June 22, 2017: Legislature sends governor first in package of criminal justice-reform bills

June 22, 2017

Senate Bill 355 by Sens. Mitchell and Lara now goes to Gov. Brown                                                                                                                          
SACRAMENTO – The California Legislature sent Gov. Brown the first in a package of criminal justice-reform bills seeking to improve public safety, save taxpayers money and put greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion.

Specifically, Senate Bill 355 addresses the problem of innocent defendants being required to reimburse the courts for the cost of appointed counsel by specifying that this requirement may be imposed only in cases where the defendant is actually convicted of a crime.

“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,” Sen. Holly J. Mitchell said after the Assembly this week approved SB 355. “We are hopeful that Gov. Brown will support SB 355 and the rest of the bills in our package. Together, we can bring compassion, reason and greater social awareness about the true costs of a criminal justice system.”

SB 355 is the one of seven bills jointly authored by Sens. Mitchell and Ricardo Lara that largely addresses how California’s criminal justice system treats youth and young adults. The two Los Angeles-area Democrats unveiled the measures March 20th at a press conference that can be viewed HERE.

The governor has about two weeks to sign SB 355, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.

The remaining bills are currently pending in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The remaining bills in the #EquityAndJustice package are:

SB 180 – Drug Sentence Enhancements
This dollar-saving reform measure is a modest step toward enacting the bipartisan movement to end wasteful incarceration spending in favor of community reinvestment by amending the code section that doubles or triples the sentence for specified nonviolent drug offenses.

SB 190 – Ending Juvenile Fees
This would eliminate burdensome administrative fees for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and their families.

SB 393 – Sealing of Arrest Records
Senate Bill 393 seals arrest records and remove barriers to employment for those arrested but not convicted of a crime and is sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón.

SB 394 – Juveniles Life Without the Possibility of Parole
Brings California into compliance with Montgomery v. Louisiana decision that juveniles cannot be sentenced to Life Without Parole.

SB 395 – Miranda Rights for Youth
This bill would require those under the age of 18 to consult with legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights in interrogations with police.

SB 439 – Minimum Age for Prosecution
This bill would exclude children age 11 and younger from juvenile court jurisdiction and would promote the rights, health and well-being of the child by curbing premature exposure to incarceration.

For more information, visit Sen. Mitchell’s Web site HERE or at the address below.

Sen. Mitchell is chair of the Senate Budget Committee. A member of the Legislature for more than six years,  she represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 30, which includes Culver City and much of Los Angeles. See a map of Mitchell’s district that includes a demographic breakdown of its residents and more HERE. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/Mitchell

Sen. Lara is chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and was first elected to the Legislature in 2010. He represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 33, which includes Long Beach and the Southeast Los Angeles cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, South Gate, and much of Los Angeles. More at www.senate.ca.gov/lara


Communications Director

Sen. Holly Mitchell, Senate District 30

Capitol Building, Room 5080

Sacramento, Calif. 95814

(916) 651-4030 office; 916 717-0513 cell