the amendments … are reasonably germane because they deal with public safety and rehabilitation.”

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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