In the News

September 14, 2015

Last Thursday, the Sisyphean boulder of property rights and due process rolled downhill. SB 443, California’s attempt to summarily end civil-asset forfeiture and “equitable sharing” abuse, roundly failed passage in the State Assembly, 24 to 44.

Oddly enough, this was after a 31-to-1 vote in the Senate three months earlier. The only change to come about during the interim was the emergence of organized resistance on behalf of law enforcement and district attorneys.

Source: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/423957/civil-asset-forfeiture-california

August 24, 2015

One of the markers of the nation's anti-drug frenzy in the 1980s was a sharp increase in civil asset forfeitures, in which law enforcement agencies seize the cash, cars and other property that they claim are used in the commission of crimes. They are able to target and penalize a suspected drug dealer, for example, even when they can't win a criminal conviction.

They would be curbed by SB 443, a bill sponsored in the Legislature by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). It would require the return of property seized even in partnership with a federal agency, unless there is a criminal conviction. And even if there is a conviction, the money would have to be distributed more widely and not be simply divvied up among the cops and prosecutors, the locals and the feds.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-0823-asset-20150823-story.html

August 22, 2015

Civil asset forfeiture has become particularly lucrative for some jurisdictions, with the Southern California cities of Pomona, Baldwin Park, Beverly Hills and South Gate acquiring more property than California's largest cities.

To address this growing problem, Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, introduced Senate Bill 443 with Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, and Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Manhattan Beach, as co-authors. The bipartisan bill reforms California's asset forfeiture law by prohibiting transfer of a state forfeiture matter to federal authorities.

Source: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article31460645.html

August 22, 2015

It's time to do away with those caps, known as “maximum family grants.” Sen. Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) is trying to do that with SB 23, which is stuck in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The sticking point isn't philosophical. It's that repealing the cap comes at a cost of about $200 million a year — money the Legislature specifically decided not to include in the recently passed budget.

We approve of the fiscal prudence exercised by the governor and Legislature this year. But everyone expects revenues to be higher than projected. If so, $200 million would be just a small drop in the state's funding bucket yet would do so much good for the state's neediest families. There's also the potential that providing higher monthly welfare checks would reduce other state expenses, such as Medi-Cal costs to pay for illness in children caused or exacerbated by poverty.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-calworks-20150821-story.html

August 17, 2015

This year, State Senator Holly Mitchell, (D-Los Angeles), introduced Senate Bill 23, a repeal of the Maximum Family Grant rule, on the grounds that it has only driven poor women deeper into poverty, and done nothing to reduce the birth rate of women on welfare.

Source: http://capitalandmain.com/latest-news/issues/politics-and-government/californias-worst-law-and-whats-behind-the-repeal-movement-0817/

August 13, 2015

This week, the state of California passed two laws that address the use of deadly force by law enforcement, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Source: http://www.newsweek.com/california-ferguson-police-violence-grand-juries-law-362365

August 12, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law a bill barring grand juries from deciding on charges in cases involving police use of lethal force.

Source: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/8/12/california-law-bars-grand-juries-in-police-lethal-force-cases.html

August 12, 2015

California will no longer use grand juries in cases involving police shootings of civilians after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill Tuesday banning the secret deliberations.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-grand-juries-police_55cb517ee4b0923c12bebda7

August 11, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Tuesday a measure that prohibits secret grand juries to weigh in on cases involving excessive or deadly force by law enforcement, and another affirming the public’s right to take audio or video recordings of police officers.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-brown-grand-juries-20150811-story.html

August 11, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation prohibiting the use of grand juries in California in cases where police officers use lethal force, a response to distrust of the grand jury process following the deaths of unarmed black men in other states.

Source: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article30736917.html