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SB-243 Trial testimony: expert witnesses: writ of habeas corpus.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 01/21/2021 09:00 PM
SB243:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 243


Introduced by Senator Wiener

January 21, 2021


An act to add Section 806 to the Evidence Code, and to amend Section 1473 of the Penal Code, relating to trial testimony.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 243, as introduced, Wiener. Trial testimony: expert witnesses: writ of habeas corpus.
(1) Existing law allows a person who is unlawfully imprisoned or restrained of their liberty to prosecute a writ of habeas corpus to inquire into the cause of their imprisonment or restraint. Existing law allows a writ of habeas corpus to be prosecuted on the basis of false evidence that is substantially material or probative to the issue of guilt or punishment that was introduced at trial. Existing law defines false evidence for these purposes as including the opinions of experts that have been repudiated by the expert or that have been undermined by later scientific research or technological advances.
This bill would expand the definition of false evidence to include the opinions of experts that are undermined by scientific research that existed at the time of the expert’s testimony and opinions for which a reasonable dispute has emerged within the expert’s relevant scientific community as to the validity of the methods or theories upon which the expert based their opinion.
(2)   Existing law limits the testimony of a witness who is testifying as an expert to matter that is of a type that reasonably may be relied upon by an expert in forming an opinion upon the subject to which the expert’s testimony relates. Existing law allows a witness testifying in the form of an opinion to state on direct examination the reasons for their opinion and the matter upon which it is based.
This bill would require a court in any criminal proceeding, when considering whether expert testimony is based on matter that is of a type that reasonably may be relied upon by an expert in forming an opinion, to determine whether the expert’s opinion and any underlying materials are based on a reliable foundation, proper methodology, and sound logic. The bill would specify that an opinion or any underlying materials that lack a reliable foundation, proper methodology, and sound logic are not matter that may reasonably be relied upon.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 806 is added to the Evidence Code, immediately following Section 805, to read:

806.
 In any criminal proceeding, a court considering whether expert testimony is based on matter that is of a type that reasonably may be relied upon by an expert in forming an opinion pursuant to this article, shall determine whether the expert’s opinion, and any underlying literature, studies, research, and other materials on which the expert relies in forming that opinion, are based on a reliable foundation, proper methodology, and sound logic. If the opinion or underlying literature, studies, research, or other materials lack a reliable foundation, proper methodology, and sound logic, they are not matter that may be reasonably relied upon.

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. scientific research, including scientific research that existed at the time the expert’s testimony was given, technological advances, or the emergence of a reasonable dispute with the expert’s relevant scientific community as to the validity of the methods or theories upon which the expert based their opinion.
(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. scientific research, technological advancements, or the emergence of a reasonable dispute with the expert’s relevant scientific community as to the validity of the methods or theories upon which the expert based their opinion.
(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 if judgment was entered on or after January 1, 2021. 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.