BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Mark Leno, Chair                A
                             2009-2010 Regular Session               B

          AB 34 (Nava and Cook)                                       
          As Amended June 10, 2010 
          Hearing date:  June 22, 2010
          Penal Code

                                   MISSING PERSONS:



          Source:  More Kids

          Prior Legislation: SBx1 12 (Thompson) - Ch. 6, Stats. 1994
                       SB 2282 (Presley) - Ch. 1456, Stats. 1988 

          Support: Crime Victims United of California

          Opposition:None Known

          Assembly Floor Vote:  Not Relevant

                                      KEY ISSUES



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)



          The purpose of this bill is to improve the state's mechanisms  
          for facilitating swift searches for missing persons by requiring  
          1) the state's VCIC to release information regarding missing or  
          unidentified persons to the National Missing and Unidentified  
          Persons System, and 2 ) local law enforcement to submit reports  
          of missing persons under the age of 21 or persons believed to be  
          at risk  to the DOJ for inclusion in the VCIC and the NCIC  
          databases within two hours, instead of the current four hours,  
          after the receipt of the report, as specified.

           Current law  requires the Attorney General to "establish and  
          maintain the VCIC to assist in the identification and the  
          apprehension of persons responsible for specific violent crimes  
          and for the disappearance and exploitation of persons,  
          particularly children and dependent adults.  The center shall  
          establish and maintain programs which include, but are not  
          limited to, all of the following: developing violent offender  
          profiles; assisting local law enforcement agencies and county  
          district attorneys by providing investigative information on  
          persons responsible for specific violent crimes and missing  
          person cases; providing physical description information and  
          photographs, if available, of missing persons to county district  
          attorneys, nonprofit missing persons organizations, and schools;  
          and providing statistics on missing dependent adults and on  
          missing children, including, as may be applicable, family  
          abductions, nonfamily abductions, voluntary missing, and lost  
          children or lost dependent adults."  (Penal Code  14200.)

           Current law  further requires the Attorney General to establish  
          within the center and maintain "an online, automated computer  



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

          system designed to effect an immediate law enforcement response  
          to reports of missing persons," and requires the Attorney  
          General to make information available to law enforcement  
          agencies regarding active files maintained pursuant to these  
          provisions, as specified.  (Penal Code  14201.)

           This bill would require the center to "release specific  
          information, determined by the DOJ, contained in law enforcement  
          reports regarding missing or unidentified persons to the  
          National Missing and Unidentified Persons System to assist in  
          the search for the missing person or persons."

           Current law  requires local law enforcement to "accept any  
          report, including any telephonic report, of a missing person,  
          including runaways, without delay and shall give priority to the
          handling of these reports over the handling of reports relating  
          to crimes involving property.  In cases where the person making  
          a report of a missing person or runaway, contacts, including by  
          telephone, the California Highway Patrol, the California Highway  
          Patrol may take the report, and shall immediately advise the  
          person making the report of the name and telephone number of the  
          police or sheriff's department having jurisdiction of the  
          residence address of the missing person and of the name and  
          telephone number of the police or sheriff's department having  
          jurisdiction of the place where the person was last seen. In  
          cases of reports involving missing persons, including, but not  
          limited to, runaways, the local police or sheriff' s department  
          shall immediately take the report and make an assessment of  
          reasonable steps to be taken to locate the person.  If the  
          missing person is under 16 years of age, or there is evidence  
          that the person is at risk, the department shall broadcast a "Be  
          On the Look-Out" bulletin, without delay, within its  
          jurisdiction."  (Penal Code  14205(a).)

           Current law  further provides that if "the person reported  
          missing is under 16 years of age, or if
          there is evidence that the person is at risk, the local police,  
          sheriff's department, or the California Highway Patrol shall  
          submit the report to the Attorney General's office within four  
          hours after



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

          accepting the report.  After the California Law Enforcement  
          Telecommunications System online missing person registry becomes  
          operational, the reports shall be submitted, within four hours  
          after accepting the report, to the Attorney General's office  
          through the use of the California Telecommunications System."   
          (Penal Code  14205(b).)

           This bill  would revise this subdivision to provide that if the  
          person reported missing is under 21  years of age, or if there  
          is evidence that the person is at risk, the law enforcement  
          agency receiving the report shall, within two hours after the  
          receipt of the report, transmit the  report to the DOJ for  
          inclusion in the VCIC and the NCIC databases. 
          The severe prison overcrowding problem California has  
          experienced for the last several years has not been solved.  In  
          December of 2006 plaintiffs in two federal lawsuits against the  
          Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sought a  
          court-ordered limit on the prison population pursuant to the  
          federal Prison Litigation Reform Act.  On January 12, 2010, a  
          federal three-judge panel issued an order requiring the state to  
          reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design capacity  
          -- a reduction of roughly 40,000 inmates -- within two years.   
          In a prior, related 184-page Opinion and Order dated August 4,  
          2009, that court stated in part:

