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Judges reinstate some Proposition 9 parole rules

A federal appeals court Thursday upheld strict parole revocation rules approved by California voters in 2008, overturning a federal judge’s decision against Proposition 9.

Senior Judge Lawrence K. Karlton of the U.S. District Court in Sacramento had previously issued an injunction against part of the initiative known as the "Victims' Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy's Law." Karlton had said the state was required to abide by a 2004 court-imposed consent decree that mandated that the state provide legal counsel in all parole revocation hearings.

A  three-judge appeals panel ruled in favor of the provision that says legal counsel must be provided by the state only in select cases that are particularly complex.

“Today’s decision makes it clear that a judge’s order to grant more rights to parolees than constitutionally required does not trump a state constitutional amendment adopted by the people,” said Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which helped draft Proposition 9.

Scheidegger filed papers in the appeals court case on behalf of state Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster) and other Proposition 9 supporters.

Thursday's decision was by Judges John T. Noonan, Michael Daly Hawkins and Milan D. Smith Jr. of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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