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AB-1798 California Racial Justice Act: death penalty.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 03/21/2019 09:00 PM
AB1798:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 21, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1798


Introduced by Assembly Member Levine

February 22, 2019


An act relating to ocean resources. An act to add Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 3710) to Title 3 of Part 3 of the Penal Code, relating to the death penalty.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1798, as amended, Levine. Ocean acidification. California Racial Justice Act: death penalty.
Existing law defines first degree murder, in part, as all murder that is committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, specified felonies, including arson, rape, carjacking, robbery, burglary, mayhem, and kidnapping. Existing law, as enacted by Proposition 7, approved by the voters at the November 7, 1978, statewide general election, prescribes a penalty for that crime of death, imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole, or imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 25 years to life.
This bill would prohibit a person from being executed pursuant to a judgment that was either sought or obtained on the basis of race if the court makes a finding that race was a significant factor in seeking or imposing the death penalty. The bill would provide that a finding that race was a significant factor would include statistical evidence or other evidence that death sentences were sought or imposed significantly more frequently upon persons of one race than upon persons of another race or that race was a significant factor in decisions to exercise preemptory challenges during jury selection.
Because this bill would place additional duties on prosecutors, it would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Existing law requires the Ocean Protection Council, in consultation with the State Coastal Conservancy and other relevant entities, to establish and administer the Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Reduction Program for the purposes of achieving specified goals. Existing law also authorizes the council to develop an ocean acidification and hypoxia science task force to ensure that council decisionmaking is supported by the best available science, and requires the council to take specified actions to address ocean acidification and hypoxia. Existing law imposes these responsibilities only to the extent funding is available for these purposes.

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would address ocean acidification.

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

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


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 3710) is added to Title 3 of Part 3 of the Penal Code, to read:
CHAPTER  3. California Racial Justice Act

3710.
 A person shall not be condemned to death or executed pursuant to any judgment that was sought or obtained on the basis of race.

3711.
 (a) A finding that race was the basis of a decision to seek or impose a sentence of death may be established if the court finds that race was a significant factor in the decision to either seek or impose the death penalty in the county or the state at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed.
(b) Evidence relevant to establish a finding that race was a significant factor in decisions to seek or impose the death penalty in the county or the state at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed may include statistical evidence or other evidence, including, but not limited to, the sworn testimony of attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, jurors, or other members of the criminal justice system, that irrespective of statutory factors, either of the following applies:
(1) Death sentences were sought or imposed significantly more frequently upon persons of one race than upon persons of another race.
(2) Race was a significant factor in the decision to exercise preemptory challenges during jury selection.
(c) The defendant shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that race was a significant factor in the decision to seek or impose the death penalty in the county or state at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed. The state may offer evidence in rebuttal of the defendant’s evidence, including statistical evidence. If a program to eliminate race as a factor in seeking or imposing the death penalty was in effect in the county or the state at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed in the defendant’s case, the court may consider that as evidence in rebuttal.

3712.
 (a) The defendant shall state with particularity the manner in which the evidence supports the claim that race was a significant factor in decisions to seek or impose the death penalty in the county or the state at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed.
(1) The claim may be raised by the defendant in a pretrial motion or in postconviction proceedings.
(2) The court shall schedule a hearing on the claim and prescribe a time for the submission of evidence by both parties.
(3) If the court finds that race was a significant factor in the decision to either seek or impose the death penalty in the county or the state at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed, the court shall either order that the death penalty not be sought if the finding is made before trial, or that the death sentence imposed be vacated and the defendant sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole if the finding is made postconviction.
(b) Any juror testimony offered as evidence shall be consistent with Section 1150 of the Evidence Code.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
SECTION 1.

It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would address ocean acidification.