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Senator Mitchell Focused on Criminal Justice Reform

Senator-Holly-Mitchell-700x465When this year’s legislative session resumes Monday, Sen. Holly J. Mitchell will continue work on reforming the juvenile and criminal justice systems to improve public safety, save taxpayers money and put greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion.

The bills are part of the #EquityAndJustice package jointly sponsored with Sen. Ricardo Lara and are focused on needed changes to how California’s criminal justice system treats youths and young adults.

Here is a summary of the top bills the Los Angeles Democrat hopes will be approved and sent on to Gov. Brown before the Legislature’s scheduled adjournment on Sept. 15:

· SB 180 – Drug Sentence Enhancements
This dollar-saving reform measure seeks 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 one sentence enhancement for certain low level, nonviolent drug offenses. Status: To be voted on the Assembly floor.

· SB 190 – Ending Juvenile Fees
This would eliminate financially burdensome administrative fees for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and their struggling families. Status: To be reviewed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Aug. 23.

· SB 393 – Sealing of Arrest Records
This bill would seal arrest records and remove barriers to employment for those arrested but not convicted of a crime. Status: To be reviewed by the Assembly Appropriations committee.

· SB 394 – Juveniles Life Without the Possibility of Parole
This measure would bring California into compliance with Montgomery v. Louisiana decision that juveniles cannot be sentenced to Life Without Parole. Status: To be voted on the Assembly floor.

· SB 395 – Miranda Rights for Youth
This proposal would require those under the age of 18 to consult with legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights in interrogations with police. Status: To be voted on the Assembly floor.

One bill that’s part of the #EquityAndJustice package was signed by the governor on July 10. Senate Bill 355 puts an end to innocent defendants being required to reimburse the courts for the cost of appointed counsel by specifying that this requirement may only be imposed in cases where the defendant is ultimately convicted of a crime.

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.

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