Lawmaker Demands Changes in Parole System - NBC Bay Area

Lawmaker Demands Changes in Parole System



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    John Albert Gardner III appears in San Diego Superior Court on Tuesday March 9, 2010 in San Diego. A San Diego judge has postponed the preliminary hearing for the sex offender accused of murdering 17-year-old Chelsea King. Superior Court Judge David J. Danielsen on Tuesday rescheduled the hearing from March 18 to Aug. 4. Gardner is also under investigation in the death of 14-year-old Amber Dubois, whose remains were found Saturday 10 miles from the site where King disappeared. (AP Photo/John Gibbins, Pool)

    A state assemblyman from San Diego has harsh words for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

    "It's an entity that is in need of an entire overhaul and reform,"said State Representative Nathan Fletcher (R) 75th District.

    Fletcher has been following the case of John Gardner who's accused of killing 17-year old Chelsea King and is considered a focus in the investigation into the disappearance and death of  14-year old Amber Dubois.

    "There's nothing we can do to bring Chelsea and Amber back, but we have to do everything possible to make sure no family has to go through what they're going through,"said Fletcher.

    Gardner, a registered sex offender, had at least seven potential parole violations between 2005 and 2008.  He only had one hearing for a violation in 2007 when corrections officials found him living too close to a daycare.

    Gardner could have been sent back to prison, but corrections officials allowed him to stay on parole because he had found a new place to live.

    "Corrections could have done the right thing and sent him back to prison where he would have fallen under new more stricter laws and he could be incarcerated today," Fletcher said.

    Fletcher is pushing for more stricter rules when it comes to parole violations.  He says if a registered sex offender violates any parole condition, he wants that offender automatically subjected to a formal case review.

    But Fletcher doesn't want the review handled by corrections officials.  Instead, he wants to form an independent board that will determine the punishment for parole violators.

    "We need to keep these people behind bars," said Fletcher.