CA Senate Passes Support for Innocent and Released from Prison

The California Senate on May, 3, 2018 passed Senate Bill 1050 by a unanimous 38-0 vote to extend services and support for exonerated people released from prison after their wrongful convictions are overturned.

SB 1050 is one of five bills in the #EquityAndJustice2018 package carried jointly by Sens. Holly Mitchell and Ricardo Lara as follow-up measures to their initial #EquityAndJustice bills last year.

Since 1989, there have been a total of 192 exonerations in California.

“Under no circumstances should a person be convicted and sentenced for a crime they did not commit,” Mitchell said. “That it happens is a grave indicator of a broken system that desperately needs all of our focused attention. I ask that everyone support not only SB 1050 today, and also support our current fight for #EquityAndJustice2018.”

Lara agreed.

“The irony is that we provide more services to people who have actually committed a crime upon release than to the exonerated. Exonerees deserve better than being thrown out with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” Sen. Ricardo Lara said. “Justice has already failed these people. We cannot allow the state to fail them twice.”

The need to support exonerated people was highlighted by Gov. Brown’s recently pardon of Craig Coley, who was imprisoned for 38 years for a crime he did not commit – the longest time served by a wrongfully convicted person in California history.

The #EquityAndJustice2018 package includes bills that give healthcare and other support to exonerated people after prison, reform mandatory sentencing rules, and require youth age 14 and 15 who commit crimes be tried as juveniles not as adults.

The remaining bills in the #EquityAndJustice2018 package by the Los Angeles-area Democrats are:

SB 439 – Minimum Age Incarceration

This juvenile justice-reform measure 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. Status: Awaiting review by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

SB 1391 – Justice for children under age 16

Ensures that youth ages 14 and 15 who commit crimes get the services and help they need by prohibiting them from being tried as adults and keeping them in the juvenile justice system. Status: Awaiting review by Senate Appropriations Committee.

SB 1392 – One-Year Repeal

This proposal would repeal the 1-year sentence enhancement for felony convictions Status: Waiting to be taken up by the Senate.

SB 1393 – Five-Year Judicial Discretion

This proposal would return to prior statutory authority for judicial discretion on 5-year enhancements for serious felony convictions. Status: Waiting to be taken up by the Senate.

Ray Sotero

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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