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SB-81 Sentencing: dismissal of enhancements.(2021-2022)



Current Version: 10/08/21 - Chaptered         Compare Versions information image


SB81:v91#DOCUMENT

Senate Bill No. 81
CHAPTER 721

An act to amend Section 1385 of the Penal Code, relating to sentencing.

[ Approved by Governor  October 08, 2021. Filed with Secretary of State  October 08, 2021. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 81, Skinner. Sentencing: dismissal of enhancements.
Existing law generally authorizes a court to dismiss an action or to strike or dismiss an enhancement in the furtherance of justice.
This bill would, except as specified, require a court to dismiss an enhancement if it is in the furtherance of justice to do so. The bill would require a court to consider and afford great weight to evidence offered by the defendant to prove that specified mitigating circumstances are present. The bill would provide that proof of the presence of one or more specified mitigating circumstances weighs greatly in favor of dismissing an enhancement, unless the court finds that dismissal would endanger public safety, as defined.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 1385 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

1385.
 (a) The judge or magistrate may, either on motion of the court or upon the application of the prosecuting attorney, and in furtherance of justice, order an action to be dismissed. The reasons for the dismissal shall be stated orally on the record. The court shall also set forth the reasons in an order entered upon the minutes if requested by either party or in any case in which the proceedings are not being recorded electronically or reported by a court reporter. A dismissal shall not be made for any cause that would be ground of demurrer to the accusatory pleading.
(b) (1) If the court has the authority pursuant to subdivision (a) to strike or dismiss an enhancement, the court may instead strike the additional punishment for that enhancement in the furtherance of justice in compliance with subdivision (a).
(2) This subdivision does not authorize the court to strike the additional punishment for any enhancement that cannot be stricken or dismissed pursuant to subdivision (a).
(c) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, the court shall dismiss an enhancement if it is in the furtherance of justice to do so, except if dismissal of that enhancement is prohibited by any initiative statute.
(2) In exercising its discretion under this subdivision, the court shall consider and afford great weight to evidence offered by the defendant to prove that any of the mitigating circumstances in subparagraphs (A) to (I) are present. Proof of the presence of one or more of these circumstances weighs greatly in favor of dismissing the enhancement, unless the court finds that dismissal of the enhancement would endanger public safety. “Endanger public safety” means there is a likelihood that the dismissal of the enhancement would result in physical injury or other serious danger to others.
(3) While the court may exercise its discretion at sentencing, nothing in this subdivision shall prevent a court from exercising its discretion before, during, or after trial or entry of plea.
(A) Application of the enhancement would result in a discriminatory racial impact as described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 745.
(B) Multiple enhancements are alleged in a single case. In this instance, all enhancements beyond a single enhancement shall be dismissed.
(C) The application of an enhancement could result in a sentence of over 20 years. In this instance, the enhancement shall be dismissed.
(D) The current offense is connected to mental illness.
(E) The current offense is connected to prior victimization or childhood trauma.
(F) The current offense is not a violent felony as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5.
(G) The defendant was a juvenile when they committed the current offense or any prior juvenile adjudication that triggers the enhancement or enhancements applied in this case.
(H) The enhancement is based on a prior conviction that is over five years old.
(I) Though a firearm was used in the current offense, it was inoperable or unloaded.
(4) The circumstances listed in paragraph (2) are not exclusive and the court maintains authority to dismiss or strike an enhancement in accordance with subdivision (a).
(5) For the purposes of subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2), a mental illness is a mental disorder as identified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, including, but not limited to, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, but excluding antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and pedophilia. A court may conclude that a defendant’s mental illness was connected to the offense if, after reviewing any relevant and credible evidence, including, but not limited to, police reports, preliminary hearing transcripts, witness statements, statements by the defendant’s mental health treatment provider, medical records, records or reports by qualified medical experts, or evidence that the defendant displayed symptoms consistent with the relevant mental disorder at or near the time of the offense, the court concludes that the defendant’s mental illness substantially contributed to the defendant’s involvement in the commission of the offense.
(6) For the purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the following meanings:
(A) “Childhood trauma” means that as a minor the person experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, physical or emotional neglect. A court may conclude that a defendant’s childhood trauma was connected to the offense if, after reviewing any relevant and credible evidence, including, but not limited to, police reports, preliminary hearing transcripts, witness statements, medical records, or records or reports by qualified medical experts, the court concludes that the defendant’s childhood trauma substantially contributed to the defendant’s involvement in the commission of the offense.
(B) “Prior victimization” means the person was a victim of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or human trafficking, or the person has experienced psychological or physical trauma, including, but not limited to, abuse, neglect, exploitation, or sexual violence. A court may conclude that a defendant’s prior victimization was connected to the offense if, after reviewing any relevant and credible evidence, including, but not limited to, police reports, preliminary hearing transcripts, witness statements, medical records, or records or reports by qualified medical experts, the court concludes that the defendant’s prior victimization substantially contributed to the defendant’s involvement in the commission of the offense.
(7) This subdivision shall apply to sentencings occurring after the effective date of the act that added this subdivision.