Crime Victims United Legislative Update

 OCTOBER 2009 

The 2009 Legislative Session has come to a close with the Governor taking action on 1,108 bills of the 3,052 introduced this year.  More specifically, the Governor signed roughly 478 and vetoed 229 bills in the final hours leading up to the October 11th signature deadline.

The fate of the over 700 bills sent to the Governor at the end of session hung in the balance late Sunday as a result of the Legislature’s inability to reach a compromise on a plan to address the State’s water crisis.  Governor Schwarzenegger had initially threatened to veto all of the bills on his desk if a deal was not reached; however, he backed down in the final hours citing the progress the Legislature had made in its discussions.  The Governor has since called a Special Session on the issue, in addition to those already underway for education and tax reform. 

In the end, 2009 was a challenging year on all fronts.  The outlook for the year was dampened from the start as the State faced a roughly $40 billion budget deficit.  The Legislature ultimately had to take two passes at the budget deficit in order to resolve it – February and July – yet despite the action, the State still faces out year deficits in the billions.  For FY 2010-2011 alone finance experts are already forecasting a $7.4 billion deficit.  To add to the issue, the State Controller indicated last week that decreasing tax receipts will likely push the deficit higher with the state already about $1 billion short of what was anticipated in the FY 2009-2010 budget package.

Stay tuned…

2009-2010 Corrections Budget Recap

After months of debate, the Legislature approved a watered-down version of the Corrections budget package aimed at addressing the $1.2 billion unallocated cut to the Department of Corrections provided in the July budget package.  The highly controversial provisions that included instituting an independent sentencing commission, early release of inmates to alternative custody, and changing a number of wobbler crimes to misdemeanors were removed from the plan.  CVUC worked tirelessly with other public safety representatives to ensure these provisions, among others, were addressed. 

Although the package is far better than the package originally proposed by the Governor and Legislature, it is not perfect and will undoubtedly have consequences.  The package includes updates to the property crime thresholds to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI); inmate credit enhancements for those that participate in programs while in prison; summary parole/banked caseloads for parole that would reduce parole supervision for “nonviolent,” “nonserious” and “nonsex” offenders (this component of the package would also eliminate revocation for these parolees); and more. 

Specific to the provisions related to “nonviolent,” “nonserious” and “nonsex” classifications, we would remind our colleagues that under current California law offenders that have committed crimes including human trafficking, child abuse, elder abuse, solicitation to commit murder or sexual assault, hate crimes and more could possibly qualify for banked caseload parole with little or no supervision.

Despite the enactment of the watered-down plan, the issue of the federal court order to release roughly 40,000 inmates remains an issue that has yet to play out.  Additionally, discussions on the more contentious pieces of the original package continue.  All of this said, we are sure to see legislation – if not additional budget action – on these controversial issues in 2010.  It has also been suggested that the Governor may call a special session on corrections, but it has yet to materialize.

Stay tuned…

2009 Legislative Wrap-Up

AB 17 (Swanson): Human TraffickingSIGNED – Includes abduction or procurement by fraudulent inducement for prostitution within the definition of criminal profiteering activity and authorizes imposition of an additional fine for pimping, pandering, or procurement of a child the proceeds of which would be granted to community-based organizations that serve minor victims of human trafficking.

AB 91 (Feuer): Vehicles: DUI: Ignition Interlock DeviceSIGNED – Requires ignition interlock device manufacturers to provide certain information to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and requires the DMV to establish a pilot program that requires, as a condition of being issued a driver’s license a person to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles they own/operate and to participate in an alcohol and drug assessment program and pay a fee.

AB 250 (Miller): Criminal Procedure: Trials: Timing – SIGNED – Amends existing law which requires a defendant be brought to trial within 60 days of arraignment in a felony case or have the case dismissed if the defendant did not waive that time limit or consent to an extension of time.  It requires the withdrawal of a time waiver to be done in open court and specifies that in the absence of an express general time waiver or upon the withdrawal of such waiver, the court set the trial date and notify all parties.

AB 275 (Solorio): Missing Persons: DNA DatabaseSIGNED – Deletes the sunset date on the funding that provides for the Department of Justice to utilize a DNA database for unsolved cases and provides for the collection of samples from unidentified deceased persons and from potential sources for comparison.

AB 375 (Nielsen): Child Custody: Child Sexual Abuse2 Year Bill – Prohibits, unless a specified showing is made, a court from granting a request to modify a child custody order on an ex parte basis if there is a finding of sexual abuse of, or domestic violence against the child, if the court determines that certain circumstances are present.