               "California's correctional system is in a tailspin,"  
               the state's independent oversight agency has reported.  
               . . .  (Jan. 2007 Little Hoover Commission Report,  
               "Solving California's Corrections Crisis: Time Is  
               Running Out").  Tough-on-crime politics have increased  
               the population of California's prisons dramatically  
               while making necessary reforms impossible. . . .  As a  
               result, the state's prisons have become places "of  
               extreme peril to the safety of persons" they house, .  
               . .  (Governor Schwarzenegger's Oct. 4, 2006 Prison  
               Overcrowding State of Emergency Declaration), while  



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

               contributing little to the safety of California's  
               residents, . . . .   California "spends more on  
               corrections than most countries in the world," but the  
               state "reaps fewer public safety benefits." . . .  .   
               Although California's existing prison system serves  
               neither the public nor the inmates well, the state has  
               for years been unable or unwilling to implement the  
               reforms necessary to reverse its continuing  
               deterioration.  (Some citations omitted.)

               . . .

               The massive 750% increase in the California prison  
               population since the mid-1970s is the result of  
               political decisions made over three decades, including  
               the shift to inflexible determinate sentencing and the  
               passage of harsh mandatory minimum and three-strikes  
               laws, as well as the state's counterproductive parole  
               system.  Unfortunately, as California's prison  
               population has grown, California's political  
               decision-makers have failed to provide the resources  
               and facilities required to meet the additional need  
               for space and for other necessities of prison  
               existence.  Likewise, although state-appointed experts  
               have repeatedly provided numerous methods by which the  
               state could safely reduce its prison population, their  
               recommendations have been ignored, underfunded, or  
               postponed indefinitely.  The convergence of  
               tough-on-crime policies and an unwillingness to expend  
               the necessary funds to support the population growth  
               has brought California's prisons to the breaking  
               point.  The state of emergency declared by Governor  
               Schwarzenegger almost three years ago continues to  
               this day, California's prisons remain severely  
               overcrowded, and inmates in the California prison  
               system continue to languish without constitutionally  



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

               adequate medical and mental health care.<1>

          The court stayed implementation of its January 12, 2010 ruling  
          pending the state's appeal of the decision to the U.S. Supreme  
          Court.  On Monday June 14, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed  
          to hear the state's appeal in this case.

           This bill  would not aggravate the prison overcrowding crisis  
          described above.


          1.  Stated Need for This Bill

           The authors state in part:

               Every year an estimated 800,000 children are reported  
               missing, more than 105,000 in California alone.  This  
               equates to more than 2,000 children each day.  A large  
               proportion of those are abducted by non-family members  
               under suspicious or unknown circumstances.  A number  
               of high-profile missing children cases within the last  
               decade have brought to light the need to bring  
               California's laws and processes for missing person  
               response and recovery in the 21st century.

               In 2009 in California, 105,171 children were reported  
               missing, according to the Department of Justice.  Of  
               that number:
               o         47,407 were male;
               o         57,764 were female;
               o         100,043 were determined to be runaways;
               o         268 were reported "lost;"
          <1>   Three Judge Court Opinion and Order, Coleman v.  
          Schwarzenegger, Plata v. Schwarzenegger, in the United States  
          District Courts for the Eastern District of California and the  
          Northern District of California United States District Court  
          composed of three judges pursuant to Section 2284, Title 28  
          United States Code (August 4, 2009).



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

               o         12 went missing as a result of catastrophe;
               o         45 were abducted by strangers;
               o         1,210 went missing at the hands of a family  
               o         349 were abducted under suspicious  
               circumstances; and
               o         3,244 went missing under unknown  

               In 1983, federal law was amended to require law  
               enforcement agencies to notify the National Crime  
               Information Center (NCIC) of missing children within 4  
               hours of a report being filed.

               According to a 1997 study, Case Management for Missing  
               Children Homicide Investigation, the murder of an  
               abducted child is a rare event?yet 76.2% of abducted  
               children who are murdered are dead within three hours  
               of the abduction.

               House Resolution 4472, the Adam Walsh Child Protection  
               and Safety Act, signed into law in 2006 by President  
               George W. Bush, provided additional missing children  
               funds to states that implemented a number of new  
               mandates - one of which was an updated, 2 hour NCIC  
               notification timeframe.  To date, only Ohio has  
               complied with the Act due to complexities in meeting  

               In 2008, Florida separately acted, as part of the  
               Jennifer Kesse and Tiffany Sessions Missing Person Act  
               to require a 2 hour NCIC notification timeframe for  
               state law enforcement agencies. AB 34 replicates this  
               action by requiring that California's local law  
               enforcement agencies report information to NCIC and  
               the California Violent Crime Information Center . . .  
               in a similar timeframe.

