Tuesday, November 18, 2014 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco, CA — Hundreds of people on probation in San Francisco and thousands living with convictions could have their felonies reduced to misdemeanors under Proposition 47—and free help is available, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
The San Francisco Public Defender’s office has set up a Prop 47 information line at 415-553-9344 to assist former clients seeking relief under the new law or those who have questions about their eligibility. Also known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014, Prop 47 reduces most nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors.
More than 30 San Francisco Public Defender clients have already had their nonviolent felonies reduced to misdemeanors under the law, which was passed by California voters Nov. 4. The Public Defender has identified an additional 370 people on probation and approximately 2,000 people who have already served their sentences who are eligible for a reduction.
San Francisco public defenders are helping four to six people currently serving state prison sentences for non-violent felonies who may be released under Prop 47.
“Felony convictions are serious obstacles when it comes to obtaining jobs, housing, even financial aid for college, so it is imperative that eligible individuals have them reduced as soon as possible,” Adachi said. “I look forward to working with the San Francisco District Attorney and the court system to ensure that relief is provided promptly.”
Common felonies that qualify under Prop 47 include theft offenses of less than $950 and drug possession. Convicted sex offenders and those with a criminal record of violent crimes such as kidnapping, assault to commit a sex crime, murder, attempted murder, solicitation of murder and possession of a weapon of mass destruction are not eligible for relief under the new law.