California Governor Jerry Brown only has a few months left in office, but he is using his remaining time to continue his goal to pass criminal justice reform. Recently, he signed several bills into law that will overhaul the state’s criminal and juvenile justice system. Let’s take a look at what these new laws will do.
Gov. Brown Passes Criminal Justice Reform Laws
Gov. Brown signed into law not one, but several new criminal justice reform laws. These laws will help reduce the prison population and the criminal justice system’s affect on poor and minority families.
The new laws include:
- Senate Bill 10 – This law eliminates California’s cash bail system as of October 2019. Under Sections 27771 and 1320.6 of the Government Code, monetary bail will be replaced by a risk-assessment system to determine whether an arrestee should be released into the community.
- Senate Bill 1050 – Under PC 290.007 and 3007.05, people who are exonerated for crimes will be provided with more and better services upon release. Additionally, those people will receive a sum of $1,000 once released. This law takes effect Jan. 1, 2019.
- Senate Bill 1391 – Beginning in 2019, Welfare and Institutions Code Section 707 will prevent minors under the age of 16 to be tried as adults.
- Senate Bill 439 – Children age 11 or younger shall not be incarcerated and instead released to their parents or guardians under Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 601 and 602. This law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
- Senate Bill 1393 – Judges will have more discretion when determining sentencing for serious felony convictions under PC 667 and 1385 starting on Jan. 1, 2019. Previously, the law required judges to add five years to the sentence for a serious felony, even when the judge believed the added punishment was not warranted.
- Senate Bill 1421 – This law, which takes effect July 1, 2019, removes confidentiality requirements for police personnel files in cases involving police shootings, sexual assault and other serious instances of misconduct under PC 832.7 and 832.8.
- Assembly Bill 748 – This new law also takes effect July 1, 2019. It requires that police body camera footage and audio be released in a timely manner in serious cases. California has very restrictive police records laws that often make it hard for prosecutors to get information when law enforcement may be in the wrong. Public trust may be easier to gain when there is more transparency into how law enforcement agencies investigate their employees.
- Senate Bill 1437 – The felony murder rule under PC 188 and 189 allowed those who were involved in the commission of any felony to be charged with murder regardless if he or she committed the homicide. For example, you could be charged with murder if you and your friend were committing burglary and your friend decided to shoot and kill someone. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the felony murder rule is eliminated under SB 1437.
- Assembly Bill 1793 – This law will require the department of justice to identify and automatically expunge the records of anyone convicted of a marijuana-related crime that is no longer a crime due to the legalization of marijuana by July 1, 2020.
“My view is that we should continue to work toward a more just system that respects victims, protects public safety, holds youth accountable, and also seeks a path of redemption and reformation whenever possible,” Gov. Brown said in a statement.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love may have been impacted by any of these new laws, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients accused of criminal offenses. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.