News & Press: At the Capitol

Hard Fought Victories for CACJ and Justice

Tuesday, September 1, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Hard Fought Victories for CACJ and Justice

The legislative session ended at midnight last night, and AB 3070 CACJ’s sponsored bill to reform Batson Jury procedures passed the Senate at 11:20 and the Assembly at 11:55. Now it is headed for the Governor’s desk to be signed by September 30th. Without going into all the details the bill survived multiple votes over two days and reconsideration before passing the Senate with the 21 vote minimum. Our intrepid lobbyist Ignacio Hernandez and Hernandez Strategy Group created a near miracle with help from President Eric Schwietzer, the Legislative Committee, and all of you who responded to the call to contact your Senators to change key votes.   A special thanks to CACJ life member Lis Semel, Director of UC Berkeley Law School Death Penalty Clinic who helped draft the legislation and authored the landmark report "Whitewashing the Jurybox" and our own Elias Batchelder for drafting help and key contributions to the AB 3070 working group. 

AB 1506, Assemblymember McCarty’s bill to provide more independent investigation of police misconduct and killings was initially opposed by CACJ as too weak. Among other things, the investigations had to be requested by law enforcement or the DA. CACJ stood alone in pushing to expand the bill’s scope and remove barriers to effective oversight. Due to our opposition, the bill was amended to remove the law enforcement request provision and to include an automatic referral to state prosecutor. Former CACJ Legislator of the Year, State Senator Nancy Skinner took the legislative lead to make these changes happen. Ultimately, CACJ supported passing AB 1506 in amended form, with commitments from some legislators to work on improvements next year. Like AB 3070 this was pushed through in the final hours of the session to head for Newsom’s desk.

We owe a debt to Ignacio, HSG, and Dr. Weber who carried AB 3070 forward and worked tirelessly to get it passed, and every member of CACJ who supported the idea or contacted their representatives. We are bringing historic change to the system in the cause of justice for all, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, or religious preference.


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