June 23, 2017: SACRAMENTO BEE - Criminal justice

June 23, 2017

Proposed legislation to change California’s criminal justice system is headed to the governor’s desk.

“Under current criminal law, a low-income, homeless or impoverished person who is accused of a crime that they did not commit can still be ordered to pay the court for the costs of a court-appointed attorney,” said state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, who authored Senate Bill 355 with Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, that would reverse the practice.

Other bills are included in the Mitchell-Atkins package of criminal justice proposals. They would bar the state from prosecuting children under age 12, make it state law that juveniles can’t be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, require people under 18 to consult with legal counsel before waiving constitutional rights during interrogations and seal arrest records for those arrested but not convicted of a crime.

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