An appeals court Monday reversed a Sacramento federal judge’s ruling that two state laws limiting parole hearings and giving the governor authority to block paroles were unconstitutional.
The late U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton ruled in 2014 that the two statutes created a significant risk of making murder sentences longer than they otherwise would have been, even though the prison terms were imposed before the laws were enacted.
Proposition 9, a ballot initiative passed by the voters in 2008, and Proposition 89, passed by voters in 1988, “retrospectively increased punishments, in violation of the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Karlton wrote in his 58-page order.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and, in a 30-page opinion [here] published Monday, reversed Karlton.