Legislation


CACJ is committed to providing the criminal defense bar with a much-needed voice on legislative matters. Without the tireless efforts of our CACJ lobbyist, Ignacio Hernandez, and his staff at Hernandez Strategy Group, CACJ would not be able to accomplish these momentous tasks. Ignacio Hernandez provides continuous and aggressive representation before the California legislature on issues of importance to the criminal defense bar. Please contact our Legislative Committee with any questions.

Current CACJ Legislation


SB 136 (Wiener D)   One-year sentence enhancement

As a follow up to last year’s reform of a prison prior enhancement, this legislation narrow’s the current one-year enhancement for each prison prior or county jail felony term to only apply to any prior sexually violent offense. 

Signed by the Governor 10-08-2019

AB 701 (Weber D)   Prisoners: exoneration: housing costs.

When a wrongfully convicted individual is exonerated and released from prison, the bill requires the State of California to cover the cost of the exonoree’s housing for up to 4 years.  California becomes the first state in the country with this requirement. Co-Sponsored by CACJ and Exonerated Nation.

Signed by the Governor 10-02-2019

AB 927 (Jones-Sawyer D)   Crimes: fines and fees: defendant’s ability to pay.

 This bill prohibits the court in a criminal or juvenile proceeding involving a misdemeanor or felony from imposing fines, fees, and assessments, without making a finding that the defendant has the ability to pay.

This bill vetoed by the Governor.

AB 1261 (Jones-Sawyer D)   Controlled substances: narcotics registry.

This bill eliminates the requirement that individuals convicted of specified drug offenses register with local law enforcement.

Signed by the Governor 10-08-2019

SB 42 (Skinner D)   The Getting Home Safe Act.

Summary: This bill mandates that all county jails follow specified procedures for releasing a person from jail to ensure that person's safety, including providing a safe place for the person to wait after release during evening hours.

This bill vetoed by the Governor.

SB 233 (Wiener D)   Immunity from arrest.

Summary: This bill prohibits the arrest of a person for misdemeanor drug or prostitution related offenses when the person is reporting a violent crime and makes inadmissible evidence of possession of a condom to prove a violation of specified crimes related to prostitution.


Signed by the Governor 7-30-2019

SB 269 (Bradford D)   Wrongful convictions.

Summary: This bill extends the statute of limitations for when a wrongfully convicted individual can file a claim with the California Victim Compensation Board from two years to ten years after exoneration or release.

Signed by the Governor 10-02-2019

SB 310 (Skinner) Jury selection.

This bill permits a person with a prior felony conviction, who is not on active parole or community supervision or on the sex offender registry, to serve on a jury.

Signed by the Governor 10-08-2019

AB 1076 (Ting) Expungement

This legislation revamps the expungement process and requires the Attorney General to regularly review and offer relief to individuals who are eligible to be removed from the state criminal justice history database.

Signed by the Governor 10-08-2019

Previous Legislation - 2018


CACJ Takes position on 100+ bills every year, the bills below are the Sponsored, Co-Sponsored, and Supported bills for 2018:

Sponsored Bills

AB 2133 Assemblymember Weber


Under existing law, the Attorney General shall furnish summary criminal history information to a public defender or attorney of record when representing a person in a criminal case. This bill would state that this authority extends to a public defender or attorney of record when representing a criminal defendant on appeal or during any post-conviction motions.

SB 1279 Senator Bradford

This bill would, with specified exceptions, limit the maximum term of imprisonment to twice the number of years imposed by the court as the base term for a person who is convicted of two or more felonies.

Co-Sponsored Bills

AB 2867 Assemblymember Gonzalez Fletcher


This bill clarifies the timing and procedural requirements of motions for post-conviction relief that are based on either a prejudicial error regarding a defendant's comprehension of immigration consequences stemming from his or her conviction, or newly discovered evidence of actual innocence.

SB 1050 Senator Lara & Senator Mitchell


This bill expands transitional services for exonerated persons such as enrollment in Medi-Cal, enrollment in the CalFresh program, referral to the Employment Development Department, and requires exonerated persons to be paid $1000 upon release from incarceration.

Priority Support

SB 1437 Senator Skinner & Senator Anderson


CACJ is supporting Senate Bill 1437 authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (Berkeley) who is the Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee. SB 1437 received bipartisan support in its first committee. The purpose of this bill is to revise the felony murder rule to prohibit a participant in the commission or attempted commission of a felony that has been determined as inherently dangerous to human life to be imputed to have acted with implied malice, unless he or she personally committed the homicidal act.

SB 1392 Senator Holly Mitchell
Authored by prior CACJ Legislators of the Year, State Senator Holly Mitchell and State Senator Ricardo Lara, CACJ supported legislation SB 1392 aims to remove the 1 year prior felony enhancement contained in Penal Code 667.5 (b).

