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SB-321 Compensation for wrongful conviction: hearings by a special master.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/28/2017 09:00 PM
SB321:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  March 28, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 321


Introduced by Senator Monning
(Principal coauthor: Senator Anderson)

February 13, 2017


An act to amend Section 13901 of the Government Code, and to amend Sections 1485.5, 4902, 4903, and 4904 of the Penal Code, relating to wrongful convictions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 321, as amended, Monning. Compensation for wrongful conviction: hearings by a special master.
Existing law authorizes a person who served a term in county jail or state prison and was, thereafter, granted a pardon by the Governor or determined to be innocent of the crime for the reason that the crime with which he or she was charged was either not committed at all or, if committed, was not committed by him or her, to petition the California Victim Compensation Board for compensation for the injury sustained by him or her through erroneous conviction and imprisonment. Existing law requires the California Victim Compensation Board to determine eligibility for compensation and the amount of compensation.
This bill would require the Governor to appoint a special master, subject to confirmation by the Senate, to serve at the pleasure of the Governor, to oversee all claims requiring a hearing to determine compensation after wrongful conviction.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 13901 of the Government Code is amended to read:

13901.
 (a) There is within the Government Operations Agency the California Victim Compensation Board.
(b) The board consists of the Secretary of Government Operations or his or her designee and the Controller, both acting ex officio, and a third member who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The third member may be a state officer who shall act ex officio.
(c) The Governor shall appoint a special master master, subject to confirmation by the Senate, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The special master shall oversee all claims requiring a hearing pursuant to Section 4902 of the Penal Code. The special master shall be an individual who is qualified by education, training, and work experience in taking evidence, making determinations of fact, and applying the facts to law, particularly in the area of wrongful convictions.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1485.5 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

1485.5.
 (a) If the district attorney or Attorney General stipulates to, or does not contest, the factual allegations underlying one or more of the grounds for granting a writ of habeas corpus or a motion to vacate a judgment, the facts underlying the basis for the court’s ruling or order shall be binding on the Attorney General, the factfinder, the special master appointed pursuant to Section 13901 of the Government Code, and the California Victim Compensation Board.
(b) The district attorney shall provide notice to the Attorney General prior to entering into a stipulation of facts that will be the basis for the granting of a writ of habeas corpus or a motion to vacate a judgment.
(c) In a contested or uncontested proceeding, the express factual findings made by the court, including credibility determinations, in considering a petition for habeas corpus, a motion to vacate judgment pursuant to Section 1473.6, or an application for a certificate of factual innocence, shall be binding on the Attorney General, the factfinder, the special master, and the California Victim Compensation Board.
(d) For the purposes of this section, “express factual findings” are findings established as the basis for the court’s ruling or order.
(e) For purposes of this section, “court” is defined as a state or federal court.

SEC. 3.

 Section 4902 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

4902.
 (a) If the provisions of Section 851.865 or 1485.55 apply in a claim, the California Victim Compensation Board shall, within 30 days of the presentation of the claim, calculate the compensation for the claimant pursuant to Section 4904 and recommend to the Legislature payment of that sum. As to any claim to which Section 851.865 or 1485.55 does not apply, the Attorney General shall respond to the claim within 60 days or request an extension of time, upon a showing of good cause.
(b) Upon receipt of a response from the Attorney General, the board shall fix a time and place for the hearing of the claim by the special master appointed pursuant to Section 13901 of the Government Code, and shall mail notice thereof to the claimant and to the Attorney General at least 15 days prior to the time fixed for the hearing. The board shall use reasonable diligence in setting the date for the hearing and shall attempt to set the date for the hearing at the earliest date convenient for the parties and the special master.
(c) If the time period for response elapses without a request for extension or a response from the Attorney General pursuant to subdivision (a), the board shall fix a time and place for the hearing of the claim, mail notice thereof to the claimant at least 15 days prior to the time fixed for the hearing, and make a recommendation based on the claimant’s verified claim and any evidence presented by him or her.

SEC. 4.

 Section 4903 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

4903.
 (a) At the hearing before the special master, the claimant shall introduce evidence in support of the claim, and the Attorney General may introduce evidence in opposition thereto. The claimant shall prove the facts set forth in the statement constituting the claim, including the fact that the crime with which he or she was charged was either not committed at all, or, if committed, was not committed by him or her, and the pecuniary injury sustained by him or her through his or her erroneous conviction and imprisonment.
(b) In a hearing before the special master, the factual findings and credibility determinations establishing the court’s basis for granting a writ of habeas corpus, a motion for new trial pursuant to Section 1473.6, or an application for a certificate of factual innocence as described in Section 1485.5 shall be binding on the Attorney General, the factfinder, the special master, and the board.
(c) The board shall deny payment of a claim if the special master finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a claimant pled guilty with the specific intent to protect another from prosecution for the underlying conviction for which the claimant is seeking compensation.

SEC. 5.

 Section 4904 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

4904.
 If the evidence shows that the crime with which the claimant was charged was either not committed at all, or, if committed, was not committed by the claimant, and that the claimant has sustained injury through his or her erroneous conviction and imprisonment, the California Victim Compensation Board shall report the facts of the case and the special master’s conclusions to the next Legislature, with a recommendation that the Legislature make an appropriation for the purpose of indemnifying the claimant for the injury. The amount of the appropriation recommended shall be a sum equivalent to one hundred forty dollars ($140) per day of incarceration served, and shall include any time spent in custody, including in a county jail, that is considered to be part of the term of incarceration. That appropriation shall not be treated as gross income to the recipient under the Revenue and Taxation Code.