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.
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.
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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