[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Showers
Showers
66°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 6
1864 - Actor William S. Hart born in Newburgh, New York [Hart Index]
Wm. S. Hart


| Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019
body cameras and criminal justice - A police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina wears a body camera. | Photo: Ryan Johnson/WMC.
A police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina wears a body camera. | Photo: Ryan Johnson/WMC.

 

SACRAMENTO – California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a flurry of criminal justice reforms Tuesday evening, including measures that bar law enforcement from using facial recognition software in body cameras, speed up the expungement process and end certain sentencing enhancements.

“I am signing more than two dozen bills that give hope to those that have earned a second chance in our communities, and also support victims of crime,” Newsom said in a statement. “These bills show a new path to ensure our state moves closer toward a more equitable criminal justice system.”

Under Assembly Bill 1215, law enforcement agencies will have to wait at least three years before they can equip officers with body cameras installed with biometric surveillance technology that can systematically take and store photos of Californians.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other critics of facial recognition technology want to keep law enforcement agencies from installing the software on officer body cameras until developers such as Amazon and Microsoft can work out the kinks. The group claims the budding technology is prone to misidentifying minorities and is unfit for deployment on California streets.

“Rather than facilitating the expansion of a discriminatory surveillance state, California must invest its precious resources to foster free, healthy communities where everyone can feel safe – regardless of what they look like, where they’re from, how they worship or where they live,” said ACLU of Northern California attorney Matt Cagle in a statement.

Though the measure was widely opposed by law enforcement groups who painted the ban as “heavy-handed,” the measure cleared both chambers with bipartisan votes.

Supporters backed their arguments with a series of ACLU studies that used Amazon’s facial recognition software, called Rekognition, to cross-check 120 California legislators against a database of 25,000 publicly available mugshots. The algorithm falsely identified 26 of the lawmakers – including AB 1215 author Assemblyman Phil Ting.

Another test found Amazon’s product incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress to the mugshots of other people.

In light of the studies, Amazon defended its software and accused the ACLU of rigging the test to create mismatches.

Ting, D-San Francisco, says his bill will help keep cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles from becoming “police states” and give technology companies time to develop more reliable software. The measure goes into effect in January and sunsets in 2023.

“The public wanted their officers and deputies to use body cameras to provide accountability and transparency for the community. The addition of facial recognition technology essentially turns them into 24-hour surveillance tools, giving law enforcement the ability to track our every move. We cannot become a police state,” Ting said in a statement.

City councils in San Francisco, Oakland and Somerville, Massachusetts, have voted to ban government use of facial surveillance, and the Massachusetts Legislature is considering a similar moratorium.

Also included in the 25 criminal justice reform bills signed by Newsom Tuesday is a measure that tasks the state with implementing a system that will automatically expunge certain arrest records.

AB 1076, also by Ting, requires the Department of Justice to seek out the records of those who have served their time and begin expungement. Currently, individuals in most counties must petition directly to the court to begin the process.

Ting’s bill excludes registered sex offenders or individuals with pending criminal cases and will apply to people arrested after Jan. 1, 2021. Republican lawmakers largely voted against the bill, but it passed due to Democratic majorities in both chambers.

The Department of Justice calculated that the bill will cost more than $13 million from fiscal years 2019-2024 to implement, and the Judicial Council estimated it would cost the courts between $460,000 and $880,000 annually.

Supporters say the process will reduce recidivism rates and make it easier for people to apply for jobs and public housing.

“Many Californians living with past criminal records have completed their sentences and paid their debts, yet still face thousands of legal prohibitions preventing eligibility for jobs, housing and many other keys to family stability and economic mobility,” Lenore Anderson, president of Californians for Safety and Justice, said in a statement. “It’s time for meaningful rehabilitation.”

Other notable criminal justice measures signed Tuesday:

Senate Bill 136: Ending a longstanding one-year sentencing enhancement applied to an individual’s base sentence for each of their prior prison or felony jail terms served. The bill’s author said in a statement after his bill was signed that the enhancement was a major contribution to California’s mass incarceration crisis. “We need to hold people accountable for their behavior, but that doesn’t mean destroying people’s lives. California has a laundry list of nearly 150 sentence enhancements. We don’t need this one,” said State Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.

AB 484: Ending a mandatory requirement that judges impose 180 days jail time prior to probation for possession of drugs like powder cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.

SB 22: Aims to reduce backlogs by forcing law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits to a crime lab within 20 days and have them tested no later than 120 days after receipt. “Survivors should never have to wait years or even decades for their rape kits to be tested and it is outrageous that collected evidence could ever sit on a shelf untested,” State Senator Connie Leyva said after her bill cleared the Legislature last month.

SB 310: Allows residents with a prior felony conviction to serve on a jury, excluding registered sex offenders or individuals on any form of felony supervision. More than 20 states allow people with felony convictions to serve on juries and supporters say it will make the judicial system fairer for minorities. “As a black man and public defender, I have witnessed firsthand the damage caused by the systemic exclusion of people with felony convictions from jury service,” Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods said. “This bill is a historic step toward achieving racial equity in California.”

AB 45: Prohibits county jails and state prisons from charging inmates copays for medical and dental services. The California Department of Corrections stopped charging inmates a traditional $5 copay earlier this year, and now the ban is codified in state law.