AB 383 (Lieu): Criminal Procedure2 Year Bill – Amends the existing law that establishes limitations on the time for commencing criminal actions; provides for the tolling or extension of these time limitations; provides that regarding sex crimes and certain other crimes a criminal complaint may be filed within one year of the date on which the identify of the suspect is conclusively established by DNA testing; and extends this limitation on the time period for analyzing biological evidence.

AB 633 (Ammiano): Death Penalty2 Year Bill – Provides that in any case in which a defendant has been found guilty of first degree murder by a jury and the jury has been unable to reach an unanimous verdict that one or more the special circumstances charged are true and does not reach a unanimous verdict that all the special circumstances charged are not true, the court shall dismiss the jury and impose a sentence of confinement in state for a term of 25 years.

AB 671 (Krekorian): Public Safety Gold Shield AwardSIGNED – Requires the Governor to annually award and present a Golden Shield Award the next of kin of, or immediate family members of, every public safety officer who, who while serving in any capacity under competent authority, has been killed in the line of duty.

AB 731 (Villines): Child Abuse Sentencing2 Year Bill – Makes it a felony, punishable by a specified term of imprisonment for a person having the care or custody of a child who is under a certain age to assault the child with force that to a reasonable person would be likely to produce great bodily injury, resulting in the child becoming comatose due to brain injury or suffering paralysis of a permanent nature.

AB 768 (Torres): Elder Abuse2 Year Bill – Amends existing law which proscribes various crimes related to the abuse of an elder or dependent adult. Deletes the language requiring that the person either know or reasonably should know that the victim was an elder or dependent adult from the definitions of those crimes.

AB 807 (Fuentes): Restitution CentersVETOED – Requires the reopening and operation of restitution centers and provides inmates who commit crimes involving direct victims with priority placement in restitution centers.

Veto Message:

AB 988 (Brownley): Human Trafficking: Training ContentVETOED – Requires the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, upon the next regularly scheduled review of a training module relating to human trafficking, to create and make available training content on the U Visa.

Veto Message:

AB 999 (Skinner): Juveniles: Division of Juvenile Justice2 Year Bill – Requires the projected board date of a ward to be advanced according to completion of specified programs meant to offer a ward successful reentry into society and requires the division to implement policies and regulations on ward disciplinary matters.

AB 1017 (Portantino): Sexual Assault Crimes VETOED – Requires local law enforcement agencies responsible for taking or processing rape kit evidence to annually report to the Department of Justice statistical information pertaining to the processing of such kits.

Veto Message:

AB 1053 (Solorio): JuvenilesSIGNED – Repeals the Interstate Compact on Juveniles and enacts the Interstate Compact for Juveniles which would make the state subject to rules and regulations governing the supervision or return of juvenile offenders. Provides any state or U.S. territory is eligible to become a compacting state.

AB 1166 (Nielsen): Parole: Hearings: ReviewSIGNED – Amends existing law that provides that a panel of two or more commission or deputy commissioners of the Board of Parole Hearings shall meet with an inmate and set a parole release date and provides that in the event of a tie vote, the matter shall be referred to the board for an en banc review limited to the records that were before the panel that rendered the vote. Exempts such reviews under Marsy’s Law (2008).

AB 1209 (Ma): IdentificationSIGNED – Amends existing law that regards misdemeanor release procedures by specifying that an officer may book the arrested person at the scene or at the arresting agency prior to release.

AB 1270 (Torrico): Victims Compensation: Procedure VETOED – Requires the Victims Compensation & Government Claims Board, for purposes of meeting a requirement for the timely processing of application for victims’ assistance, to adopt written procedures and timeframes for approving or denying applications. Additionally, it requires approval for the expenditure of funds by the board with regard to any technology system that is utilized for the review of applications.

Veto Message:

AB 1376 (Bass): Sentencing2 Year Bill – Creates an independent multijurisdictional body to develop sentencing guidelines and provide a nonpartisan forum for sentencing policy development, information development, research, and planning concerning criminal sentences and their effects.

AB 1516 (Lieu): Criminal Procedure: DiscoverySIGNED – Allows the court to order a defendant in a criminal action or a minor in a juvenile delinquency proceeding to submit to examination by a prosecution-retained mental health expert whenever a defendant or minor places in issue his or her mental state at any phase of the criminal action or juvenile proceeding through the proposed testimony of any mental health expert.

ACR 59 (Nielsen): Crime Victims’ Rights Week – ENACTED – Recognizes the week of April 26, 2009, through May 2, 2009, as Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

SB 46 (Alquist): Sex Offenders: Commencing Trial: Time – 2 Year BillAdds specified sex offenses, including rape, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, oral copulation, continuous sexual abuse of a child, and acts of sexual penetration to the list of crimes for which there is no statute of limitation for prosecution.

SB 50 (Corbett): Victims of Sexual Assault – 2 Year Bill – Provides that victims of sexual assault are not required to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement in order to be provided with a forensic medical exam.

