Important Dates & Deadlines
January 17th – 2-Year Bills Policy Committee Deadline /
January 24th – 2-Year Bills Fiscal Committee Deadline /
January 31st – 2-Year Bills House of Origin Deadline /
February 21st – Last day for bills to be introduced
California rang in 2020 with hundreds of new state laws. In 2019 alone, Governor Gavin Newsom signed almost 1,200 bills and many of them took effect on January 1st. These bills address a range of issues including employment practices, privacy, criminal justice and more. A few related to CVUC interests include:
- AB 392 (Weber) requires officers to use lethal force only when necessary, based on the totality of the circumstances during a given encounter. Previously, officers could use deadly force when they felt it was reasonable to do so.
- AB 415 (Maienschein) authorizes the California Victim Compensation Board to compensate a crime victim for the costs of temporary housing for a pet and for any pet deposit that may be required for relocation associated with a crime.
- CVUC’s sponsored bill, AB 433 (Ramos) requires a hearing in open court before early termination of probation, and for crime victims and their attorneys to be made aware of early termination of probation.
- AB 484 (Jones-Sawyer) removes a mandatory minimum sentence for certain drug crimes, allowing for judicial discretion in imposing any period of confinement.
- AB 629 (Smith) authorizes the California Victim Compensation Board to provide compensation equal to loss of income or support to victims of human trafficking.
- AB 965 (Stone) authorizes the secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to allow persons eligible for youthful offender parole to obtain an earlier youth offender parole hearing by earning certain educational merit credits, subject to CDCR regulations.
- AB 1076 (Ting) requires the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish the automated record clearance system for individuals arrested or convicted after January 1, 2021, and will replace the current one, in which individuals must petition directly to the court. The new system will exclude registered sex offenders and those with any pending criminal charges.
- AB 1618 (Jones-Sawyer) prohibits plea bargains that require a defendant to generally waive unknown future potential benefits of changes in the law that may occur after the date of the plea.
- SB 22 (Leyva) requires law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits to a crime lab or other rapid turnaround DNA program within 20 days.
- SB 36 (Hertzberg) is intended to improve transparency for pretrial risk assessments by requiring regular validation of assessment tools and requiring the Judicial Council to publish a yearly report on its website with data related to outcomes and potential biases.
- SB 136 (Wiener) removes the 1-year sentence enhancement that is applied to current sentences for each prior felony jail or prison term served.
- SB 310 (Skinner) permits a person with a felony conviction to serve on a jury, unless they are on any form of supervision for a felony conviction, or are a registered sex offender.
- SB 375 (Durazo) extends the deadline for victims of violent crimes to file an application for compensation from three years to seven years.
- SB 394 (Skinner) authorizes a court, in consultation with the prosecuting entity and the public defender, to create a pretrial diversion program for defendants who are primary caregivers of a child under 18 years of age.
Governor Issues Initial 2020-2021 Budget Proposal
Governor Gavin Newsom released his 2020-21 budget proposal to the Legislature on Friday, January 10th. The budget calls for a record-high $222.2 billion in spending and specifically contains 3.5 percent more spending than lawmakers enacted for the current fiscal year which ends June 30th. Newsom’s plan aims to tackle homelessness, emergency preparedness, health care costs criminal justice reforms, and more.
Some criminal justice and victim-centered highlights of the budget proposal include:
- Prison Closure – Provides that if the downward prison population trends hold, the Administration will seek to close a state-operated prison within the next five years.
- Correctional Staff Development and Support – Acknowledges that a critical component of a well-functioning correctional system is a professional, well-trained workforce by providing ongoing funding to enhance staff development through new training for correctional officers and counselors.
- Juvenile Justice Reorganization – Transfers funding and staff positions from CDCR to reflect the transition of the Division of Juvenile Justice to the Department of Youth and Community Restoration.
- Restitution Fund Backfill – Provides $23.5 million in one-time General Fund to backfill declining fine and fee revenues in the Restitution Fund. The funding will allow the Victims Compensation & Government Claims Board to continue operating at its current resource level.
- Legal Services for Victims – Provides funding to the DOJ to provide legal services to victims based on the need and increased public awareness of the availability of legal services for victims.
- Victim Notification by the CDCR – Provides ongoing funding to locate and notify affected victims of their rights during parole hearings, and to disburse restitution payments to eligible individuals.
While significant, this is merely the opening salvo in a long process that will play out with legislative hearings and a revision released by the Governor in May (“May Revise”). The package, with legislative adjustments, must be finalized by June 15th in time for the Governor to sign the package and the new fiscal year to begin on July 1st. Budget overview hearings will be scheduled in the next couple of weeks with subcommittee hearings scheduled in March/April. Stay tuned…
For more information, please see https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/01/10/governor-newsom-proposes-2020-21-state-budget/.
