The California legislature had passed critical new laws to protect those who were accused of serious crimes. These laws were to go into effect on January 1, 2008. However our California Governor decided to veto these new laws to prevent them from going into effect. This is a very sad development for persons who find themselves accused of serious crimes.
SB 511, SB 609 and SB 756 were three new laws designed to protect those persons accused of serious crimes. The laws would have made law enforcement accountable for their actions in their investigation of alleged criminal conduct.
The new laws would have done three critical things:
The law would have required police to make an electronic recording of all interrogations of accused persons in serious felony and all homicide cases. Too many times police prepare reports that are inaccurate and make accusations that admissions or confessions were made during police questioning. This law would have required police to properly record all such interviews. This would have then left no doubt as to what questions were asked and what answers were given in these interviews. However, the governor said this would have placed too great a burden on law enforcement.
The law would have also created a task force to study better ways for police to conduct in person and photo lineups. The governor also vetoed this law.
Finally, the new laws would have barred criminal convictions based upon the uncorroborated testimony of a “prison informant”. The governor would not allow this law to go into effect.
It is common knowledge that very often police lineups are seriously flawed and result in inaccurate identifications. Innocent people are sent to prison scores of times every year due to this police misconduct. However, the governor doesn’t believe that the current system should even be reviewed. More innocent citizens will not go to jail or prison due to this action on the part of our governor.
Everybody understands that prison inmate “informants” are very unreliable. Often those in custody will say anything if offered any type of leniency by the prosecution. Persons are wrongfully convicted on a regular basis due to the false testimony of such informants. This new law would no longer have permitted these confessions to be the sole evidence that could convict a defendant of a serious crime. However, our governor didn’t want to give defendants this critical benefit.
These acts by our governor are further evidence that the criminal justice system is tilting more and more in favor of the prosecution. Critical rights of those accused are being slowly taken away. More and more innocent people will go to prison unless our citizens wake up and elect individuals to make laws that care about the individual rights of our people. Keep this in mind the next time there is an election for governor in California. Who sits as our governor can have a tremendous impact on the freedom of the people in our state.
If you or someone you care about is facing a serious criminal case you should contact Wallin and Klarich. Our California criminal defense lawyers have been helping people accused of felony crimes in California for almost thirty years. We will be there when you call. You can reach us 24/7 at 888.280.6839.