Imprisoned felons get to vote?

A California appeals court has ruled that some of those who have been convicted of felonies, including: drug sales, grand theft or auto theft must be allowed to vote while they are imprisoned. Huh?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

…last year, McPherson, following a new opinion by Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s office, said the ban would apply to another group of convicts: those who had been convicted of felonies — crimes punishable by more than a year in prison — but who had been granted probation by the sentencing judge with conditions that included up to a year in a local jail.

Lockyer’s opinion said any convicted felon behind bars should be considered “imprisoned” and thus ineligible to vote. Thoma said McPherson had sought the opinion at the request of an unnamed county election official and was required to follow it.

The ACLU sued on behalf of the League of Women Voters, other voting-rights groups and three San Francisco jail inmates who were put on probation after felony convictions for drug sale or transportation, auto theft and grand theft. They were among 145,000 inmates placed on felony probation in California each year, of whom at least 100,000 are in jail at any one time, their lawyers said.

In a ruling last Thursday, the Court of Appeal in San Francisco said the disqualification of imprisoned felons from voting applies only to those who are sent to prison under the terms prescribed by law for their felonies. Inmates on probation are not serving sentences for felony crimes, but instead are under court supervision and subjected to various restrictions, including a period in jail, the court said

I can’t believe that I am agreeing with Bill Lockyer! These inmates are in jail for felony convictions. Thus, they should loose their right to vote until they have been released from prison and are no longer under the supervision for the crime of which they were convicted.

But leave it to the ACLU to provide legal aid to those who have no respect for the law.