As Election Season Looms, More Criminal Law Reforms Signed into Law

While Prop. 47 has been in the headlines with all the reforms in California criminal law, Governor Jerry Brown has quietly signed yet another group of criminal reform laws effective in 2017.

Last week, Brown signed into law:

  • S.B. 1134: sponsored by Sens. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), would allow prisoners to challenge their convictions with new evidence that would have likely have changed the outcome of their trials, easing the current standard of proof that requires near-certain proof of innocence.
  • A.B. 813: sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), would allow immigrants facing deportation for criminal convictions to offer newly discovered evidence that they were wrongfully convicted. Those eligible are those who have served his or her sentence.
  • S.B. 1139: sponsored by Sens. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) and Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) will require police to record all interrogations of murder suspects. These recordings can be used by jurors can to decide whether confessions were voluntary or coerced. The bill has been supported by the California Police Chiefs Association, and effectively expands the current law that applies to juvenile murder suspects.
  • AB 1909: sponsored by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, will make it a felony for prosecutors to falsify or withhold evidence. The crime would be punishable by up to three years in prison, depending of the severity of the crime. Falsifying or withholding evidence was previously a misdemeanor for the general public and a felony for law enforcement officers in the state. The law is a response to the jailhouse informant scandal that continues to plague Orange County, California, where Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders has accused county prosecutors and police of violating defendants’ rights for years through illegally obtaining and withholding, evidence taken from jail informants.

The changes do not end there. This November, California voters will actually consider a repeal of California’s death penalty. A similar one was proposed in 2012 and narrowly defeated. Voters will also consider another ballot initiative backed by Governor Brown that would overhaul state sentencing laws and allow thousands of prisoners to apply for early parole.

San Diego Criminal Defense and Trial Attorney

The Law Offices of David M. Boertje has handled all types of misdemeanor and felony criminal cases throughout San Diego County, including immigration law matters, drug offenses, expungements, and violent crimes. Do not try to fight criminal charges alone. We have successfully represented many defendants. We will work to ensure your rights through the booking process to charging, and throughout your trial. We will comb through the evidence against you to fight for a fair trial to keep you out of jail. If you have been charged with  any crime, contact attorney David Boertje today. Consultations are free and confidential.