SB 1393 Senator Holly Mitchell


Senator Holly Mitchell, a past recipient of the CACJ Legislator of The Year award. The State Senate has already approved the measure which would restore judicial discretion to 5-year prison enhancement for a prior serious felony, and its next vote will occur in June before the Assembly Public Safety Committee. SB 1393 is sponsored and supported by dozens of organizations from across California, including CACJ.


Previous Legislation - 2017


Co-Sponsored Bills

SB 395 Juvenile Miranda Safeguards


Signed 10.11.2017 See Press Release Here. https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=20011

SB 395 is carried by a CACJ Legislator of the Year recipient Senator Ricardo Lara (Los Angeles). SB 395 will help ensure safeguards are in place to protect juveniles from false confessions by requiring defense counsel to be present before they waive their Miranda rights. This measure is backed by several groups including Youth Justice Coalition, Human Rights Watch, and Pacific Juvenile Defender Center.

AB 359 Jailhouse Informants

AB 359, by Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer (Los Angeles), co-sponsored by the ACLU, would provide more transparency and minimize the incentives for false testimony in the use of jailhouse informants. This bill is authored by Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer (Los Angeles), a past recipient of CACJ's Legislator of the Year Award.

SB 321 Special Master for Wrongful Convictions

CACJ has joined the California Innocence Project in co-sponsoring SB 321, by Senator Bill Monning (Monterey). This measure will create a special master at the Crime Victims Compensation Board dedicated to handling wrongful convictions. The bill is designed to increase the efficiency of the claim process for exonerees.

Supported Bills

Senate Bill 180 - Repeals 3 years Sentence Enhancement for Drug Prior

Signed 10.11.2017 See Press Release Here. https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=20011

S.B. No. 180 (Mitchell)
Would limit the sentence enhancement for a person convicted of a violation of, or of conspiracy to violate, specified crimes relating to controlled substances to only be based on each prior conviction of, or on each prior conviction of conspiracy to violate, the crime of using a minor in the commission of offenses involving specified controlled substances.


Senate Bill 190 - Eliminates fee on Families for Juvenile Hall

Signed 10.11.2017 See Press Release Here. https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=20011

S.B. No. 190 (Mitchell)
Would end juvenile cost of detention, probation supervision, drug testing, electronic monitoring, and attorney’s fees in California.


Senate Bill 239 - HIV Law Reform


Signed 10.04.2017 See Press Release Here. https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=19985

SB 239 by Senator Wiener (San Francisco) will modernize outdated and discriminatory HIV criminal laws by reducing several felony laws that criminalize and stigmatize individuals living with HIV down to misdemeanors. This is sponsored by a coalition of LGBT and public health organizations.


Senate Bill 384 - Tiered Sex Offender


Signed 10.04.2017 See Press Release Here. https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=19985

S.B. 384 establishes 3-tiers of registration for sex offenders. California is currently one of only four other states with mandatory lifetime registration.


Senate Bill 394 - Parole for LWOP Juveniles


Signed 10.11.2017 See Press Release Here. https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=20011

SB 394 by Senator Lara (Los Angeles) will give individuals serving life without the possibility of parole who committed crimes as youth the opportunity to work for parole after serving at least 25 years in prison. This would bring California law into compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016).


Senate Bill 620 - Firearm Enhancement

Signed 10.11.2017 See Press Release Here. https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=20011

SB 620 by Senator Bradford (Compton) will allow a court, in the interest of justice, to strike a sentence enhancement for using or discharging a firearm when a person is convicted for committing a felony, consistent with other enhancements.

Senate Bill 725 - Veteran Pretrial Diversion Program

Signed 8.07.17

S.B. No. 725 (Jackson)
Clarifies that military veterans who suffer from military related traumatic mental health conditions and who are before a sentencing court charged with violations of Vehicle Code sections 23152 and 23153, pertaining to driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, are eligible for diversion to a treatment court.


Other Supported Bills (partial list)

A.B. No. 42 (Bonta)
Implements a more fair and effective pretrial release procedure.

A.B. No. 90 (Weber)
Provides law enforcement greater access to reliable and up-to-date crime prevention and investigation tools by implementing more oversight and regulations to the use of the CalGang database.

A.B. No. 412 (Ting)
Would allow people with no or low income to remove the Civil Assessment Fee, which penalizes individuals for their inability to pay court fines.

A.B. No. 493 (Jones-Sawyer)
Expands current law to protect an individual who is a victim or witness to a hate crime, from being detained by law enforcement for immigration purposes.

A.B. No. 529 (Mark Stone)
Requires the automatic sealing of all records of juveniles if their petition was dismissed and was not sustained by the court after an adjudication hearing.

