Bill aimed at high risk transient parolees fails in Assembly committee

A bill that would have targeted high-risk transient parolees failed in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a party-line vote. The two Republicans on the committee voted yes and the five Democrats voted no.

Kate Tibbitts Act of 2022 was sponsored by Elk Grove Assemblyman Jim Cooper and was named for Kate Tibbetts who was murdered in her Land Park home along with her two dogs on September 3, 2021. The suspect in the case, Troy Davis, is a convicted felon and was arrested June of 2021, but released on zero bail. His parole officer was never notified of the arrest, which would have been a parole violation and likely kept Davis in jail.

Cooper’s office issued the following press release

Kate Tibbitts Act of 2022 Fails in Key Committee

Bill Would Help Prevent Senseless Acts of Violence by High-Risk Parolees

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 1827– the Kate Tibbitts Act of 2022, authored by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), failed on a 2-5 vote today in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. The bill would have required high-risk parolees to meet the stipulations of their parole agreement and enhance the ability of parole agents to locate high-risk parolees who are transient by requiring them to wear a location-monitoring device.

“I am very disappointed,” said Assemblymember Jim Cooper. “My heart goes out to the family of Kate Tibbitts. Sadly, five of the members of the Assembly Public Safety Committee think that it’s okay to not hold high-risk parolees accountable,” added Cooper. 

On September 3, 2021, 61-year-old Kate Tibbitts and her two dogs were brutally murdered and her home set on fire in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood. The suspect in the case was a transient high-risk parolee.

“It is frustrating and painful to know that today the Legislature failed to take steps in preventing future tragedies like the one that our family experienced,” said Dan Tibbitts. “The legislation authored by Assemblymember Jim Cooper and named of after our late sister would have made a difference in holding criminals accountable and protecting the public,” added Tibbitts.

Over 53,000 people in California are on parole, of which an estimated 10,000 are transient or homeless. Many parolees, including high-risk parolees (those convicted of violent crimes or required to register as sex offenders) have limited contact with their parole agent while on parole. Transient parolees are even more likely to have no contact or supervision due to not providing an address to the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

There are currently over 2,200 people on parole in Sacramento County, of which 370 declared no place of residence upon release.

Currently, high-risk parolees are required to meet certain conditions such as regularly reporting to a parole agent. If a parolee fails to meet their obligations, the parolee can be remanded into custody. However, high-risk parolees are virtually never remanded under current law because it is optional. Additionally, it is nearly impossible to locate a transient parolee.

AB 1827 – The Kate Tibbitts Act would have required all high-risk parolees who declare they are transient to wear a location-monitoring device until an address for the parolee is confirmed. Additionally, the legislation would have created a misdemeanor offense when a high-risk parolee knowingly refuses to report to their parole agent and would make the violation subject to up to 6 months in County Jail (not State Prison) upon conviction.

Furthermore, AB 1827 would have granted authority to the courts to not sentence a parolee to county jail but to instead revisit the stipulations of their parole.

AB 1827 failed on a 2-5 vote in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety.

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