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AB-256 Criminal procedure: discrimination.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/16/2021 09:00 PM
AB256:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 16, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 256


Introduced by Assembly Members Kalra, Kamlager, Robert Rivas, and Santiago
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member McCarty)
(Principal coauthors: Senators Bradford and Gonzalez)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Bonta, Carrillo, Friedman, Lee, Levine, Stone, and Ting)
(Coauthors: Senators Durazo, Laird, Skinner, and Wiener)

January 14, 2021


An act to amend Sections 745 and 1473 of the Penal Code, relating to criminal procedure.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 256, as amended, Kalra. Criminal procedure: discrimination.
Existing law prohibits the state from seeking a criminal conviction or sentence on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin, as specified, and, in a case in which judgment has not been entered prior to January 1, 2021, allows a petition to be filed alleging a violation of that prohibition. Existing law authorizes a court that finds a violation of that prohibition to impose specified remedies, including, among other things, modifying the judgment and resentencing the defendant.
This bill would authorize that petition to be filed for cases in which a judgment was entered prior to January 1, 2021. The bill would additionally make other technical changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 745 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

745.
 (a) The state shall not seek or obtain a criminal conviction or seek, obtain, or impose a sentence on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin. A violation is established if the defendant proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, any of the following:
(1) The judge, an attorney in the case, a law enforcement officer involved in the case, an expert witness, or juror exhibited bias or animus towards the defendant because of the defendant’s race, ethnicity, or national origin.
(2)  During the defendant’s trial, in court and during the proceedings, the judge, an attorney in the case, a law enforcement officer involved in the case, an expert witness, or juror, used racially discriminatory language about the defendant’s race, ethnicity, or national origin, or otherwise exhibited bias or animus towards the defendant because of the defendant’s race, ethnicity, or national origin, whether or not purposeful. This paragraph does not apply if the person speaking is describing language used by another that is relevant to the case or if the person speaking is giving a racially neutral and unbiased physical description of the suspect.
(3) The defendant was charged or convicted of a more serious offense than defendants of other races, ethnicities, or national origins who commit similar offenses and are similarly situated, and the evidence establishes that the prosecution more frequently sought or obtained convictions for more serious offenses against people who share the defendant’s race, ethnicity, or national origin in the county where the convictions were sought or obtained.
(4) (A) A longer or more severe sentence was imposed on the defendant than was imposed on other similarly situated individuals convicted of the same offense, and longer or more severe sentences were more frequently imposed for that offense on people that share the defendant’s race, ethnicity, or national origin than on defendants of other races, ethnicities, or national origins in the county where the sentence was imposed.
(B) A longer or more severe sentence was imposed on the defendant than was imposed on other similarly situated individuals convicted of the same offense, and longer or more severe sentences were more frequently imposed for the same offense on defendants in cases with victims of one race, ethnicity, or national origin than in cases with victims of other races, ethnicities, or national origins, in the county where the sentence was imposed.
(b) A defendant may file a motion in the trial court or, if judgment has been imposed, may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus or a motion under Section 1473.7 in a court of competent jurisdiction, alleging a violation of subdivision (a).
(c) If a motion is filed in the trial court and the defendant makes a prima facie showing of a violation of subdivision (a), the trial court shall hold a hearing.
(1) At the hearing, evidence may be presented by either party, including, but not limited to, statistical evidence, aggregate data, expert testimony, and the sworn testimony of witnesses. The court may also appoint an independent expert.
(2) The defendant shall have the burden of proving a violation of subdivision (a) by a preponderance of the evidence.
(3) At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall make findings on the record.
(d) A defendant may file a motion requesting disclosure to the defense of all evidence relevant to a potential violation of subdivision (a) in the possession or control of the state. A motion filed under this section shall describe the type of records or information the defendant seeks. Upon a showing of good cause, and if the records are not privileged, the court shall order the records to be released. Upon a showing of good cause, the court may permit the prosecution to redact information prior to disclosure.
(e) Notwithstanding any other law, except for an initiative approved by the voters, if the court finds, by a preponderance of evidence, a violation of subdivision (a), the court shall impose a remedy specific to the violation found from the following list:
(1) Before a judgment has been entered, the court may impose any of the following remedies:
(A) Declare a mistrial, if requested the by the defendant.
(B) Discharge the jury panel and empanel a new jury.
(C) If the court determines that it would be in the interest of justice, dismiss enhancements, special circumstances, or special allegations, or reduce one or more charges.
(2) (A) When a judgment has been entered, if the court finds that a conviction was sought or obtained in violation of subdivision (a), the court shall vacate the conviction and sentence, find that it is legally invalid, and order new proceedings consistent with subdivision (a). If the court finds that the only violation of subdivision (a) that occurred is based on paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) and the court has the ability to rectify the violation by modifying the judgment, the court shall modify the judgment to impose an appropriate remedy for the violation that occurred. On resentencing, the court shall not impose a new sentence greater than that previously imposed.
(B) When a judgment has been entered, if the court finds that only the sentence was sought, obtained, or imposed in violation of subdivision (a), the court shall vacate the sentence, find that it is legally invalid, and impose a new sentence. On resentencing, the court shall not impose a new sentence greater than that previously imposed.
(3) When the court finds there has been a violation of subdivision (a), the defendant shall not be eligible for the death penalty.
(4) The remedies available under this section do not foreclose any other remedies available under the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, or any other law.
(f) This section also applies to adjudications and dispositions in the juvenile delinquency system.
(g) This section shall not prevent the prosecution of hate crimes pursuant to Sections 422.6 to 422.865, inclusive.
(h) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “More frequently sought or obtained” or “more frequently imposed” means that statistical evidence or aggregate data demonstrate a significant difference in seeking or obtaining convictions or in imposing sentences comparing individuals who have committed similar offenses and are similarly situated, and the prosecution cannot establish race-neutral reasons for the disparity.
(2) “Prima facie showing” means that the defendant produces facts that, if true, establish that there is a substantial likelihood that a violation of subdivision (a) occurred. For purposes of this section, a “substantial likelihood” requires more than a mere possibility, but less than a standard of more likely than not.
(3) “Racially discriminatory language” means language that, to an objective observer, explicitly or implicitly appeals to racial bias, including, but not limited to, racially charged or racially coded language, language that compares the defendant to an animal, or language that references the defendant’s physical appearance, culture, ethnicity, or national origin. Evidence that particular words or images are used exclusively or disproportionately in cases where the defendant is of a specific race, ethnicity, or national origin is relevant to determining whether language is discriminatory.
(4) “State” includes the Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city prosecutor.
(i) A defendant may share a race, ethnicity, or national origin with more than one group. A defendant may aggregate data among groups to demonstrate a violation of subdivision (a).
(j) This section applies to all cases, regardless of when judgment was entered.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1473 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