A.B. No. 620 (Holden)
Requires CDCR to provide specified inmates with individual introspective trauma informed therapy at least 1 year prior to an offender’s minimum eligible parole date. Also, therapy to address traumatic experiences that lead to substance abuse or violent actions.

A.B. No. 665 (Levine)
Requires courts to consider Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other service-induced mental health problems as mitigating factors for convictions that occurred prior to January 1, 2015.

A.B. No. 720 (Eggman)
Prohibits, except as specified, an inmate confined in a county jail, from being administered any psychiatric medication without his or her prior informed consent.

A.B. No. 748 (Ting)
Requires each department or agency that employs peace officers and requires those peace officers to wear body-worn cameras to develop a policy setting forth the procedures for, and limitations on, public access to recordings taken by body-worn cameras. The bill would also require the department or agency to conspicuously post the policy on its Internet Web site.

A.B. No. 878 (Gipson)
Seeks to limit the use of restraints on minor during transportation outside of a local juvenile facility, camp, ranch, or forestry camp, except as provided, or during a juvenile court proceeding.

A.B. No. 1115 (Jones-Sawyer)
Would allow a defendant sentenced to state prison for a felony that, if committed after the 2011 Realignment Legislation, would have been eligible for sentencing to a county jail, to be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she was convicted.

A.B. No. 1128 (Weber)
Would require courts to retain certain evidence from criminal proceedings for criminal cases.

A.B. No. 1320 (Bonta)
Prohibits CDCR from contracting with a private, for-profit prison on or after January 1, 2028 and would prohibit the renewal of contracts with for-profit prisons in effect on January 1, 2018.

A.B. No. 1344 (Weber)
Requires CDCR and county probation departments to provide certain voting rights information and affidavits of registration to parolees under their jurisdiction.

A.B. No. 1448 (Weber)
Establishes the Elderly Parole Program, for prisoners who are 60+ years of age and who have served a minimum of 25 years of their sentence. When considering the release of an inmate who meets this criteria, the bill would require the board to consider whether age, time served, and diminished physical condition, if any, have reduced the elderly prisoner’s risk for future violence.

A.B. No. 1639 (Eduardo Garcia)
Prohibits the Victim Compensation Board from denying an application for a claim solely because the victim or derivative victim is a person is listed in the CalGang system.

S.B. No. 8 (Beall)
Provides trial courts the discretion to order a diversionary sentence for a defendant who suffers from a mental illness when charged with a low level offense.

S.B. No. 142 (Beall)
Requires, upon the request of the defendant, the probation officer to include in his or her report whether the defendant is currently, or was at any prior time, eligible for public mental health services due to a serious mental illness or eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance due to a diagnosed mental illness.

S.B. No. 143 (Beall)
Authorizes a person who is committed to a state hospital after being found not guilty by reason of insanity to petition the court to have the maximum term of commitment reduced to what it would have been had Proposition 36 or Proposition 47 been in effect at the time of the original determination.

S.B. No. 237 (Hertzberg)
Allows law enforcement to transport individuals suffering from mental illness to a mental health Urgent Care Center instead of incarceration for a low level offense.

S.B. No. 355 (Mitchell)
Exempts innocent defendants from having to reimburse the court for the cost of court-appointed counsel.

S.B. No. 336 (Anderson)
Would revise the definition of exonerated for the purpose of eligibility for assistance with transitional services to include a person who has been convicted and subsequently was granted a writ of habeas corpus

S.B. No. 393 (Lara)
Provides a legal pathway to sealing an arrest record from the public if the arrest did not result in a conviction.

S.B. No. 394 (Lara)
Would remove life without parole for juveniles.

S.B. 421 (Wiener)
Establishes 3-tiers of registration for sex offenders based on specified criteria, for periods of at least 10 years, at least 20 years, and life.

S.B. No. 439 (Mitchell)
Would exclude children under 12 years old from prosecution in a juvenile court.

S.B. No. 502 (Portantino)
Establishes a recently repealed program known as the California Voluntary Tattoo Removal Program to provide funding for the removal of certain tattoos for individuals between 14 and 24 years of age who are in the custody of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or county probation departments, who are on parole or probation, or who are in a community-based program serving at-risk youth and meet specified criteria.

S.B. No. 725 (Jackson)
Clarifies that military veterans who suffer from military related traumatic mental health conditions and who are before a sentencing court charged with violations of Vehicle Code sections 23152 and 23153, pertaining to driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, are eligible for diversion to a treatment court.


CACJ Opposed Bills that were Defeated

CACJ opposed measures to increase penalties and incarceration periods that failed passage include:

AB 27 would amend Penal Code 667.5 to classify all forms of “rape” as violent felonies.

AB 67 would amend Penal Code 667.5 to add additional crimes to the list of “violent felonies” therefore enhancing prison terms when new crimes are committed.

