Oct. 19, 2017: Sens. Lara and Mitchell praise continued momentum for reform; thank community

October 19, 2017

Stakeholders on hand in support

LOS ANGELES – Sens. Ricardo Lara and Holly J. Mitchell today formally praised Gov. Brown and community members for supporting their #EquityAndJustice package to reform California’s juvenile and adult justice systems.

Along with Senate Bill 355, which Brown signed in July, the new laws comprise a #EquityAndJustice package authored jointly by Lara and Mitchell and introduced last March to promote crime prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion.

The Los Angeles Democrats also thanked the scores of sponsors and hundreds of community members for their support during a press conference and community celebration at the Youth Justice Coalition on East Redondo Boulevard in Inglewood.

Lara and Mitchell introduced the Equity and Justice bills in March in response to new research into youth resiliency and young people’s powerful stories about the negative impact of incarceration.

SB 395 will help prevent false confessions by requiring young people age 15 and younger consult with an attorney before they waive their Miranda rights.

SB 394 allows young people sentenced to life without parole to have a parole hearing after 25 years, complying with a recent U.S. Supreme Court case.

Many of the bills in the #EquityAndJustice package won bipartisan support in the California Legislature and were supported by dozens of groups across the state that promote civil rights and juvenile justice reform:

  • SB 180 – Drug Sentence Enhancements
    This reform measure seeks to put greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion by reducing sentence enhancements for certain low level, nonviolent drug offenses. SB 180 had five cosponsors and was supported by nearly 200 business, community, legal and public-service groups.
  • SB 190 – Ending Juvenile Fees
    This would eliminate financially burdensome administrative fees for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and their struggling families.  SB 190 had six cosponsors and nearly 70 supporters.
  • SB 355 - No Court Fees for the Innocent (signed July 10)
    This provides that only those who are convicted of a crime are required to reimburse the courts for legal counsel fees. SB 355 was sponsored by the Conference of California Bar Associations and six justice-rights groups.
  • SB 393 – Sealing of Arrest Records
    Seals arrest records and remove barriers to employment for those arrested but not convicted of a crime. Sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón.
  • SB 394 – Juveniles Life Without the Possibility of Parole
    Brings California into compliance with the Montgomery v. Louisiana decision that juveniles cannot be sentenced to Life Without Parole. Co-sponsored by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, #cut50, Human Rights Watch, National Center for Youth Law, Pacific Juvenile Defender Center and Youth Justice Coalition.
  • SB 395 – Miranda Rights for Youth
    Requires those age 15 or younger to consult with legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights in interrogations with police. Co-sponsored by Human Rights Watch, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Silicon Valley De-Bug, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and the National Center for Youth Law.

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

Sen. Mitchell is chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review 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