— By Nick Cahill

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Dec 6, 2019
Planners to Weigh Extending Plan for Senior Condo Complex
For each of the past six years, developers planning to build a senior condo complex near Towsley Canyon on The Old Road have asked regional planners for more time to keep the project alive, and on Tuesday they’ll ask again.
Friday, Dec 6, 2019
Santa Clarita City Council to Appoint 2020 Mayor
With the new year just weeks away, the Santa Clarita City Council is set to nominate its new 2020 mayor on Tuesday.
Thursday, Dec 5, 2019
Insurers Now Banned from Pulling Policies in CA’s Fire-Ravaged Areas
OAKLAND — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a mandatory one-year moratorium Thursday on insurance companies non-renewing policyholders - helping at least 800,000 homes in wildfire disaster areas in Northern and Southern California.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Libbie McMahan scored half the points for her team in Saugus High School girls basketball’s 56-51 tournament win over Glendora at Sierra Canyon on Thursday night.
McMahan Scores 31 as Saugus Girls Hoops Beats Glendora
The Golden Valley High School Grizzly Band, Jazz Band and Color Guard have set a benefit event for Saugus High School at Tomato Joe's Pizza & Taps on Wednesday, December 11 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dec. 11: Grizzlies to Stage Benefit for Saugus High at Tomato Joe’s
Although they might be training to become master chefs, no one is above having fun with a gingerbread house competition during the holiday season.
COC Culinary Institute Holds Annual Gingerbread House Competition
For each of the past six years, developers planning to build a senior condo complex near Towsley Canyon on The Old Road have asked regional planners for more time to keep the project alive, and on Tuesday they’ll ask again.
Planners to Weigh Extending Plan for Senior Condo Complex
With the new year just weeks away, the Santa Clarita City Council is set to nominate its new 2020 mayor on Tuesday.
Santa Clarita City Council to Appoint 2020 Mayor
1864 - Actor William S. Hart born in Newburgh, New York [Hart Index]
Wm. S. Hart
The Santa Clarita Arts Commission will hold its regular meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 12: Arts Commission Regular Meeting
A special meeting of the Engineering & Operations Committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, Dec. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at Summit Circle, located at 26521 Summit Circle, Santa Clarita, in the Training Room.
Dec. 9: SCV Water Engineering & Operations Committee Special Meeting
Because of the recent rainfall, Los Angeles County Health Officer, Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, is cautioning residents who are planning to visit Los Angeles County beaches to avoid swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers. Bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash, and other public health hazards from city streets and mountain areas are likely to contaminate ocean waters at and around these outlets after a rainfall.
Water Advisory Issued for Los Angeles County Beaches
OAKLAND — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a mandatory one-year moratorium Thursday on insurance companies non-renewing policyholders - helping at least 800,000 homes in wildfire disaster areas in Northern and Southern California.
Insurers Now Banned from Pulling Policies in CA’s Fire-Ravaged Areas
In what has become a Newhall tradition, Faith Community Church will welcome the neighborhood to celebrate Christmas with its 14th annual “Festividad for Christ” event.
Dec. 14: Annual “Festividad for Christ” at Faith Community Church
The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra (SCVYO) invites all young musicians to attend the next “Visiting Artists Program” workshop that will be taking place Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in Pico Canyon Hall at College of the Canyons.
Dec. 7: SCV Youth Orchestra’s “Visiting Artists Program” Workshop
As the community continues to process the Saugus High School tragedy and find comfort in one another, the Santa Clarita Public Library has come together with Homes4Families to offer Santa Clarita teens and tweens affected by the shooting a healing art program, titled “The Heart of Feeling: Emotions Hidden Inside.”
Dec. 11: “The Heart of Feeling” Healing Art Program at Santa Clarita Library
Four Santa Clarita Valley volleyball players were named to an All-CIF team, as announced by the CIF-Southern Section on Monday.
Volleyball Players from 3 SCV Schools Named ALL-CIF
Preparations are underway for the eighth annual SCV Charity Chili Cook-off, and organizers are looking for sponsors and chili cooker contestants.
Annual Charity Chili Cook-Off Looking for Sponsors, Contestants
The Newhall residential community is about to grow with the addition of nearly 100 condominiums after the Santa Clarita Planning Commission approved their construction on Tuesday.
Planning Commission Approves Condominium Project on Dockweiler Drive
A burning motor home seen fully engulfed in flames prompted a swift response by firefighters to a vacant lot in Castaic Wednesday afternoon.
Castaic RV Fire Prompts Quick Response
1938 - Supervisors award construction contract for jail at Wayside Farms in Castaic (later called Pitchess Detention Center). [story]
Wayside
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger to improve access to mental health treatment in the county by adopting a two-year pilot program to procure up to 500 more beds for those in need of care.
County to Identify More Beds for Mental Health Treatment
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles inspected pet stores on Tuesday for compliance with California laws regarding pet shops.
County Teams With SPCA-LA to Prevent Cruelty to Animals
College of the Canyons officials announced Tuesday they plan to refund $31 million of a recent outstanding general obligation bond, saving taxpayers $8.3 million over the next two decades, according to COC.
COC OK’s $31M General Obligation Bond Refund
After more than two and a half years as the Santa Clarita Valley’s “top cop,” county officials confirmed Wednesday morning that SCV Sheriff’s Station Capt. Robert Lewis is being promoted again — to commander.
SCV’s Top Cop, Capt. Robert Lewis, Now a Commander
The JCI Santa Clarita organization for young business professionals has set several community events for December and invite residents to join in the fun leading up to the year-end holidays.
JCI Hosts December Community Events
The Lancaster JetHawks on Wednesday praised the newly created Save Minor League Baseball Task Force that has been organized by members of Congress to prevent Major League Baseball from eliminating 42 minor league franchises, nearly one-quarter of all minor league teams around the country.
JetHawks Laud Lawmakers’ Effort to Save Minor League Baseball
%d bloggers like this: