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CA Policy: The Law Offices of John Lovell

"Welcome to the Law Offices of John Lovell.  During the twenty years our firm has been in existence over 99% of the bills we have lobbied for have been signed into law in the California State Legislature.  The short and simple truth is, our effectiveness is unparalleled."

This is the opening statement on The Law Offices of John Lovell's homepage.  John Lovell is one of the most prominent lobbyists in Sacramento, California; representing many corrections and law enforcement unions on issues of criminal justice policy.  His website lists current and former clients including in pertinent part:


Current Clients:


"¢ California Police Chiefs' Association
"¢ California Narcotic Officers Association
"¢ California Correctional Supervisors Organization


Former Clients:


"¢ Los Angeles District Attorney
"¢ California Peace Officers' Association


A review of John Lovell's clientele reveals a consistency of agenda.  These correctional and law enforcement associations have historically supported similar "tough on crime" legislation that have contributed to California's burgeoning prison population. The same correctional and law enforcement associations have also opposed bills focused on rehabilitation and alternatives to incarceration.  Currently opposed bills are linked above.  


Mr. Lovell has created a niche of specialized criminal justice lobbying by representing organizations with the same "tough on crime" policy agendas.  This pooling of associations means that the funding allotment he receives for lobbying on particular criminal justice bills is also aggregated.  When combined, John Lovell's ability to lobby in the criminal justice field is magnified.  In the first two quarters of the 2011/2012 legislative session, John Lovell has received a combined $104,400 from corrections and law enforcement associations to lobby on various elements of criminal justice legislation.  Mr. Lovell received $479,606 in the 2009/2010 legislative session, and $465,192 in the 2007/2008 session from this "tough on crime" sector.


Although the proclamation of his "unparalleled effectiveness" is a bold one, John Lovell has enjoyed a successful lobbying career in California.  By building a collection of special interest groups that share the same criminal justice agenda, he is able to amplify his voice in this political arena and influence far more legislative policy decisions than an independent organization would on their own.  His strength and ability to influence criminal justice policy in California has contributed to our current state of mass incarceration, as the associations he represents encourage policies that emphasize harsher sentencing rather than effective public safety.  For example, a recent CJCJ analysis demonstrated that the 1994 "Three Strikes" law has had no demonstrable effect on violent crime levels or trends, despite strong support for the law from correctional associations.  One must question why half a million dollars is expended to one lobbyist each year to push these policies that do not contribute to public safety.

Keywords: interest groups, Selena Teji

Posted in Blog, Political Landscape

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