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SB-269 Wrongful convictions.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 10/02/2019 09:00 PM
SB269:v93#DOCUMENT

Senate Bill No. 269
CHAPTER 473

An act to amend Sections 1485.55, 4901, and 4903 of the Penal Code, relating to criminal procedure.

[ Approved by Governor  October 02, 2019. Filed with Secretary of State  October 02, 2019. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 269, Bradford. Wrongful convictions.
Existing law authorizes a person who has been convicted of a felony, imprisoned or incarcerated, and granted a pardon because either the crime was not committed or the person was innocent of the crime to present a claim against the state to the board for the pecuniary injury sustained by the person through the erroneous conviction and imprisonment or incarceration. Under existing law, if a court grants a writ of habeas corpus but does not find the person factually innocent or if the court vacates a judgment due to new evidence of innocence, the person may move for a finding of factual innocence by a preponderance of the evidence. Existing law requires the board, under any of those circumstances, if the court makes a finding that the petitioner has proven their factual innocence, upon application by the person, and without a hearing, to recommend to the Legislature that an appropriation be made and the claim paid, as specified.
This bill would make those provisions applicable to cases in which newly discovered evidence of actual innocence exists that requires vacation of a conviction.
Existing law requires the claim for compensation for wrongful convictions to be presented to the board within 2 years after the judgment of acquittal, pardon granted, or release from custody.
This bill would instead require the claim for compensation to be presented to the board within a period of 10 years after judgment of acquittal, dismissal of charges, pardon granted, or release from custody, whichever is later.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 1485.55 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

1485.55.
 (a) In a contested proceeding, if the court has granted a writ of habeas corpus or when, pursuant to Section 1473.6, the court vacates a judgment, and if the court has found that the person is factually innocent, that finding shall be binding on the California Victim Compensation Board for a claim presented to the board, and upon application by the person, the board shall, without a hearing, recommend to the Legislature that an appropriation be made and the claim paid pursuant to Section 4904.
(b) In a contested or uncontested proceeding, if the court has granted a writ of habeas corpus or vacated a judgment pursuant to Section 1473.6 or paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 1473.7, the person may move for a finding of factual innocence by a preponderance of the evidence that the crime with which they were charged was either not committed at all or, if committed, was not committed by the petitioner.
(c) If the court makes a finding that the petitioner has proven their factual innocence by a preponderance of the evidence pursuant to subdivision (b), the board shall, without a hearing, recommend to the Legislature that an appropriation be made and any claim filed shall be paid pursuant to Section 4904.
(d) A presumption does not exist in any other proceeding for failure to make a motion or obtain a favorable ruling pursuant to subdivision (b).
(e) If a federal court, after granting a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to a nonstatutory motion or request, finds a petitioner factually innocent by no less than a preponderance of the evidence that the crime with which they were charged was either not committed at all or, if committed, was not committed by the petitioner, the board shall, without a hearing, recommend to the Legislature that an appropriation be made and any claim filed shall be paid pursuant to Section 4904.

SEC. 2.

 Section 4901 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

4901.
 (a) A claim under Section 4900, accompanied by a statement of the facts constituting the claim, verified in the manner provided for the verification of complaints in civil actions, is required to be presented by the claimant to the California Victim Compensation Board within a period of 10 years after judgment of acquittal, dismissal of charges, pardon granted, or release from custody, whichever is later.
(b) For purposes of subdivision (a), “release from custody” means release from imprisonment from state prison or from incarceration in county jail when there is no subsequent parole jurisdiction exercised by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or postrelease jurisdiction under a community corrections program, or when there is a parole period or postrelease period subject to jurisdiction of a community corrections program, when that period ends.
(c) A person may not file a claim under Section 4900 until 60 days have passed since the date of reversal of conviction or granting of the writ, or while the case is pending upon an initial refiling, or until a complaint or information has been dismissed a single time.

SEC. 3.

 Section 4903 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

4903.
 (a) Except as provided in Sections 851.865 and 1485.55, the board shall fix a time and place for the hearing of the claim. At the hearing 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 they were charged was either not committed at all, or, if committed, was not committed by the claimant, and the injury sustained by them through their erroneous conviction and incarceration.
(b) In a hearing before the board, 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, and the board.
(c) The board shall deny payment of any claim if the board 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.