(From Press Release) – On Friday, the California Assembly approved legislation that will help prevent wrongful convictions. Senate Bill 923, introduced by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), will ensure that law enforcement agencies throughout the state adhere to evidence-based standards that protect against mistaken eyewitness identifications.
Kathy Sher, Legislative Advocate for the ACLU of California, had this response:
We commend the California Assembly for passing SB 923. SB 923 will help prevent wrongful convictions by establishing statewide eyewitness standards that we know improve the accuracy and reliability of eyewitness identifications. Several other states already have these standards in place. It’s about time California caught up.
Since 1991, 66 Californians have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned because an eyewitness misidentified them. Nationwide, mistaken eyewitness identification played a role in over 70 percent of convictions that were later overturned by DNA testing.
The stakes are too high for California to lag on adopting these standards that we know work. We are heartened to see the California Legislature do its part to help keep innocent people out of prison. We hope Governor Brown will follow suit and sign SB 923 into law.
Legislature Approves Bill to Place Checks on Police Militarization
(From Press Release) – The California Senate voted to approve Assembly Bill 3131, a bill to increase transparency and accountability in law enforcement’s acquisition of military equipment. The bill was introduced by Assemblymembers Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco).
Eva Brittan, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Southern California, had this to say in response:
We commend the California Senate for taking this commonsense step to rein in unchecked police militarization in California. Over the last decade, wartime assault rifles, grenade launchers, armored tanks, and other military equipment have invaded California neighborhoods – and even our schools.
Often times, agencies acquire military equipment without communities knowing beforehand and without any accountability mechanisms in place. This is unacceptable. California is not a warzone and Californians shouldn’t be treated like enemy combatants.
AB 3131 will restore much-needed transparency and accountability to the process by requiring that law enforcement agencies provide notice to the public and that they publish military use policies before acquiring specified military equipment. We urge Governor Brown to sign the bill into law.