Maldonado’s ‘Early Release’ Repeal Targets Wrong Offenders

abel maldonadoAbel Maldonado made it clear that his campaign against Gov. Jerry Brown’s prison realignment program is about stopping criminals like Jerome Rogers, the 57-year-old transient accused of killing an elderly San Bernardino County woman.

There is just one problem: Rogers was never part of the governor’s shift of state felons to county control.

The accused killer had a long history of crimes dating back to the 1970s, including a rape and the sodomy of a 14-year-old. But Rogers was released from prison in 2000, and discharged from parole in 2003 … eight years before Brown’s prison realignment took effect.

His criminal record remained clean until December, when he was sentenced to, and served, 13 days in the San Bernardino County jail for a local registration violation. He was arrested in April and charged with the November 2012 killing of an elderly woman, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Though Rogers was never released early, including from jail, Maldonado stood next to a giant placard of the man’s mugshot Wednesday and cited him as an example of how Brown’s prison program has gone wrong and increased violent crime. The former lieutenant governor, contemplating his own run for governor, is championing a statewide signature drive to repeal the governor’s program.

paige st johnMaldonado’s strategist at first insisted Rogers was an example of realignment, then said he exemplified the kind of offender on the streets because of the policy. “It’s people like him,” said Jeffrey Corless.

In the end, the suggestion to use Rogers as an example of realignment came from Mark Klaas, the father of murder victim Polly Klaas, whose 1993 slaying inspired the state’s three-strikes law. Klaas said he relied on a blog that blamed realignment for the man’s criminal history.

“The possibility exists there may be an error in this case,” Klaas said.

Paige St. John
Los Angeles Times

About Paige St. John

Paige St. John has been a working journalist for more than three decades, covering politics, the environment and natural disasters. She currently works in Sacramento, Calif., for the Los Angeles Times, covering the criminal justice system.


  1. Lydia Carrillo says:

    I just viewed the video of x prosecutor Preston Shipp from Tennesse, and I have always felt that not all prisoners are the worst people in the world! I have met a few, helped a few and now my son is in a prison for fighting. Everytime I go see him all I see is men that have people who love them, miss them and want them back home.. I pray that all the political people that have the power of making the decision to release these men that they can do some soul serching within themselfs , instead of trying to add more charges to their crimes and prolonging their prison term. They need programs to help them overcome teir life struggles, not everyone is born with a stabel home or good parents,so PLEASE give them the chance to prove themselfs and give them the tools needed. Thank you

    Lydia Carrillo


    I do believe in realinment! Look aT THEIR CONDUCT while they have been in prison.