1473.
 (a) A person unlawfully imprisoned or restrained of their liberty, under any pretense, may prosecute a writ of habeas corpus to inquire into the cause of the imprisonment or restraint.
(b) A writ of habeas corpus may be prosecuted for, but not limited to, the following reasons:
(1) False evidence that is substantially material or probative on the issue of guilt or punishment was introduced against a person at a hearing or trial relating to the person’s incarceration.
(2) False physical evidence, believed by a person to be factual, probative, or material on the issue of guilt, which was known by the person at the time of entering a plea of guilty, which was a material factor directly related to the plea of guilty by the person.
(3) (A) New evidence exists that is credible, material, presented without substantial delay, and of such decisive force and value that it would have more likely than not changed the outcome at trial.
(B) For purposes of this section, “new evidence” means evidence that has been discovered after trial, that could not have been discovered prior to trial by the exercise of due diligence, and is admissible and not merely cumulative, corroborative, collateral, or impeaching.
(c) Any allegation that the prosecution knew or should have known of the false nature of the evidence referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (b) is immaterial to the prosecution of a writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (b).
(d) This section does not limit the grounds for which a writ of habeas corpus may be prosecuted or preclude the use of any other remedies.
(e) (1) For purposes of this section, “false evidence” includes opinions of experts that have either been repudiated by the expert who originally provided the opinion at a hearing or trial or that have been undermined by later scientific research or technological advances.
(2) This section does not create additional liabilities, beyond those already recognized, for an expert who repudiates the original opinion provided at a hearing or trial or whose opinion has been undermined by later scientific research or technological advancements.
(f) Notwithstanding any other law, a writ of habeas corpus may also be prosecuted after judgment has been entered based on evidence that a criminal conviction or sentence was sought, obtained, or imposed in violation of subdivision (a) of Section 745, regardless of when judgment was entered. A petition raising a claim of this nature for the first time, or on the basis of new discovery provided by the state or other new evidence that could not have been previously known by the petitioner with due diligence, shall not be deemed a successive or abusive petition. If the petitioner has a habeas corpus petition pending in state court, but it has not yet been decided, the petitioner may amend the existing petition with a claim that the petitioner’s conviction or sentence was sought, obtained, or imposed in violation of subdivision (a) of Section 745. The petition shall state if the petitioner requests appointment of counsel and the court shall appoint counsel if the petitioner cannot afford counsel and either the petition alleges facts that would establish a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 745 or the State Public Defender requests counsel be appointed. Newly appointed counsel may amend a petition filed before their appointment. The court shall review a petition raising a claim pursuant to Section 745 and shall determine if the petitioner has made a prima facie showing of entitlement to relief. If the petitioner makes a prima facie showing that the petitioner is entitled to relief, the court shall issue an order to show cause why relief shall not be granted and hold an evidentiary hearing, unless the state declines to show cause. The defendant shall appear at the hearing by video unless counsel indicates that their presence in court is needed. If the court determines that the petitioner has not established a prima facie showing of entitlement to relief, the court shall state the factual and legal basis for its conclusion on the record or issue a written order detailing the factual and legal basis for its conclusion.