Code Section Group

Penal Code - PEN

PART 4. PREVENTION OF CRIMES AND APPREHENSION OF CRIMINALS [11006 - 14315]

  ( Part 4 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1385. )

TITLE 7.5. THE HERTZBERG-LESLIE WITNESS PROTECTION ACT [14020 - 14033]
  ( Title 7.5 added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 507, Sec. 1. )

14020.
  

There is hereby established the Witness Relocation and Assistance Program.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 455, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2008.)

14021.
  

As used in this title:

(a) “Witness” means any person who has been summoned, or is reasonably expected to be summoned, to testify in a criminal matter, including grand jury proceedings, for the people whether or not formal legal proceedings have been filed. Active or passive participation in the criminal matter does not disqualify an individual from being a witness. “Witness” may also apply to family, friends, or associates of the witness who are deemed by local or state prosecutors to be endangered.

(b) “Credible evidence” means evidence leading a reasonable person to believe that substantial reliability should be attached to the evidence.

(c) “Protection” means formal admission into a witness protection program established by this title memorialized by a written agreement between local or state prosecutors and the witness.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 210, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2003.)

14022.
  

The program shall be administered by the Attorney General. In any criminal proceeding within this state, when the action is brought by local or state prosecutors, where credible evidence exists of a substantial danger that a witness may suffer intimidation or retaliatory violence, the Attorney General may reimburse state and local agencies for the costs of providing witness protection services.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 210, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2003.)

14023.
  

The Attorney General shall give priority to matters involving organized crime, gang activities, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and cases involving a high degree of risk to the witness. Special regard shall also be given to the elderly, the young, battered, victims of domestic violence, the infirm, the handicapped, and victims of hate incidents.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 240, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 2006.)

14024.
  

The Attorney General shall coordinate the efforts of state and local agencies to secure witness protection, relocation, and assistance services and then reimburse those state and local agencies for the costs of the services that he or she determines to be necessary to protect a witness from bodily injury, assure the witness’s safe transition into a new environment, and otherwise to assure the health, safety, and welfare of the witness. The Attorney General may reimburse the state or local agencies that provide witnesses with any of the following:

(a) Armed protection or escort by law enforcement officials or security personnel before, during, or subsequent to, legal proceedings.

(b) Physical relocation to an alternate residence.

(c) Housing expense.

(d) Appropriate documents to establish a new identity.

(e) Transportation or storage of personal possessions.

(f) Basic living expenses, including, but not limited to, food, transportation, utility costs, and health care.

(g) Support, advocacy, and other services to provide for witnesses’ safe transition into a new environment.

(h) Other services as needed and approved by the Attorney General.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 455, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2008.)

14025.
  

The witness protection agreement shall be in writing, and shall specify the responsibilities of the protected person that establish the conditions for local or state prosecutors providing protection. The protected person shall agree to all of the following:

(a) If a witness or potential witness, to testify in and provide information to all appropriate law enforcement officials concerning all appropriate proceedings.

(b) To refrain from committing any crime.

(c) To take all necessary steps to avoid detection by others of the facts concerning the protection provided to that person under this title.

(d) To comply with legal obligations and civil judgments against that person.

(e) To cooperate with all reasonable requests of officers and employees of this state who are providing protection under this title.

(f) To designate another person to act as agent for the service of process.

(g) To make a sworn statement of all outstanding legal obligations, including obligations concerning child custody and visitation.

(h) To disclose any probation or parole responsibilities, and if the person is on probation or parole.

(i) To regularly inform the appropriate program official of his or her activities and current address.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 210, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2003.)

14025.5.
  

The State of California, the counties and cities within the state, and their respective officers and employees shall not be liable for any condition in the witness protection agreement that cannot reasonably be met due to a witness committing a crime during participation in the program.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 210, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2003.)

14026.
  

Funds available to implement this title may be used for any of the following:

(a) To protect witnesses where credible evidence exists that they may be in substantial danger of intimidation or retaliatory violence because of their testimony.

(b) To provide temporary and permanent relocation of witnesses and provide for their transition and well-being into a safe and secure environment.

(c) To pay the costs of administering the program.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 507, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1998.)

14026.5.
  

For the purposes of this title, notwithstanding Article 1 (commencing with Section 13959) of Chapter 5 of Part 4 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, a witness, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 14021, selected by local or state prosecutors to receive services under the program established pursuant to this title because he or she has been or may be victimized due to the testimony he or she will give, shall be deemed a victim.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 210, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2003.)

14027.
  

