Gov. Brown Signs Important Justice Bills!


On 10/12/2017 Governor Brown signed a large number
of justice bills.  They represent forward
movement on many fronts.
People deserve opportunities to grow and change,
rebuild their lives, and return home.


SB 394: No more children sentenced to die in prison:  No other country outside the US imposes life without parole sentences on children. By signing SB 394 into law, Governor Brown removes this shameful exception in California and ensures that children will not be sentenced to die in prison.  Governor Brown signed SB 394, giving people who committed a crime under age 18 and were sentenced to life without parole the chance to earn parole, with a first opportunity for a hearing after 24 years of incarceration. Read SB 394 here.

AB 1308:  Youth Offender Parole extended through age 25: Governor Brown signed into law AB 1308, extending through age 25 a special parole process known as “Youth Offender Parole,” which gives an earlier parole hearing for people and requires the Board of Parole Hearings to pay particular attention to the fact that someone was young at the time of their crime. Read the new law here.  Under the existing law, people who were youth at the time of their crime and later released under the Youth Offender Parole process have low recidivism rates. In the overall population, 36 percent of those released return to prison in the first year, but at this writing, no one paroled under the youth program has been sent back in year one.

SB 395: Children protected in police custody: This new law will protect children in police custody, ensuring that they’re not alone when making hard legal decisions, like whether to give up their rights and face police interrogation. SB 395 will mean that police cannot interrogate children 15 and under until a child has consulted with an attorney. Read the new law here. “Everyone has heard TV cops rattle off Miranda warnings, but in real life, youth don’t understand what those warnings mean,” Elizabeth Calvin of Human Rights Watch said. “They especially don’t understand what can happen to them once they give up those rights. This new law will make sure children aren’t alone when making a crucial, complex legal decision.”  The bill may also help prevent children from falsely confessing to crimes they did not commit, Human Rights Watch said. People under the age of 18 are much more likely than adults to confess to crimes they did not commit. A recent study of exonerations found that 42 percent of exonerated juveniles had falsely confessed, compared with 13 percent of adults. 

SB 620: Judicial discretion for firearm enhancements: Restores the ability of judges to not include a firearm enhancement in a criminal sentence, when doing so is in the interest of justice.

SB 180: Ends mandatory drug enhancement: Repeals the three-year mandatory sentencing enhancement for prior drug convictions that are added to any new conviction.

AB 1448: Elder Parole:  Allows the Board of Parole hearings to consider the possibility of granting parole to a prisoner who has served at least 25 years in prison, is 60 years or older and was not sentenced to death, life without possibility of parole, or convicted of murdering a peace officer.

SB 312: Record sealing: Authorizes courts to seal records for offenses committed by children 14 years or older.

SB 190: No more fees for parents of youth in the juvenile system: Ends the assessment of fees on parents of youth in the juvenile justice system.

SB 625: Honorable discharge for youth:  Maintains the existing program for allowing local authorities to clear the record of youth with juvenile records who complete parole and earn an “honorable discharge.”

AB 529: Sealing of juvenile records: Requires sealing of juvenile records when petition dismissed.

SB 393: Record sealing: Authorizes record sealing and removes barriers to employment for those arrested but never convicted of a crime.