In a recent turn of events, Thomas Maniscalco, a convicted felon who murdered three people, is granted compassionate release due to his dire medical condition.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer recently slammed the release of a man incarcerated 39 years for a Memorial Day massacre of three, including a 19 year old woman.
“Where is the compassion for the victims?” Spitzer said. “He has taken no responsibility for the lives he destroyed and soon he will be a free man with nothing to lose. At every turn, the California state Legislature and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has continued to show sympathy and concern for the murderer, but turned a blind eye to the murdered and their loved ones.”
“Maniscalco didn’t care about the pain and suffering of his victims as they took their last breaths and yet we are supposed to unleash a violent sociopath back into society so he can live out his final days out of custody. State law handcuffs judges from exercising their discretion to keep sadistic murders like him behind bars where he belongs – and that has to change.”
As the founder of the Hessian Motorcycle Club, which primarily operates on the West Coast, Maniscalco was affiliated with people that participated in drug and firearms-related activities.
In 1994, Mr. Maniscalco was convicted of several heinous crimes including three counts of second-degree murder, rape, and the torture of Rena Miley, the daughter of a Los Alamitos police officer. For these crimes, Maniscalco was sentenced to life in prison.
In addition, Maniscalco was also denied parole twice and is now seeking a solution under the compassionate release statute. Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, Maniscalco is promised early release under the newly amended California Compassionate Release Program. The program is designed to grant terminally ill inmates a last window of freedom, with obvious provisions of supervision and specific stipulations.
Though the program was enacted before 2015, less than 100 inmates were released under the program. This is due to the high denial rate, as well as the slow process of gathering credible evidence to ensure that the referred inmate will not pose harm to society.
Orange County DA Todd Spitzer has been vocal about compassionate releases, stating that it neglects the victim’s family and shows biased sympathy. Indeed, DA Spitzer might have a point. During the evaluation of a prisoner’s release, a judge is asked to consider only whether the current physical and mental state of the prisoner warrants a compassionate release. However, the judges are asked to ignore and discount the severity of crimes that said prisoner has been found guilty of.
Those against the statute say that the legislation grants freedom to proven felons who pose harm to communities, despite their medical conditions. In Maniscalco’s case, the presiding judge that convicted him stated on public record that “Maniscalco was a dangerous sociopath...and he would never cease to pose a threat to the County”.