Outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to give the residents of his state some very dangerous Christmas presents: Violent criminals.
Just in time for the holidays, Brown granted 143 pardons and an additional 131 sentence commutations that included Kevin Cooper, an inmate sitting on death row after being convicted of killing four members of a Chino Hills family in their home with a hatchet, a knife, and an ice pick in 1983.
In response to a clemency request from Cooper, Brown ordered new DNA tests on four pieces of evidence that includes the handle of the hatchet used to commit the murders and the sheath holding it, PJ Media reports.
Brown justified his order by claiming in a written statement that he is taking “no position as to Mr. Cooper’s guilt or innocence at this time.” But, he continued, “colorable factual questions have been raised about whether advances in DNA technology warrant limited retesting of certain physical evidence in the case.”
Continuing, Brown noted, ”The purpose of this new testing is to determine whether another suspected person’s DNA, or the DNA of any other identifiable suspect based on a match in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, is present on the items tested. Given the nature of the testing requested, and the fact that the murders, in this case, occurred before the advent of DNA technology and related evidence handling protocols, both parties acknowledge the distinct possibility that further testing may yield multiple DNA contributors of unknown origin.
“As such, if the only result of further testing is to yield either no additional DNA matches, or only DNA from unknown contributors, this matter should be closed,” he wrote.
As if it isn’t bad enough that Cooper has spent nearly 35 years on death row already, escaping the justice that a court and a jury prescribed, now it’s entirely possible he’ll get out of prison altogether if Brown deems it. California is a violent criminal’s best friend.
There shouldn’t be a question as to Cooper’s guilt anyway. San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos has argued against releasing Cooper because, he says, DNA testing on crime scene items such as a bloody t-shirt and discarded cigarettes have already put Cooper at the scene and in the family’s stolen station wagon.
Cooper’s defense lawyer, however, is claiming that someone — police or prosecutors or both — planted blood on the t-shirt so they could frame Cooper, who is black, for the crime. Of course.
If this case isn’t bad enough, Brown also wanted to commute the sentence of another violent criminal, Kenny Lee, who was convicted of robbing and murdering a cab driver in 1992. But that commutation was blocked by the California Supreme Court, marking the seventh such intervention in recent weeks as Brown tried to issue commutations for other killers as well.
While this kind of stuff is alarming to sane people who are concerned about public safety, it shouldn’t surprise anyone who is familiar with Brown and the supermajority of Democrats who run the country’s most populous state.
Recall that Democrats passed, and Brown signed, legislation last year making California a “sanctuary state” in which it is unlawful for police to cooperate with federal immigration authorities to remove illegal aliens, even those with criminal records.
Case in point: As The National Sentinel reported, Gustavo Garcia, 36, an illegal immigrant who had twice been deported from the U.S., “stood accused of stealing a truck, robbing a convenience store, shooting and killing one person, and firing at buildings before killing himself in a high-speed crash on an interstate near Fresno” earlier this month.
He was let out of jail and set free despite a detainer request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials due to the sanctuary law. His “reign of terror,” as one sheriff put it, injured five Californians, one of them critically.
Still, it’s hard to feel sorry for most residents of California. After all, they are the ones who keep voting for Democrats like Jerry Brown. — J. D. Heyes
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