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Just weeks after the artist and musician Common held a free concert outside the State Capitol for 25,000 people and met with legislators to push for common sense justice reform, the California Legislature approved two long-overdue juvenile justice bills. Senate Bills 394 and 395 are part of the #EquityAndJustice package of bills jointly authored by Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, to promote prevention and rehabilitation and maintain family cohesion.
On Sept. 28, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010) authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles. The legislation eliminates the groundless disparity in sentencing, probation and asset forfeiture guidelines for possession of crack cocaine for sale versus the same crime involving powder cocaine that has resulted in a pattern of racial discrimination in sentencing and incarceration in California. The law takes effect in January.
On Aug. 29, the California Assembly approved AB 885 by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, passing a milestone measure to limit trial misconduct by prosecutors. The bill would allow judges to inform a jury when a district attorney has been found to have intentionally withheld significant evidence. The bill’s next step is to go to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.