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Sacramento DA / Media / Latest News / 8.31.17: Early Prison Releases: AUGUST 2017 Update

Early Prison Releases: AUGUST 2017 Update

In January 2015, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation began a new parole determination process after a federal court ordered California to reduce prison overcrowding.  As a result, inmates characterized as “nonviolent second-strikers” (NVSS) became eligible for early parole.  In November 2016, Proposition 57 was then passed with the promise that “nonviolent” inmates who “turn their lives around” in prison could also earn early parole under a new “nonviolent parole review” (NVPR). 

Qualifying NVSS and NVPR inmates must not currently be serving a sentence for a crime legally categorized as a violent felony and must not be required to register as sex offenders.  NVSS inmates must have served (or be within 12 months of serving) only 50 percent of their sentence, while NVPR inmates may be paroled after serving the base term for the principal offense and may earn additional conduct credits. 

The Board of Prison Hearings (BPH) determines whether NVSS or NVPR offenders would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety based on a paper review of prior criminal history, facts of the current commitment offense, behavior in prison, rehabilitation efforts, whether the inmate has any medical condition which might affect the ability to re-offend, and written statements.

Unlike parole hearings - where the prosecution, defense attorney, and victim may appear - there is no public hearing for these BPH administrative reviews.  Additionally, no evidence-based risk assessment is conducted prior to consideration of early release to indicate an inmate’s safety risk.

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office takes an active role in evaluating NVSS and NVPR cases.  For inmates who appear to pose a danger to the public, the office writes opposition letters to BPH with an overview of the inmate’s criminal history and current commitment offense, and an opinion on the public safety risk if an inmate is granted early release.   NVPR cases are especially concerning since prosecutors are denied access to records of the inmate’s behavior behind bars, which is critical to rehabilitation, and do not have a right to appeal an early parole decision.

Many of the offenders who are granted early prison release have violent and lengthy criminal histories.  District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert feels it is important for the public to be aware of the so-called “nonviolent” offenders being released early from prison into our neighborhoods. 

Information about some of the 272 inmates sentenced from Sacramento County who have been granted early release is posted on www.sacda.org.  Monthly press releases are issued to provide the public with a sampling of recent noteworthy offenders, including:

Odis Philmore Collier (Case #16FE006701) – In 1984, Collier was convicted of seven counts of burglary, with at least one being a strike.  Collier received a sentence of 12 years in state prison for these offenses.  When he was released, he immediately violated parole by committing a misdemeanor battery on an officer.   In 1992, Collier was convicted of his eighth felony for being a felon in possession of a firearm and was returned to prison for his second prison commitment.  He was paroled in 1994 and was promptly convicted of resisting arrest.  Collier continued to violate parole repeatedly from 1995 through 1997.  Then in 1998, he was convicted of his next strike offense, another residential burglary, which earned him a 15-year prison sentence.  Collier paroled in May 2011 and was arrested for a parole violation 10 days later.  He repeatedly violated parole again from 2011 to 2014, until he was finally discharged from parole in 2015.  The following year, Collier committed his current burglary offense.  In this case, Collier had been a beneficiary of Loaves & Fishes, which provides “food, warmth, and a path home for homeless men, women, and children.” He repaid the charitable organization by burglarizing it, leaving destruction in his path and stealing a laptop, money, ID cards, wallets and other items.  Collier has a 32-year criminal history filled with numerous felony convictions and parole violations throughout that time.  Opposition Letter - Decision Review Request Letter

David Hernandez Savala (Case #12F07948) – In February 1988, Savala was convicted for a domestic violence assault on his then girlfriend.  In August 1988, Savala was hanging out with members of a criminal street gang and committed a drive by shooting into an occupied vehicle.  He was convicted of discharging a firearm at an inhabited vehicle, a violent strike, and received a 3-year prison sentence.  Shortly after his release, Savala committed a vehicle theft and armed robbery, which resulted in another violent strike conviction and 3-year prison sentence. Savala continued to commit crimes through the 1990s, sustaining convictions and returning to prison for offenses including DUI, vehicle theft, and possession of narcotics.  In May 2001, Savala was in custody at the Sacramento County Jail after being detained for possession of a firearm and a parole violation. While in the jail, Savala committed an assault on a rival gang member. Once he was released for this offense, Savala committed ID and other thefts, leading up to his current commitment theft offense.  In November 2012, after being free from custody for just one month, Savala was armed with bolt cutters when he entered a 24-Hour Fitness.  Once in the locker room, he broke into the victim’s locker and stole the victim's bag, which contained all the money to fund the high school wrestling team that the victim coached.  Savala then stole the victim's car.  The wrestling team was robbed of the opportunity to compete in a tournament because they no longer had the money to register.  Savala was convicted of burglary and possession of stolen property, and received the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  Savala’s near 30-year criminal history has been fraught with violence and recklessness with a slew of victims in his wake. Opposition Letter

Rodric Stanley (Case #14F04542)Stanley was convicted of vehicle theft in July 2009 and again in April 2010.  In July 2010, he was convicted of felony receipt of stolen property.  In May 2013, he was convicted of felony burglary.  In 2014, Stanley was then convicted of battery.  In that case, he got into an argument with a female victim, which escalated into a physical fight.  When the victim tried to escape him by going into the bathroom, Stanley kicked the door in, grabbed the victim by her neck, picked her up out of the bathroom and threw her against a couch.  He then grabbed her by the face and spit in her face.  Stanley was also convicted of violating a restraining order against him after he broke into the home of an ex-girlfriend by throwing a rock through her window.  He then stole her 55-inch flat screen TV.  In July 2014, Stanley was caught with a significant amount of stolen property from a house that had just been burglarized.  In this case, a responding police officer noticed a van parked next door and caught Stanley and his friends in the van with all of the stolen property, including a TV and other electronics.  Stanley also had the homeowner's jewelry in his pocket.   Stanley was convicted of felony receipt of stolen property.  Stanley's criminal record shows he has a violent and threatening capability, in addition to being a habitual thief.  Opposition Letter

John Zepeda (Case #14F02720) - Zepeda ran a sophisticated and massive criminal enterprise throughout California for many years, stealing from victims who were desperate to save their homes.  Zepeda’s criminal organization had a number of employees and locations.  His scheme involved finding individuals who were about to lose their homes, fraudulently getting them to deed over their homes, make mortgage payments directly to his “business” and promise to negotiate loan modifications or stop foreclosures. Zepeda would then pocket the money gained through his business and never contacted the bank. Zepeda ended up victimizing hundreds of people throughout California.  In 2012, Zepeda pled to multiple charges related to real estate and foreclosure scams in San Diego County Superior Court.  He received a 12 year sentence for those convictions. In 2015, he pled to related charges from Los Angeles County and received a 5 year sentence.  In July 2013, Zepeda was charged in Sacramento County on counts of conspiracy, grand theft, forgery, attempt to file a false document and ID theft.  Zepeda pled to grand theft and received a sentence of 16 months in prison.  Zepeda’s sophisticated and predatory white collar crimes were a different methodology of victimizing innocent victims, causing trauma and suffering to vulnerable people throughout the state.  Opposition Letter

The Early Prison Releases webpage can be found at www.sacda.org/early prison releases.

 

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