Assemblymember Arambula Named “Mod Dem” Caucus Chair
This month, the informal moderate caucus — also known as the “Mod Dems” — tapped Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) as their next leader or “convener” of the caucus. Generally speaking, the caucus is a bloc of centrist Democratic Assemblymembers from throughout the state who serve as a counterweight to those farther left on the political spectrum. Members of the caucus tend to be more conservative on some key issues, such as taxes. The membership is also more receptive to siding with business and pro-public safety interests than their fellow Democrats.
Newsom Calls For More Oversight of California’s Jails
Governor Gavin Newsom told The Fresno Bee editorial board recently that he is developing a plan that would give the state more power to oversee local sheriffs and the facilities they run. According to Newsom, the measure will be part of a broader criminal justice reform package, which could include adding “step-down facilities” to bolster rehabilitation and reentry options for people being released from custody and, ultimately, shutting one of the state’s 35 prisons.
Newsom’s comments follow investigatory work by McClatchy and ProPublica asserting that jails have often failed to keep inmates safe. Further, McClatchy and ProPublica reported that state officials created an agency to oversee the jails and revise standards, but it has no authority to mandate changes or improve conditions.
Notably, AB 1185 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), which would have authorized a county to establish a sheriff oversight board with subpoena power over county sheriffs, stalled last year with opposition from local law enforcement. The California State Sheriffs’ Association called that measure “unnecessary,” but McCarty purportedly intends to push forward again this year. Stay tuned…
DOJ Releases Third Racial & Identity Profiling Report
The California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (Board), on which CVUC Advisory Board member LaWanda Hawkins serves, announced this month the release of the third annual report required under the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (RIPA) established by AB 953 (Weber). The report conveys the details of an analysis for the roughly 1.8 million stops conducted by California’s eight largest enforcement agencies during the second half of 2018. It also reviews complaint data from civilians and provides recommendations law enforcement can use to revise policies, procedures and trainings on issues related to bias and racial and identity profiling.
As part of the analysis and data collected under the RIPA law, information and data is collected on peace officers’ perceptions of the demographics of stopped individuals to attempt to systematically document and analyze stops and searches for possible disparities across demographics. A few highlights directly from the Attorney General’s press release and Report include:
- Reason for Stop: Across all racial and ethnic groups, the most common reason peace officers reported for initiating a stop was a traffic violation (84.4%) and the next most common reason was reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (11.4%). People who were perceived as Black had the highest proportion of stops for reasonable suspicion while those who were perceived as Middle Eastern or South Asian had the lowest.
- Perceived as Black: 19.5%
- Perceived as Middle Eastern or South Asian: 3.6%
- Weighted Residential Population Compared to Stop Data: Using data from the 2017 American Community Survey, people who were perceived as Black were overrepresented in the stop data and people perceived as Asian were underrepresented as compared to population estimates.
- Perceived as Black: +8.8%
- Perceived as Asian: -6.4%
- Veil of Darkness Analysis: This method compares the proportion of individuals stopped during daylight hours across racial or ethnic groups. Having a higher proportion of stops occur in daylight compared to people perceived as White may indicate bias. People perceived as Pacific Islander or Native American had the highest proportion of their stops in daylight compared to those perceived as White, whereas people perceived as Black or Middle Eastern or South Asian had the lowest.
- Perceived as Pacific Islander: +7%
- Perceived as Native American: +4.5%
- Perceived as Middle Eastern or South Asian: -0.05%
- Perceived as Black: -1.2%
- Search Rates: Search rates refer to the proportion of stops that resulted in a search. People who were perceived as Black were searched at 2.9 times the rate of people perceived as White. The proportion of stops that resulted in a search was highest for people who were perceived as Black and lowest for people who were perceived as Middle Eastern or South Asian.
- Perceived as Black: 18.7%
- Perceived as Middle Eastern or South Asian: 2.8%
- Search Yield Rates: Search yield rate refers to the proportion of individuals that officers searched who were found to be in possession of contraband or evidence. All racial or ethnic groups of color had lower yield rates of contraband or evidence than White individuals, meaning that officer searches of these groups tended to be less successful at finding contraband or evidence. The proportion of searched individuals that officers found to be in possession of contraband or evidence was highest for people who were perceived as White and lowest for people who were perceived as Middle Eastern or South Asian.
- Perceived as White: 24.3%
- Perceived as Middle Eastern or South Asian: 18.8%
For more information, please see https://oag.ca.gov/ab953.
Amid Car Burglary Epidemic, Prosecutors Call To Tighten Vehicle Break-In Law
Automobile break-ins continue to be a statewide problem. The data shows that there were 243,000 thefts from automobiles last year across California. In some cities, the issue has reached crisis levels. As an example, San Francisco has approximately 70 auto burglaries a day and city officials have said that without doing more to address the problem the figures will remain historically high. In response, over the last several years, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has sought to close a loophole that hinders prosecutions for automobile break-ins. More specifically, the proposal seeks to eliminate the requirement that to prove auto burglary, the prosecution must prove that the door to the car was locked, even if the evidence shows that the defendant bashed in a window.
