Governor and Fresno County Sheriff clear the air after voicemail regarding controversial proposition

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Governor and Fresno County Sheriff come face-to-face after a voicemail he left her last week criticizing a mailer she sent out about a ballot measure he is pushing. The two met last night at a reception and the Sheriff is attending a Cal State sheriff's meeting in Siskiyou County.

The voicemail from the Governor said, "I just want you to know that's completely false and that makes that mailer extremely false and I would even say malicious."

That voicemail caused a whole lot of chatter, which was cleared up, or at least aired out, when Governor Jerry Brown and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims met in Northern California at a law enforcement meeting.

"He approached me and he said, 'Margaret. you made me famous.' and I said, 'Governor, it's the other way around.' And that was the extent of our personal conversation," said Sheriff Mims.

The two are at odds over a proposition on the ballot-- Proposition 57. The proposition would increase parole chances for felons convicted of non-violent crimes and allow them to receive credits for good behavior. Criminal defense attorney Mark Coleman believes the proposition is needed.

"I think this new proposition is long overdue. I think too many people have been put away for too long and it's removed the discretion from the courts to make a decision as to who should go away for how long."

Sheriff Mims and several other California sheriffs are concerned by the definition of some crimes which are considered non-violent that would qualify some inmates for early release.

"The unfortunate part is what is a violent serious felony. It does not include rape by intoxication, drive-by shooting, domestic violence involving trauma, a hate crime causing serious injury, an arson causing great bodily injury," said Sheriff Mims.

The poster child for the Sheriff's 'No on 57' mailer is Arthur Lindsey. He is a 77-year-old inmate convicted of 10 counts including sex crimes with an unconscious person. The Sheriff believes under the proposition he would be eligible for parole after serving 8 years-- but Coleman has calculated his punishment.

"It could change alternative sentences like three strikes. Although my reading of this particular case is this individual would not be eligible for release for 35 years because two of the counts he received life sentences become violent sentences because of the life sentence."

The proposition has the Sheriff believing this will be bad for Fresno County and the criminals who could be released back to this area. She hopes in the future that all debates and discussion can be professional and productive.
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