The Attorney General shall issue appropriate guidelines and may adopt regulations to implement this title. These guidelines shall include:

(a) A process whereby state and local agencies shall apply for reimbursement of the costs of providing witness protection services.

(b) A 25-percent match that shall be required of local agencies. The Attorney General may also establish a process through which to waive the required local match when appropriate.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 176, Sec. 65. Effective August 24, 2007.)

14028.
  

The State of California, the counties and cities within the state, and their respective officers and employees shall have immunity from civil liability for any decision declining or revoking protection to a witness under this title.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 507, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1998.)

14029.
  

All information relating to any witness participating in the program established pursuant to this title shall remain confidential and is not subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code) and, if a change of name has been approved by the program, the order to show cause is not subject to the publication requirement of Section 1277 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 688, Sec. 19. Effective January 1, 2001.)

14029.5.
  

(a) (1) No person or private entity shall post on the Internet the home address, the telephone number, or personal identifying information that discloses the location of any witness or witness’ family member participating in the Witness Relocation and Assistance Program (WRAP) with the intent that another person imminently use that information to commit a crime involving violence or a threat of violence against that witness or witness’ family member.

(2) A violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or imprisonment of up to six months in a county jail, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(3) A violation of this subdivision that leads to the bodily injury of the witness, or of any of the witness’ family members who are participating in the program, is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisonment of up to one year in a county jail, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(b) Upon admission to WRAP, local or state prosecutors shall give each participant a written opt-out form for submission to relevant Internet search engine companies or entities. This form shall notify entities of the protected person and prevent the inclusion of the participant’s addresses and telephone numbers in public Internet search databases.

(c) A business, state or local agency, private entity, or person that receives the opt-out form of a WRAP participant pursuant to this section shall remove the participant’s personal information from public display on the Internet within two business days of delivery of the opt-out form, and shall continue to ensure that this information is not reposted on the same Internet Web site, a subsidiary site, or any other Internet Web site maintained by the recipient of the opt-out form. No business, state or local agency, private entity, or person that has received an opt-out form from a WRAP participant shall solicit, sell, or trade on the Internet the home address or telephone number of that participant.

(d) A business, state or local agency, private entity, or person that violates subdivision (c) shall be subject to a civil penalty for each violation in the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000). An action for a civil penalty under this subdivision may be brought by any public prosecutor in the name of the people of the State of California and the penalty imposed shall be enforceable as a civil judgment.

(e) A witness whose home address or telephone number is made public as a result of a violation of subdivision (c) may bring an action seeking injunctive or declaratory relief in any court of competent jurisdiction. If a jury or court finds that a violation has occurred, it may grant injunctive or declaratory relief and shall award the witness court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a witness whose home address or telephone number is solicited, sold, or traded in violation of subdivision (c) may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction. If a jury or court finds that a violation has occurred, it shall award damages to that witness in an amount up to a maximum of three times the actual damages, but in no case less than four thousand dollars ($4,000).

(g) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under any other provision of law.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 328, Sec. 183. (SB 1330) Effective January 1, 2011.)

14030.
  

(a) The Attorney General shall establish a liaison with the United States Marshal’s office in order to facilitate the legal processes over which the federal government has sole authority, including, but not limited to, those processes included in Section 14024. The liaison shall coordinate all requests for federal assistance relating to witness protection as established by this title.

(b) The Attorney General shall pursue all federal sources that may be available for implementing this program. For that purpose, the Attorney General shall establish a liaison with the United States Department of Justice.

(c) The Attorney General, with the California Victim Compensation Board, shall establish procedures to maximize federal funds for witness protection services.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 31, Sec. 259. (SB 836) Effective June 27, 2016.)

14031.
  

Commencing one year after the effective date of this title, the Attorney General shall make an annual report to the Legislature no later than January 1 on the fiscal and operational status of the program. This report shall include the amount of funding sought by each county, the amount of funding provided to each county, and the amount of the county match.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 176, Sec. 66. Effective August 24, 2007.)

14032.
  

The administrative costs of the Attorney General for the purposes of administering this title shall be limited to 5 percent of all costs incurred pursuant to this title.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 507, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1998.)

14033.
  

(a) The Governor’s budget shall specify the estimated amount in the Restitution Fund that is in excess of the amount needed to pay claims pursuant to Sections 13960 to 13965, inclusive, of the Government Code, to pay administrative costs for increasing restitution funds, and to maintain a prudent reserve.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that, notwithstanding Government Code Section 13967, in the annual Budget Act, funds be appropriated to the Attorney General from those funds that are in excess of the amount specified pursuant to subdivision (a) for the purposes of this title.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 507, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1998.)

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