AB 745 vests local court commissioners with the authority to handle a variety of matters related to criminal cases.

S.B. No 75 which would have created an additional “violent felony” list that includes 20 felonies not on the existing list in order to exclude offenders from Proposition 57’s parole provisions and to impose a three-year sentencing enhancement.

S.B. No. 495 makes it a felony for a person, without consent, to rent a vehicle using the personal identifying information of another or an access card or access card account information of another, has been postponed until next year.

S.B. No. 757 would require a person convicted of misdemeanor solicitation of a minor to register as a sex offender for life and an adult convicted of misdemeanor solicitation of an adult or minor to give a sample to the DNA databank, failed passage.

S.B. No. 586 which would expand assault and battery penalties of a peace officer to include a federal peace officers.

S.B. No. 770 creates an additional “violent felony” list that includes 30 felonies not on the existing list in order to exclude offenders from Proposition 57’s parole provisions and to impose a three-year sentencing enhancement, has been postponed until next year.

S.B. No. 781 that would require DNA collection for misdemeanors, has been postponed until next year to work out language to only require a more narrowed list of misdemeanors.

Lobby Day


Lobby Day 2019

On June 5th 2019, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice Legislative Committee Members will make their annual trip to Sacramento's State Capitol to meet with Members of both the Assembly and Senate Public Safety Committees, Chairs of the Appropriations Committees, as well as Leadership in both houses. Here, CACJ's Legislative Committee Members will discuss several sponsored bills, during this day-long visits play a crucial part in bringing awareness to CACJ's work while also building relationships with California's lawmakers.


Lobby Day 2017

On June 14, 2017, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice Legislative Committee Members will make their annual trip to Sacramento's State Capitol to meet with Members of both the Assembly and Senate Public Safety Committees, Chairs of the Appropriations Committees, as well as Leadership in both houses. Here, CACJ's Legislative Committee Members will discuss several sponsored bills, during this day-long visits play a crucial part in bringing awareness to CACJ's work while also building relationships with California's lawmakers.

Lobby Day 2015

On June 10, 2015, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice Legislative Committee Members will make their annual trip to Sacramento's State Capitol to meet with Members of both the Assembly and Senate Public Safety Committees, Chairs of the Appropriations Committees, as well as Leadership in both houses. Here, CACJ's Legislative Committee Members will discuss several sponsored legislation including assisting in the re-entry of wrongfully convicted individuals, making it a felony for peace officers to alter or destroy images/videos captured by the public and other key proposals for the 2015 session. These annual, day-long visits play a crucial part in bringing awareness to CACJ's work while also building relationships with California's lawmakers.

Lobby Day 2014

In April various members of the CACJ legislative committee arrived in Sacramento for its annual lobby day. CACJ members participated in various activities such as testifying in committee, meeting with the chief consultant for Assembly public safety, and discussing CACJ's 2014 legislative priorities with multiple legislators.
CACJ members met with the Speaker of the Assembly, John A. Perez, to discuss its legislative priorities. Speaker Perez is terming out this year and is the leading candidate to become the State Controller. CACJ not only highlighted its multiple sponsored or co-sponsored bills, but also emphasized problematic pieces of legislation CACJ hopes to defeat this legislative session.

As a result of CACJ's lobby day and continued pressure on Assemblymembers who sit on the public safety committee, CACJ defeated one of its priority oppose bills. On Tuesday, April 8, CACJ defeated Assembly Bill 1555. AB 1555, authored by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley), increased the penalty for vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence while using a cell phone. This bill also increased the penalty for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, while using a cell phone, from 2, 4, 6 to 4, 6, 10 years of imprisonment in state prison. AB 1555 received only two supporting votes.

CACJ's consistent presence in Sacramento, as one of the leading criminal justice reform organizations, is paying dividends. Both legislators and committee consultants frequently rely on CACJ as one of the prominent voices in criminal justice reform.


Our Lobbyist


Ignacio Hernández founded Hernández Strategy Group in 2003 after having served as a Chief of Staff in both the California State Assembly and the California State Senate. As an attorney, Ignacio used to represent clients in employment discrimination, wage theft and criminal cases. He fuses his courtroom experience with his years of working in the State Capitol to effectively lobby on behalf of issues of social justice and the preservation of constitutional protections. He has successfully navigated a litany of proposals through the legislative process and has worked to stop hundreds of bills adverse to his clients’ interests. Before beginning his career at the State Capitol, Ignacio taught in the Political Science Department at San Jose State University. Currently he sits on the Public Interest Law Board of Santa Clara University School of Law.
Ignacio Hernandez
Hernandez Strategy Group, LLC

 

ignacio@hernandezstrategy.com

Hernandez Strategy Group
555 Capitol Mall Suite 610
Sacramento CA 95814

http://hernandezstrategy.com/
(916) 447-9719

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