Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Fitzgerald today re-sentenced and released career criminal John Paul Beckman over the objections of the district attorney's office.
The hearing was prompted by Prop. 36, the initiative voters passed in November to reform California's Three Strikes Law so that the most-recent offense is not "serious or violent."
Fitzgerald essentially ruled that, after a check of Beckman's criminal background, the Soledad prison inmate no longer poses a risk to public safety.
The Orange County District Attorney's office, to demonstrate its belief that Beckman should remain in prison for life because the 48-year-old remains a threat, released this criminal history:
On March 23, 1984, Beckman was convicted of one misdemeanor count of trespassing. Beckman was sentenced to two days in jail.
On Oct. 15, 1984, Beckman was convicted of one misdemeanor count of possession of stolen property. Beckman was sentenced to seven days in jail with two years of probation.
On April 8, 1985, Beckman was convicted of one felony count of possession of stolen property. Beckman was sentenced to one year in state prison and three years of probation.
On Dec. 16, 1985, Beckman was convicted of one felony count each of commercial burglary and possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to one year and four months in state prison. Beckman was granted parole on July 31, 1986, and violated his parole on Oct. 10, 1986.
On Sept. 17, 1986, Beckman was convicted of one felony count of residential burglary and was sentenced to 46 days in jail. (First Strike)
On March 31, 1987, Beckman was found to be in violation of his parole and returned to California Institution for Men, Chino to finish the duration of his sentence. Beckman violated his parole again on Jan. 10, 1989.
Let me just break in here to say that, based on what's above, someone other than the victims could see that Beckman was not exactly what comes to mind when you think violent criminal. And the you could see how a parolee with no options might easily fall into the drug quagmire that is to follow:
On Jan. 2, 1990, Beckman was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three years of probation.
On Aug. 1, 1990, Beckman was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance. The sentence for this offense was stayed pending the completion of the sentencing of his August 1990 armed robbery.
Yes, here is where it starts turning violent:
On Aug. 22, 1990, Beckman was convicted of one felony count of armed robbery with the use of a gun. He was sentenced to five years in state prison. (Second Strike)
On Feb. 10, 1995, Beckman was convicted of one felony count of commercial burglary and was sentenced to six years in state prison.
On Dec. 7, 2000, Beckman violated his parole. He violated his parole for a second time on April 10, 2002, and a third time on Sept. 23, 2002.
On Sept.10, 2003, Beckman was convicted of one felony count of forgery while he was out of custody on parole. Beckman was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. (Third Strike)
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OK, so you could make the case the first strike (burglary) and third count (forgery) do not a violent criminal make. But what about his time in prison?
Between 1986 and 2003, Beckman was found to be in violation of his parole on 13 different occasions. His criminal record states that he has not gone more than two years without a new commitment of a parole violation.
While incarcerated, Beckman committed several prison violations involving violence and threat of violence. In 1987, he was found guilty of possessing an inmate-manufactured knife. In 1988, Beckman was found guilty of stabbing another inmate. In 2009, Beckman participated in a prison riot and was heard inciting his fellow inmates to take part in the chaos.
Wait ... what? He stabbed a dude and he helped stir up a prison riot? Hmmm ... Yeah, well, anyway that guy might be moving next door to you.