KSBY — Local law enforcement leaders expressed frustration Friday with federal and state laws they say have hindered their departments and indirectly led to the deadly sexual assault of 64-year-old Santa Maria resident Marilyn Pharis.
At a news conference announcing murder charges against Jose Villagomez and undocumented immigrant Victor Martinez, Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin decried two state laws and also national immigration policy he says have handcuffed local law enforcement.
"I think this is a national issue," said Chief Martin. "I think it starts in Washington D.C. with this administration that we see and their policies. I think you can draw a direct line over to Sacramento with the policies of... I'm going to say this governor and the legislature."
"We've seen AB 109 pass. We've seen Prop 47 pass. And I am not remiss to say that, from Washington D.C. to Sacramento, there is a blood trail into the bedroom of Marilyn Pharis."
AB 109 is a California law that states non-violent, non-serious offenders are to be supervised at the local level after they are released from prison, rather than reporting to state parole officers. California Proposition 47 reduced most non-serious and non-violent property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor.
"There is a frustration," added Chief Martin. "You've got the state of California that passed AB 109. So what happens is, the state prisons have now emptied out and are forcing all the local sheriffs to take their prisoners."
"So two weeks before this murder, Santa Maria police officers arrested (Martinez) for possession of meth. And you know what we had to do? We had to sign him out," said Chief Martin. "That's the problem with this system. And it is not just in Santa Maria. This is all over the state of California and all over the United States." continue reading...