SB 110 (Liu): People with Disabilities: Victims of Crime – 2 Year Bill – Provides information related to deaths of children with disabilities and people with disabilities killed as a result of domestic violence is included in Child Death Review and Domestic Violence Death Review Teams procedures. Additionally, it requires the Department of Developmental Services to report a case of suspected abuse or neglect of a person held in custody as developmentally disabled.

SB 226 (Alquist): Identity Theft – 2 Year Bill ­– Provides that when multiple identity theft offenses occur in multiple jurisdictions and all of the offenses involve the same defendant or defendants and either the same personal identifying information of one person or the same scheme or substantially similar activity, the jurisdiction for all offenses, including offenses connected together to an underlying identity theft offense, is proper in any one of the counties where the offenses occurred.

SB 314 (Calderon): Crime Victims – SIGNED – Allows the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board to increase the cash payment or reimbursement for relocation if the board finds this amount is appropriate due to the unusual, dire, or exceptional circumstances of a particular claim. Additionally, it allows the offset of a personal income tax refund for the nonpayment of penalties to the Restitution Fund.

SB 325 (Alquist): Sex Offenders: Assessment – SIGNEDProvides a protocol for an agency that believes a score does not represent the person’s true risk level to submit the case to certain experts for override; requires maintenance of a database to record risk assessment scores; requires that probation reports include information on additional persons, including juveniles; and authorizes committee experts access to all risk assessment related records.

SB 399 (Yee): Sentencing – 2 Year Bill – Authorizes a prisoner who was under 18 years of age at the time of committing an offense for which the prisoner was sentenced to life without parole to submit a petition for recall and resentencing. Establishes certain criteria to be considered when a court decides whether to conduct a hearing on the petition recall and resentencing and additional criteria to be consider by the court regarding the petition. Requires the court to hold hearing if the court finds that the defendant’s statement is true.

SB 440 (Denham): Sentencing2 Year Bill – Adds certain felonies to the list of violent felonies, the list of serious felonies, and to both lists.

SB 447 (Yee): Criminal Records: Custodian – SIGNED – Requires the Department of Justice to establish a confirmation program to process fingerprint-based criminal record background clearances on individuals designated by an agency as a custodian of records. Additionally, it requires agencies to designate a custodian of records and to annually notify the department as to the identity of the agency’s custodian of records.

SB 588 (Public Safety Committee): Sex Offender Management BoardSIGNED – Deletes the repeal date of existing law that created the Sex Offender Management Board.

SB 662 (Yee)/SB 13xxx (Alquist): Domestic Violence: Funding2 Year Bill – Appropriates funds to be allocated for the purpose of backfilling funding for shelter-based services for battered women’s shelters that was eliminated as a result of the Governor’s line item budget vetoes in July.

SB 733 (Leno): Crime Victims: Trauma Center Grants – 2 Year Bill – Authorizes the Victims Compensation & Government Claims Board to award grants to trauma centers annually to cover direct services for victims.

SB 748 (Leno): Witness Relocation & Assistance Program: Records – SIGNED – Provides no person, state, or local public agency, or private entity shall post the home address, telephone number or personal identifying information that discloses the location of any witness or witness family member participating in the Witness Relocation and Assistance Program with specified intent. Provides criminal penalties for violations and authorizes program participants to submit opt-out forms to Internet search engine providers to prevent inclusion of above information.

**Please note: These are just a few of the bills CVUC was tracking in the 2009 Legislative Session; the full bill list will be available on our website soon.

2009 Crime Victims United Charitable Foundation Scholarships

Crime Victims United of California (CVUC) is pleased to congratulate the 2009 Crime Victims United Charitable Foundation’s (CVUCF) Scholarship recipients. The decision this year was especially difficult as there were so many deserving, young victims of crime.

Due to the generosity of so many in supporting CVUCF’s 20th Annual Classic Cup, we will be awarding 3 Catina Rose Memorial Scholarships, 1 PREVENT Scholarship and 1 Christie Wilson Scholarship. The young adult recipients have overcome such pain and adversity, and yet have resolutely decided to go on with their lives. Their stories vary from attempted murder to parental abuse to domestic abuse and witnessing the murder of their parent. The recipients will join us at this year’s Classic Cup Awards Banquet to receive their scholarships.

Remember, it is only through the generosity of caring individuals that we are able to offer these scholarships. We are the only group in California offering this type of financial support to these young victims of crime.  Please help us to continue to offer these scholarships by supporting the Crime Victims United Charitable Foundation Classic Cup Tournaments.  If you would like more information, please contact Crime Victims United Charitable Foundation at (530) 885-9544 for more information. 

Thank you and again, congratulations to the 2009 winners!