Coming Up: Bills on Juveniles, Reentry, and Sentence Enhancements

Our friends at the Criminal Justice Information Network sent us an update on upcoming bills coming out of Sacramento that impact our communities. Checkout the descriptions of five below. We met one of the authors of AB 1706, the one about jury trials for juveniles facing strikes, and she makes some powerful arguments. — Posted by Raj Jayadev

From the Criminal Justice Information Network — The Assembly Public Safety Committee has scheduled its next hearing for March 20th. The Senate Public Safety Committee will hold its next hearing for March 27th. Letters of opposition or support are due to the Public Safety Committees one week prior to the hearing in order for your organization to be listed in the committee analysis, or official background information for the bill. Below are a few bills to watch out for as we approach March 20th.

AB 1706 (Mitchell) Jury Trials for Juveniles When Facing Strikes
Current law allows courts to charge juveniles with felony sentences, which can be used for a strike. This bill would require juvenile courts to provide a jury trial to minors 16 years or older charged with a felony that would be used as a future felony conviction for purposes of an enhanced sentence for the California Three Strikes Law. This bill’s lead proponent is the California Public Defenders Association. A similar bill, AB 1751, authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano was defeated on the Assembly Floor in 2010.
AB 1995 (Huber) Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Sales of Methamphetamine
This bill would require courts to sentence people who are granted probation for the sale of methamphetamine to 180 days in county jail as a minimum penalty. Judges could only avoid sentencing an offender to 180 days in jail under this bill if he or she records the circumstances for why the minimum sentence was not imposed.  This bill has no sponsor. A similar bill, AB 67 also authored by Assemblymember Alyson Huber, was defeated in the Assembly Public Safety Committee in 2011.
AB 1849 (Carter) Restorative Justice Programs for Juveniles
This bill would require the Administrative Office of the Courts to implement a five-year pilot program establishing “restorative justice” programs in 5 juvenile county courts.  Juveniles under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of the crime who are under informal supervision, nonwardship probation, a disposition order under Welfare and Institutions Code Section 727, or an order for deferred entry of judgment would be referred to a restorative justice program. In this program, juvenile offenders would meet with the victims of their crime, as well as community members, to allow for due process for the offender, to establish restitution for the victims, and to rehabilitate the offender. Juveniles who committed crimes that were violent, sexual, gang-related, or that involved a firearm are not eligible.  This bill has no sponsor.
AB 1577 (Atkins) Identification Cards for Parolees
This bill would enable people being released from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) facilities to obtain “parolee identification cards” so as to assist parolees in obtaining a driver’s license or other identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The bill provides that the DMV and CDCR shall enter into interagency agreements for the purpose of the parolee identification cards. This bill has no sponsor. A similar bill, AB 2262, authored by former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2010.
AB 1956 (Portantino) Tattoo Removal for Sex Trafficking Victims
This bill would expand the California Voluntary Tattoo Removal Program for juvenile offenders that have tattoos related to identification for prostitution or sex trafficking purposes.  This tattoo removal program would be available to juveniles between 14 and 24 years of age and who are in the custody of CDCR, are on parole or probation, or are under the supervision of a community group. This tattoo removal program would be available to young women who were victims of prostitution or sex trafficking and who who have tattoos that would be visible in a professional work environment. Male victims would be eligible if they had tattoos on their lower arm, hand, neck or head. This bill has no sponsor. The California Voluntary Tattoo Removal Program was established with the signing of AB 1122 in 2010, authored by Assembly Speaker John Perez.

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