As we do the work of collaborative justice, our energies are directed towards problem solving within our teams on behalf of our program participants. While we are in our local jurisdictions, the solutions to some of those problems are being determined by legislative action or legal determinations made on the State and Federal levels.
This page provides you with links to pertinent websites from which you can research legislative proceedings and legal opinions relevant to California’s collaborative justice courts.
California Proposition 47
August 30, 2015
Their Crimes Reclassified, Some Californian Felons Get A Second Chance
Last November, voters in California overwhelmingly approved Proposition 47, which lets people with some nonviolent felonies petition a court to reduce their crimes to misdemeanors. And that has opened up new opportunities for many former offenders.
Take 21-year-old Sofala Mayfield, for instance. Mayfield’s life began to fall apart in his teens, after his grandmother suffered a stroke and his mother fell back into drug addiction.
The Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative was approved by the state’s voters, reducing the classification of most “non-serious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Specifically, the initiative:
Mandate misdemeanors instead of felonies for “non-serious, nonviolent crimes,” unless the defendant has prior convictions for murder, rape, certain sex offenses or certain gun crimes. A list of crimes that would be affected by the penalty reduction are listed below.
Permit re-sentencing for anyone currently serving a prison sentence for any of the offenses that the initiative reduces to misdemeanors. About 10,000 inmates would be eligible for resentencing, according to Lenore Anderson of Californians for Safety and Justice.
Require a “thorough review” of criminal history and risk assessment of any individuals before re-sentencing to ensure that they do not pose a risk to the public.
Create a Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund. The fund would receive appropriations based on savings accrued by the state during the fiscal year, as compared to the previous fiscal year, due to the initiative’s implementation. Estimates range from $150 million to $250 million per year.
Distribute funds from the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund as follows: 25 percent to the Department of Education, 10 percent to the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board and 65 percent to the Board of State and Community Correction.
The measure would require misdemeanor sentencing instead of felony for the following crimes:
Shoplifting, where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950
Grand theft, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950
Receiving stolen property, where the value of the property does not exceed $950
Forgery, where the value of forged check, bond or bill does not exceed $950
Fraud, where the value of the fraudulent check, draft or order does not exceed $950
Writing a bad check, where the value of the check does not exceed $950
Personal use of most illegal drugs
Senate Bill 873 and the Special Immigrant Juvenile Process in the Superior Courts
Legislative Counsel's Digest
SB 873, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review. Human services.
(1) Existing federal law, the Immigration and Nationality Act, establishes a procedure for classification of certain aliens as special immigrants who have been declared dependent on a juvenile court, and authorizes those aliens who have been granted special immigrant juvenile status to apply for an adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident within the United States. Under federal regulations, state juvenile courts are charged with making a preliminary determination of the child’s dependency, as specified. Existing federal regulations define juvenile court to mean a court located in the United States having jurisdiction under state law to make judicial determinations about the custody and care of juveniles.
Existing law establishes the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, which may adjudge a minor to be a dependent or ward of the court. Existing law also establishes the jurisdiction of the probate court. Existing law regulates the establishment and termination of guardianships in probate court, and specifies that a guardian has the care, custody, and control of a ward. Existing law establishes the jurisdiction of the family court, which may make determinations about the custody of children.
This bill would provide that the superior court, including the juvenile, probate, or family court division of the superior court, has jurisdiction to make judicial determinations regarding the custody and care of juveniles within the meaning of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act. The bill would require the superior court to make an order containing the necessary findings regarding special immigrant juvenile status pursuant to federal law, if there is evidence to support those findings. The bill would require records of these proceedings that are not otherwise protected by state confidentiality laws to remain confidential, and would also authorize the sealing of these records. The bill would require the Judicial Council to adopt any rules and forms needed to implement these provisions.