Lansdowne, Goldsmith Discuss Changes Post-Prop 47

Former Police Chief William Lansdowne and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith discuss the effects of voters passing Proposition 47

Two familiar faces in the San Diego criminal justice system met Friday to take a post-election look at state Proposition 47.

Its passage, by a 3-to-2 voter majority has bumped a lot of low-level felonies down to misdemeanors.

Now, it could free up thousands of prison inmates.

Former San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said concerns about low-level criminals being released from custody are unfounded.

He cites other states that have succeeded with the shift in categorization of some crimes.

“There isn’t a family I know of that isn’t touched by this,” Lansdowne said referring to inmates with either a history of mental illness or drug abuse.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said there are a lot of challenges with an estimated 250 more cases a month expected to be handled by attorneys in his office.

The public said the thieves or drug-related offenders will be handled as misdemeanors and won’t get nearly the same attention as those cases handled as felonies.

“There are no probation officers when they’re placed on probation,” he said. “It’s a promise to the judge.”

“It is the honor system and it’s really, really tough to help somebody deal with their drug problem on the honor system,” he added. 

Contact Us