Today's Law As Amended

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AB-941 Crimes: public records: disclosure of information.(2019-2020)



SECTION 1.

 Section 186.37 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

186.37.
 (a) An employee of a law enforcement agency who personally receives a report alleging the commission of an offense defined in subdivision (a) or (d) of Section 186.22, shall inform the victim and any witnesses of the following:
(1) That the victim’s or witness’s name will become a matter of public record unless the law enforcement agency determines that release of the victim’s or witness’s name would endanger the victim’s or witness’s safety pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 6254 of the Government Code.
(2) The victim or witness may provide the agency with evidence that an articulable threat exists that supports a conclusion that the disclosure of their name would endanger their safety.
(b) A written report of an offense defined in subdivision (a) or (d) of Section 186.22 shall indicate the alleged victim and any witnesses have been properly informed pursuant to subdivision (a), and shall memorialize their responses.
(c) If a victim or witness provides evidence pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), the agency shall consider this evidence in making its determination, pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 6254 of the Government Code, of whether that disclosure of the victim’s or witness’s name would endanger the victim or witness.
(d) Except as provided in subdivision (e), a law enforcement agency shall not disclose to a person, except the prosecutor, parole officers of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, hearing officers of the parole authority, probation officers of county probation departments, or other persons or public agencies where authorized or required by law, the name of a person who alleges to be the victim of, or who is reported as a witness to, an offense described in subdivision (a) or (d) of Section 186.22 when the law enforcement agency has determined, pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 6254 of the Government Code, that disclosure of the victim’s or witness’s name would endanger the victim or witness.
(e) Parole officers of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, hearing officers of the parole authority, and probation officers of county probation departments shall be entitled to receive information pursuant to subdivision (d) only if the person to whom the information pertains alleges that they are the victim of, or the person is reported as a witness to, an offense described in subdivision (a) or (d) of Section 186.22, if the alleged perpetrator of which is a parolee who is alleged to have committed the offense while on parole, or in the case of a county probation officer, the person who is alleged to have committed the offense is a probationer, is otherwise subject to supervision or the jurisdiction of a county probation department, or is under investigation by a county probation department.
SEC. 2.
  The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of this act, which adds Section 186.37 to the Penal Code, imposes a limitation on the public’s right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies within the meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution. Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the Legislature makes the following findings to demonstrate the interest protected by this limitation and the need for protecting that interest:
In order to protect the safety of certain victims of, and witnesses to, crimes, including specified gang-related offenses, it is necessary to permit those victims and witnesses to provide evidence that an articulable threat exists that supports a conclusion that the disclosure of their name would endanger their safety.
SEC. 3.
  If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.