Interesting proposed legislation

Top five interesting pieces of pending legislation that I found in the 5 minutes I spent searching the phrase “penal code” at for the 2012-2013 session. The author of the bill is in a parenthesis with a link to their contact form so you can email them your thoughts.

1. (Morrell) AB2 : What the title of the bill should be: NO REALIGNMENT FOR YOU!

  • Old law: violate parole for failing to register, realignment community release rules apply
  • Proposed change: violate parole for failing to register go to state prison.
  • Why this proposed law sucks: adds to prison over crowding (Jerry Brown is about to be held in contempt over this), kind of stupid because the max time someone can do on the violation is 180 days, and there are many mitigating reasons why someone might fail to register  .

STATUS OF BILL: Re referred to the committee on public safety.
JJC VERDICT: Bad idea.

2.  (Ammiano) AB4:  MELT DEM ICE HOLDS!!!!

  • Old law:  If the feds tell the county jail they want to place an ICE hold on you, it doesn’t matter if the judge says you are no flight risk or threat to public safety, you are stuck in jail until your case resolves. Then you are sent to ICE to deal with, defend against, or not, their accusation that you do not have legal status.  This means if you are arrested for stealing chicken to feed your family (true story) you are stuck in jail and likely deported if you did not have the arbitrary fortune of being born on the US side of the imaginary thing we call a border.
  • Proposed change: the county jail is prohibited from holding someone for the feds UNLESS the person has certain prior convictions (the least serious prior that will fuck you is a misdemeanor conviction in the last five years for a crime that is a wobbler; the others are what you’d expect, serious violent felonies, sex crimes, etc.) or has been held to answer on a felony.  

STATUS OF BILL: “Sen of Third Reading.” Don’t know what this means, but, according to wikipedia, it may mean that a vote will be taken after the bill is literally read again? Does anyone know? I will monitor this because it is HUGE.
JJC VERDICT: Yes please. And also, can I kiss you Ammiano? Of course, I’d make it so no one can be held for the feds (you want to detain someone feddys go find them yourselves) but this is a HUGE start.

3.  (Ammiano does it again!!) AB5:  BE NICE TO HOMELESS LAW

  • Old law: people with homes do whatever they want in public people who look like they don’t get arrested for doing things the with-home people could do without being arrested.
  • Proposed new law: homeless people should be treated just like everyone else and this makes it so according to law (aka the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act).  Read the legislation for specifics, e.g. you can’t be criminally prosecuted for sleeping in public, eating in public, or even soliciting donations. 
STATUS OF BILL:  In committee.
JJC VERDICT: (3 part verdict): 1) Ammiano, I had no clue who you were before 5 minutes ago, but now I believe you are Jesus Christ or Mother Theresa reincarnated.  Laws to help immigrants and homeless folks? You must have a heart of gold. 2) Any proposed law with the phrase “Fairness Act” is ok in my book.  3) Really? We need a law to tell cops not to arrest a person for eating in public.  I guess we do.
4.  (Many authors).  AB65:   CLOSE DAT RAPE-FRAUD LOOPHOLE!
  • Old law: This case happened. In short, a guy was accused of pretending to be a girl’s boyfriend (it was dark) to have sex with her when she realized midway through she wasn’t having sex with her  boyfriend. Turns out, this is only rape by fraud if she were married.
  • Proposed new law:  Not surprisingly, people were a little perturbed by this “loophole.” They moved to plug that shit up. Now, it is rape by fraud if you get a person to consent to having sex with you by pretending to be their boyfriend (this law will be very helpful to blind people).
STATUS OF BILL: I didn’t check, but my guess is the status is: “about to be passed.”
JJC VERDICT: I mean, look, I’m no proponent of tricking someone into sex under the facts of this case (but let’s not get too loosey goosey with this e.g. someone who tells you that he is a doctor so you sleep with him because who wouldn’t sleep with a doctor then you find out he’s actually an EMT (true story) (just kidding ahahah). that is not rape in my book.  That is why it sucks to be single). Anytime there is a loophole in a law that benefits my client I’m pretty pumped.  So they plugged this one up.  I guess my verdict is: Allllllllright.
5.  (Hat Trick for  Ammiano !) AB336:  CONDOMS SHMONDOMS
  • Old law: D comes to meet an undercover vice cop to pay for sex. (And you say cops don’t lie?!)  He brought condoms with him.  DA will try to use the fact that he brought condoms with him to show his intent. Pretty straightforward.  Likewise, D is seen on the corner waiving at a car.  She is arrested. The DA wants to use the fact that she had condoms with her to prove she was loitering with the intent to commit prostitution.
  • Proposed new *brilliant* law:  The DA will have to WRITE A MOTION including an AFFIDAVIT justifying the relevance of the condom evidence.
STATUS OF BILL:  The first hearing on it was cancelled per Ammiano’s request.
JJC VERDICT: Love love love it.  Love love love any law that requires the DA to write a motion and an affidavit.  Potential pitfalls are that they can easily establish relevance so maybe they should have to show something more than that.  Or, maybe we should make a policy driven statue that the evidence of the condom is always inadmissible or cannot, alone, establish intent.  (See e.g. Cal Penal Code section 261.7)

Published by Jenny Brandt

About Me: sociology, african american studies, chicano/a studies, critical race studies, and criminal law scholar. public school kid from kindergarten-J.D. Former public defender. I am a post-conviction guru. Appeals. Sentencing. Withdraw Pleas. Habeas. Published author in the Criminal Law Bulletin and California Defender. "I do it for the joy it brings, because I'm a joyful girl, because the world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world." Why I started JJC: My PD buddy suggested it. What and who JJC is inspired by: public defenders I have worked for, with, and next to. my clients who have battled things no one should and are still here. innocence and guilt and everything in between. My coworkers, who fight just as hard as the PDs I love, for many of the same reasons. My husband who was once voted "most Christ like" (every Jewish girl's dream). My Corgi who loves everyone. The constitution. Tabloids. My mom, for giving me a voice. My dad, for teaching me what to say. My brother, for teaching me how to say it.

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