Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward fears that a third-strike convicted felon will have his life in prison sentence significantly reduced because of Proposition 57.
Proposition 57, passed by California voters in 2016, allows non-violent felons to be released once they have served the full sentence for their primary offense.
The backstory: On March 6, 2023, Tulare County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Luis Nuno, 38, for threatening to stab two people with a knife.
- Last November, Nuno was found guilty of two counts of felony criminal threats with special allegations that he used a weapon, threatened great bodily harm with a deadly weapon, possessed prior serious convictions and possessed prior strikes.
- Nuno was also found guilty of theft in a separate case and has a lengthy criminal record throughout California, Utah and Arizona, including prior strikes for burglary in 2013 and 2014 in Tulare County.
- He was sentenced to 56 years-to-life in prison for the third strike offense of threatening to kill people while armed with a knife on Jan. 24.
The big picture: Ward sounded the alarm on Monday that Nuno’s sentence may ultimately be moot because of Proposition 57.
- In a statement, ard explained that “criminal threats” is not currently considered a violent felony under state law.
- Nuno is classified as a non-violent inmate under Proposition 57.
- Once he completes his incarceration on the first count – three years – he could be eligible for early release.
What they’re saying: “This case is a classic example of the fraud Proposition 57 created by eliminating truth in sentencing,” Ward said. “To categorize crimes such as criminal threats and domestic violence as ‘nonviolent’ is an affront to crime victims across the state. Every day, my prosecutors fight for justice in our courtrooms, yet their hard work which resulted in this ‘life’ sentence is utterly undermined by Proposition 57. Victims and their families deserve to have truth in sentencing in California.”