Articles Tagged with SB 620

In 2016 Alpacino McDaniels was found guilty of the July 2013 murder of 23-year-old Teric Traylor by an Alameda County Superior Court jury. McDaniels allegedly killed Traylor during a street fight in West Oakland, although McDaniels claimed that he was not the one who shot the victim. McDaniels had prior convictions including two for possessing cocaine base for sale, one for evading police and another for selling a controlled substance.

In this case the murder of the victim occurred in an area commonly known as one where drug crimes and other violent activity took place, the block referred to as “Mead Street” in West Oakland which runs between Market Street and San Pablo Avenue. Reports claim that while drug dealers would operate at various locations on Mead, the main site where drug activity took place was at a corner liquor store. McDaniels was convicted of one count each of first-degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm.

The jury in the case determined that McDaniels intentionally and personally discharged a firearm that resulted in the victim’s death, and concluded three firearm enhancements along with the murder count were true. He was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder along with 25 years to life for the discharge of a firearm causing death to be served consecutively, a total of 50 years to life behind bars. In the two additional firearm enhancements, 20- and 10-year terms were stayed. McDaniels was 29 at the time he was charged with the murder; Charles Fuller was also charged in the crime.

On October 11 California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill sponsored by the ACLU of California into law that will impact sentencing for felons convicted of crimes in which a firearm was used. Is the new law a good thing or a bad thing? It really depends on your own opinion. According to some reports law enforcement leaders feel Senate Bill 620 will only result in additional gun violence, however Senator Steve Bradford, author of the bill, says it’s really about justice.

Bradford said in a statement that “No one disputes that crimes involving firearms must be taken seriously, but California should not continue forcing judges to dole out extreme and overly punitive sentences that don’t fit the crime.” Bradford feels that judges should be afforded the same discretion at sentencing that prosecutors are afforded when filing criminal charges, and that California’s “overly punitive” sentencing laws disproportionately affected people of color.

Prior to signing Senate Bill 620 into law, judges were prohibited from dismissing or striking a firearm sentence enhancement for offenders who committed felony offenses involving firearms. If an individual was arrested for a criminal offense involving a gun, certain enhancements were added to the charges which were mandatory. Ultimately, this meant someone convicted of the charges could face a substantially longer prison term, sometimes decades longer. This new law gives judges the power to determine punishment, taking away prosecutors’ power to determine enhancements.