Recently, Superior Court Peter J. Wilson ordered a 50 percent reduction of the population in Orange County jails to protect incarcerated people from a COVID-19 outbreak.
If the order stands, it could mean the release of more than 1,800 inmates. According to ACLU’s Daisy Ramirez, “This order recognizes that we must not forget the humanity of incarcerated people and they should not be put in mortal danger.”
Both Judge Wilson and the ACLU should consider that although prisoners do not have full constitutional rights, they are protected by the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and usual punishment and that testing “positive” should not lead to “panic” with a 98 percent survival rate.
Perhaps, both Wilson and Ramirez need to ask the question, “Is having flu-like symptoms more severe than the crime committed?”
As Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes commented, “This order puts our community at substantial risk and does not take into account the impact on the victims of these crimes.”
American Civil Liberty Union President, Susan Herman stated that the ACLU founders believed that everyone should have a right to liberty and justice.
This should include the Saldana family who were innocently killed, while leaving their three children orphaned by the alleged murderer, Grace Coleman on December 9, 2020. Coleman’s first offence in August in Laguna Beach for a DUI that was still pending investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s office at the time of her second offense.
Will December 31st, “New Year’s Eve,” release Coleman, along with 1,799 potentially dangerous criminals, because we must protect those rights who have taken the rights of another person?
Or shall the rights of convicted murderers, rapists and felons be restricted if they are outweighed by the interests of society?
We should collectively support our Sheriff, Police and First Responders, but most of all support the call for common sense.
Peggy V. Palmer / Newport Beach