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SB-269 Wrongful convictions.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 07/10/2019 09:00 PM
SB269:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  July 10, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  July 01, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  May 21, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 269


Introduced by Senators Bradford and Glazer
(Coauthors: Senators Monning, Roth, and Wiener)

February 12, 2019


An act to amend Sections 1485.55, 4901, 4903, and 4904 of the Penal Code, relating to criminal procedure.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 269, as amended, Bradford. Wrongful convictions.
Existing law authorizes a person who is unlawfully imprisoned or restrained of their liberty to prosecute a writ of habeas corpus to inquire into the cause of that imprisonment or restraint, and requires the discharge of that person if no legal cause is shown for their imprisonment or restraint. Under existing law, if the district attorney or Attorney General either 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 are binding on the Attorney General, the factfinder, and the California Victim Compensation Board. Existing law also requires the express factual findings made by the court in considering a petition for habeas corpus, a motion to vacate judgment on the basis of newly discovered evidence relating to misconduct by a government official, as specified, or an application for a certificate of factual innocence, to be binding on the Attorney General, the factfinder, and the board.
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. The bill would delete the provision specifying that in a contested proceeding, if a court has granted a writ of habeas corpus or vacates a judgment, and if the court has found that the person is factually innocent, that finding is binding on the board.
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 delete the requirement imposing the 2-year deadline. The 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.
Existing law requires the board, if a conviction is set aside based upon a determination that the person was factually innocent of the charge, as provided, to calculate the compensation within 30 days of the presentation of the claim. Under existing law, if the evidence shows that the crime was either not committed at all, or if committed, was not committed by the claimant, and that the claimant has sustained injury through the erroneous conviction and imprisonment, the board is required to report the facts of the case and its conclusions to the next Legislature with a recommendation that the Legislature make an appropriation for the purpose indemnifying the claimant, as specified.
This bill would also apply these requirements to cases in which a state or federal court has granted a writ of habeas corpus or a state court has granted a motion to vacate, as specified. The bill would authorize an additional appropriation to specified claimants.
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 (a) (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 (a). (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.

SEC. 4.

 Section 4904 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

4904.
 If Section 851.865 or 1485.55 applies to a claim, or 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 their erroneous conviction and incarceration, the California Victim Compensation Board shall report the facts of the case and its 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. For a person who, after serving a sentence in a California prison for which the person is entitled to compensation pursuant to this section, was released either on parole pursuant to Section 3000 or 3000.1 or supervised release pursuant to Section 3074, or was required to register pursuant to Section 290, the additional amount of appropriation recommended shall be a sum equivalent to seventy dollars ($70) per day during which the person suffered additional restrictions past the period of incarceration. All appropriation shall not be treated as gross income to the recipient under the Revenue and Taxation Code.