Senator Wiener, who introduced the legislation at the request of the San Francisco district attorney’s office, has said, “It’s ridiculous that under current law you can have a video of someone bashing out a car window, but if you can’t prove that the door is locked you may not be able to get an auto burglary conviction.” However, his bills have stalled the last two consecutive years. While Senator Wiener has stated that he was never given an explanation by colleagues who decided to hold the bills in committee, he does note that lawmakers are generally reluctant to approve any measure that has the potential to increase the prison population. Nevertheless, California’s auto burglary problem does not appear to be going away and the Senator is hopeful his bill will get passed “eventually.” Stay tuned…
Mary McComb, of Davis, has been reappointed state public defender in the Office of the State Public Defender, where she has served as state public defender since 2016. McComb held several positions in the Office of the State Public Defender from 1992 to 2015, including supervising deputy state public defender and deputy state public defender. She was an associate attorney at Kelman Loria from 1990 to 1991. McComb was an attorney at the Community Law Center from 1987 to 1990 and a teacher at Commonwealth High School from 1983 to 1984. McComb is a member of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, the California Public Defenders Association and the California Appellate Defense Counsel. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School. This position requires Senate confirmation. McComb is a Democrat.
Guillermo Viera Rosa, of Sacramento has been appointed undersecretary of operations at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he has served as director of the Division of Correctional Policy Research and Internal Oversight since 2018 and served in several positions from 2013 to 2018, including director of adult parole operations, southern regional parole administrator, associate director of parole and parole administrator. Viera Rosa was a deputy commissioner at the Board of Parole Hearings from 2007 to 2009. He held several positions at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2000 to 2007, including parole agent, supervisor, and correctional counselor. Viera Rosa served as a San Bernardino County probation officer from 1995 to 2000. He earned a Master of Arts degree in social science and leadership studies from Azusa Pacific University. This position requires Senate confirmation. Viera Rosa is registered without party preference.
Hillary Iserman, of Roseville, has been reappointed deputy superintendent of correctional education at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where she has served as deputy superintendent of correctional education since 2017. She was assistant chief of education at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2016, where she served in several positions from 2000 to 2016, including supervisor of correctional education programs, supervisor of academic instruction, and teacher. This position does not require Senate confirmation. Iserman is a Republican.
Brantley Choate, of Rocklin, has been reappointed director of the Division of Rehabilitative Programs at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he has served as director of the Division of Rehabilitative Programs since 2017. Choate was superintendent of correctional education at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2014 to 2017. He was director of inmate educational programs at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from 2011 to 2014, director of adult education at the Sacramento City Unified School District from 2008 to 2011 and held multiple positions at the Hayward Adult School from 2007 to 2008, including principal and assistant principal. He founded the Golden Hills School in 1992, where he was principal from 1992 to 2003, and was owner of the El Dorado Tutorial Center from 1990 to 1993. Choate was an English as a second language teacher for the Liberty Union High School District from 1988 to 1990 and for the Brentwood Union School District from 1987 to 1991. He earned Doctor of Education and Master of Arts degrees in educational leadership from Saint Mary’s College. Choate was confirmed to this position by the Senate in 2018. Choate is a Republican.
Kevin Hoffman, of Sacramento, has been reappointed deputy director of program operations in the Division of Rehabilitative Programs at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he has served as deputy director of program operations in the Division of Rehabilitative Programs since 2015. Hoffman was deputy executive director at the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission from 2011 to 2015, where he was mental health program supervisor in 2011. He held multiple positions at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in the Office of Substance Abuse and Treatment Services from 2001 to 2011, including staff services manager, associate governmental program analyst and staff services analyst. He was a youth correctional counselor at the Karl Holton Youth Correctional Facility in 2001, where he was a youth correctional officer from 2000 to 2001. T his position does not require Senate confirmation. Hoffman is a Democrat.
Ryan Souza, of Sacramento, has been reappointed deputy director for program support at the Division of Rehabilitative Programs of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he has served as deputy director for program support at the Division of Rehabilitative Programs since 2016. Souza served in several positions in the Budget Management Branch of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2013 to 2016 and in 2011 and 2009, including chief of budget field operations, assistant chief of technical operations, staff services manager, associate budget analyst and budget analyst. He was a medical contract analyst at Valley State Prison from 2009 to 2011. Souza earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Humphreys University School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation. Souza is a Democrat.
Shannon Swain, of Danville, has been reappointed superintendent at the Office of Correctional Education at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where she has served as superintendent at the Office of Correctional Education since 2017 and was deputy superintendent from 2014 to 2017. Swain was a subject matter expert of correctional education at Synergy Correctional Technology Services from 2012 to 2014. She served in several positions at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation parolee educational programs, operated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, from 1989 to 2012, including principal, program manager, project coordinator and teacher. Swain was an assistant program manager at Orange County Youth and Family Services from 1984 to 1989. This position does not require Senate confirmation. Swain is a Democrat.