Inmate Released Early Arrested On Rape Charges

(CBS13)   An inmate who was released early under a new law aimed to save the California state government money was arrested for attempted rape about 12 hours later, according to authorities.

The Sacramento Police Department said Kevin Eugene Peterson was released from prison at around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, but was back in cuffs hours later after allegedly attempting to rape a female counselor on the 1300 block of North C Street just after noon.

Peterson was booked into prison Tuesday afternoon on charges of attempted rape, sexual battery and violating probation.

Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness said Wednesday that it is “inevitable” that some suspects will reoffend and that the early release of inmates will strain law enforcement officers that are already facing budget cuts and a shortfall of resources.

“In this case, we’re only talking about a 16 day difference in terms of the time he would have been incarcerated; however, from the perspective of his victim… that 16 days would have made a huge difference,” Sheriff McGinness said. “The bottom line is: I don’t like this.”

The new state law requires “non-violent” misdemeanor offenders who are on good behavior to serve only 50 percent of their sentence, but Peterson was arrested in 2007 for assault with a deadly weapon after hitting someone with a broomstick.

McGinness said the new law doesn’t consider assault with a deadly weapon a violent crime unless it involves a firearm or results in “serious bodily injury.”

“Certainly, everyone would agree that to strike someone with a broomstick is a violent act, but under the specific provision set forth by this emergency declaration of law… it does not qualify,” McGinness said.

State Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) said Wednesday the arrest should prompt lawmakers to put the early release program on hold immediately.

“To release a criminal early to save the state money is one of the worst policies to ever come out of Sacramento,” Harman said. “This grand social experiment has created another victim and not saved the taxpayers a nickel. It will actually cost us more because we have to once more put this criminal through the system.”

One of the candidates for Sacramento County Sheriff released a statement Wednesday condemning the early releases and demanding the state allow local governments the option of refusing to release inmates early.

“The decimation of law enforcement resources due to budget cuts means that our worst fears are becoming reality,” Captain Jim Cooper said. “Response times to 911 calls have increased, Sheriff’s deputies have been laid off and now the State piles this on top of us. This is unacceptable and it must stop.”

As many as 500 inmates could go free by the end of this week in Sacramento County; as many as 6,000 could go free by the end of the year.

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