California eases gang enhanced sentence rules under bill signed by Newsom


California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday approved limiting prison terms for those associated with street gangs, among several criminal justice bills restricting enhancements that can add years to offenders’ sentences.

In doing so he followed recommendations from an advisory committee the most populous state created last year to continue reducing criminal penalties in the latest attempt to relax tough-on-crime policies that jammed prisons to the bursting point just a decade ago.

Newsom, a Democrat who last month defeated an effort to recall him in midterm, approved a bill limiting gang enhancements to organized, violent criminal enterprises

The California Police Chiefs Association said the bill is unworkable because it can require prosecutors to first prove the underlying crime without telling jurors that it was gang-motivated.

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