Judge says 2 California laws are unconstitutional

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge says two California laws enacted through the initiative process are unconstitutional because they improperly change the punishment for crimes committed before the laws came into effect.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton of Sacramento ruled Friday that the so-called "Victims' Bill of Rights" and another bill that lets the governor reverse approved paroles can't be enforced.

Voters passed Proposition 9 in 2008, mandating longer periods of time between parole hearings.

The Sacramento Bee reports Karlton ruled that could result in longer sentences for prisoners than those they faced when their crimes were committed.

In 1988, voters passed Proposition 89, allowing governors to review and reverse paroles already approved by the Board of Parole Hearings in murder cases. Karlton's 58-page order says every governor has abused that power since the measure passed.

(Information in this story is from: The Sacramento Bee,

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