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AB-580 Commutations of sentence.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/02/2019 04:00 AM
AB580:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 01, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 580


Introduced by Assembly Member Lackey

February 14, 2019


An act to repeal Section 12017 of the Government Code, and to amend Section 4807 of the Penal Code, relating to pardons, reprieves, and commutations. An act to amend Section 4805 of the Penal Code, relating to commutations of sentence.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 580, as amended, Lackey. Pardons, reprieves, and commutations: reports to the Legislature. Commutations of sentence.
The California Constitution allows the Governor, on conditions the Governor deems proper, to grant a reprieve, pardon, and commutation, after sentence, subject to application procedures provided by statute. Existing law allows the Board of Parole Hearings to report to the Governor the names of imprisoned persons who it determines ought to have a commutation of sentence. Existing law requires a person applying for commutation of sentence to serve written notice of the intention to apply for commutation on the appropriate district attorney at least 10 days before the Governor acts on the application for commutation of sentence. Existing law requires the district attorney to make reasonable efforts to notify the victim of the crime and their family.
This bill would require the applicant to serve written notice on the district attorney 30 days before the Governor acts upon an application for a commutation of a sentence of death. The bill would require notice of an application for commutation of a sentence of death to be given to a requesting family member of the victim at least 25 days before the Governor acts on the application, as provided. The bill would require the Governor to ensure the victim’s family has been provided with notice before acting upon the application. The bill would allow a family member of a victim to request a public hearing before the board regarding the proposed commutation of a sentence of death and would require the board to submit its recommendation to the Governor within 30 days of the hearing. The bill would prohibit a commutation of a sentence of death from taking effect until the board has submitted its recommendation to the Governor or 30 days after the hearing, whichever is earlier.

Existing law, codified in the Penal Code, requires the Governor to, at the beginning of every regular session of the Legislature, file a written report, as specified, detailing reprieves, pardons, and commutations granted by the Governor. Existing law, codified in the Government Code, requires the Governor, at each session, to report to the Legislature, as specified, the details of each pardon, reprieve, or commutation granted.

This bill would repeal one of these sections and add clarifying language to the other, specifying that the report is due on or before February 15 of each year, and shall include all pardons, reprieves, and commutations granted during the preceding calendar year.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 4805 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

4805.
 (a) At Except as provided in subdivision (b), at least 10 days before the Governor acts upon an application for a commutation of sentence, written notice of the intention to apply therefor, signed by the person applying, shall be served upon the district attorney of the county where the conviction was had, and proof, by affidavit, of the service shall be presented to the Governor.
(b) At least 30 days before the Governor acts upon an application for a commutation of a sentence of death, written notice of the intent to apply therefor, signed by the person applying, shall be served upon the district attorney of the county where the conviction was had, and proof, by affidavit, of the service shall be presented to the Governor.

(b)

(c) The district attorney may submit a written recommendation to the Governor for or against commutation of sentence.

(c)

(d) The district attorney shall make reasonable efforts to notify the victim or victims of the crime or crimes related to the application and the victims’ families who may also submit a recommendation to the Governor for or against commutation of sentence.
(e) Upon request to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and verification of the identity of the requester, notice of any application for commutation of a sentence of death shall be given by telephone, certified mail, regular mail, or electronic mail, using the method of communication selected by the requesting party, if that method is available, by the Board of Parole Hearings at least 25 days before the Governor acts upon any application for commutation of a sentence of death to any family member of the victim. The requesting party shall keep the board apprised of their contact information in order to receive the notice. As used in this subdivision, the term “victim” and family member of the victim has the meaning specified in subdivision (e) of Section 28 of Article I of the California Constitution.
(f) Before the Governor acts upon an application for a commutation of a sentence of death, the Governor shall ensure the victim’s family has been provided with the notice by the Board of Parole Hearings in accordance with subdivision (e) and had an opportunity to submit a recommendation to the Governor for or against the commutation of sentence pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (e). This paragraph does not supersede the responsibility of the district attorney in subdivision (d) to make reasonable efforts to notify the family of the victim.
(g) Prior to the commutation of a sentence of death, a family member of a victim may request a public hearing before the Board of Parole Hearings regarding the proposed commutation. This hearing shall be held within 90 days of the request.
(1) The board shall submit a recommendation to the Governor within 30 days of the hearing. The recommendation shall include any written letters by the victim’s family members.
(2) A commutation of a death sentence shall not take effect until the board has submitted its recommendation to the Governor, or 30 days after the hearing, whichever is earlier.

SECTION 1.Section 12017 of the Government Code is repealed.
SEC. 2.Section 4807 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
4807.

(a)On or before February 15 of each year, the Governor shall file a written report with the Legislature that shall include each application that was granted for each case of reprieve, pardon, or commutation by the Governor, or the Governor’s predecessor in office, during the immediately preceding calendar year, stating the name of the person convicted, the crime of which the person was convicted, the sentence and its date, the date of the reprieve, pardon, or commutation, and the reason for granting the same. The report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(b)Notwithstanding any other law, the written report filed with the Legislature pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be available to the public.