One-Year Prison Priors Eliminated
SB136 modified Penal Code § 667.5, eliminating the one-year sentencing enhancement for prior prison terms for all convictions except sexually violent offenses. The law applies going forward, but also to those cases still pending on appeal.
Limitations on Use of Deadly Force by Peace Officers
AB 392 modified Penal Code §§ 196 and 835(a), changing the “reasonable force” standard for peace officers to “a necessary use of force” standard. An officer in California is now justified in using deadly force only if the officer reasonably believes (based on a totality of the circumstances) that it is necessary to either: (a) defend against imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to any person (including the officer); or (b) apprehend a fleeing person for a felony that resulted in death or serious bodily injury if the officer reasonably believes that the subject will cause death or serious bodily injury to another person unless they are immediately apprehended.
Felony Conviction No Longer Bars Jury Service
SB 310 modified Code of Civil Procedure § 203 so that a felony conviction no longer automatically disqualifies a prospective juror unless that juror is either: (a) still on probation, parole, or post-release community supervision; or (b) required to register as a sex offender.
Primary Caregiver Diversion
SB 394 added Penal Code § 1000.83 authorizing a pretrial diversion program for primary caregivers with proceedings to be suspended for a period of time of at least four months to a maximum of two years. To qualify, the defendant must be a custodial parent or legal guardian of a child living in the household and must provide care and financial support for the child and the absence of that parent would be detrimental to the child.
Primary caregiver diversion is not available when: (a) the defendant would pose an “unreasonable risk to the public;” (b) the offenses is classified as a serious/violent felony; or (c) the victim of the offense is the person for whom they are the caregiver.
Primary caregiver diversion may be applied to both felonies and misdemeanors.
Pitchess Motion Process Changes
AB 1600 modified Code of Civil Procedure § 1005 to conform to regular criminal court motion practice so that Pitchess motions may be filed ten court days prior to the hearing, rather than 16 days.
Supervising officers may now be the subject of a Pitchess motion if they issued commands or had influence over the facts at issue and: (a) had direct oversight of a peace officer (or custodial officer); (b) had contact with the party seeking disclosure from the time of the arrest until booking; or (c) were present at the time of the conduct at issue (if alleged at a jail facility).