               Under federal law, information on missing persons may  
               also be disclosed to the National Center for Missing  



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

               and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit  
               organization.  In recent years, however, a number of  
               nonprofit organizations have been created, including  
               Klaas Kids, for purposes of raising awareness about  
               missing children, educating parents and families about  
               safe child 
               practices (i.e. "Stranger Danger"), and for assisting  
               law enforcement agencies in their searches for the  

               Concurrently, local governments across California have  
               faced nearly ten years of budget reductions as the  
               state grapples with ongoing fiscal crises.   
               Consequently, many communities have seen cutbacks in  
               the numbers of their front line police officers.  With  
               this in mind,  AB 34 provides that the CVIC shall  
               release information contained in missing persons  
               reports to specified  (national entities), that may  
               assist in the search for said missing person(s). . . .  

          2.  What This Bill Would Do
          As explained above, this bill would do the following with  
          respect to the state's mechanisms for facilitating swift  
          searches for missing persons:

          1) require the state's VCIC to release information regarding  
          missing or unidentified persons to the National Missing and  
          Unidentified Persons System; and 
          2 ) require local law enforcement to submit reports of missing  
          persons under the age of 21 or persons believed to be at risk   
          to the DOJ for inclusion in the VCIC and the NCIC databases  
          within two hours, instead of the current four hours, after the  
          receipt of the report, as specified.

          3.  Background:  DOJ Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

           The DOJ provides the following information on its website:

               The  Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit  in the  
               California Department of Justice assists law  
               enforcement and criminal justice agencies in locating  
               missing persons and identifying unknown live and  
               deceased persons through the comparison of physical  
               characteristics, fingerprints and dental/body X-rays.

                Subscribe  to receive Missing Persons Bulletins in your  
               e-mail inbox.

               In California, a missing person is someone whose  
               whereabouts is unknown to the reporting party.  This  
               includes any child who may have run away, been taken  
               involuntary or may be in need of assistance.  It  
               includes a child illegally taken, held or hidden by a  
               parent or non-parent family member (See  California  
               Penal Code Sections 277-280  ).

               There is NO waiting period for reporting a person  
               missing.  All California police and sheriffs'  
               departments must accept any report, including a report  
               by telephone, 

               of a missing person, including runaways, without delay  
               and will give priority to the handling of the report.



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

                Schools  are part of the network to help find missing  
               children, not only through notices required to be  
               given to a public school district or private school  
               within 10 days of a child's disappearance but also  
               through use of our Missing Person Bulletin.

               By making photographs of missing persons available, we  
               seek to aid in the identification and recovery of  
               missing persons. According to the  National Center for  
               Missing and Exploited Children  , one in six missing  
               children are recovered as a direct result of someone  
               recognizing their photo and notifying authorities.  We  
               also offer resources on this website for locating  
               missing persons and safeguarding your children.



               The following offers a summary of some of our  
               programs. Further information is available by  
               selecting the program categories on the left menu.

               Missing Persons Search.  A searchable database of  
               missing persons allows you to look for a missing  
               person by name, description, county and several other  

               Missing Children Clearinghouse.  The  Clearinghouse   
               provides a nationwide, toll-free hotline to receive  
               tips on the whereabouts of missing persons.  Call  
               toll-free: 1-800-222-FIND (1-800-222-3463)

               Featured Missing Children and Adult Cases.  The number  
               of active missing person cases averages around 25,000  
               in California. The Featured Missing Children and  
               Featured Missing Adults highlight cases where  
               photographs have been submitted by law enforcement for  
               use in accordance with laws and policies for sharing  
               the image of the missing person. To have a photograph  
               added, family members of a missing person should  
               submit their photographs to the law enforcement agency  
               taking the missing person report.

               Featured Unidentified Person. There are currently over  
               2,100 reports of unidentified persons in our automated  
               database. Periodically, we will be providing  



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

               photographs or drawings of selected cases.<2>

          4.  Background:  The National Crime Information Center

           As explained above, this bill would require the swift inclusion  
          of specified missing person report information to DOJ which  
          would be included in the NCIC databases.  The NCIC includes the  
          following information about its mission on its website:

               The National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, was  
               launched on January 27, 1967 with five files and  
               356,784 records. By the end of 2009, NCIC contained  
               more than 15 million active records in 19 files. NCIC  
               averages 7.5 million transactions per day.

               NCIC helps criminal justice professionals apprehend  
               fugitives, locate missing persons, recover stolen  
               property, and identify terrorists. It also assists law  
               enforcement officers in performing their official  
               duties more safely and provides them with information  
               necessary to aid in protecting the general public. 

               About the records: The NCIC database currently  
               consists of 19 files. There are seven property files  
               containing records of stolen articles, boats, guns,  
               license plates, parts, securities, and vehicles. There  
               are 12 persons files containing the Supervised  
               Release; National Sex Offender Registry; Foreign  
               Fugitive; Immigration Violator; Missing Person;  
               Protection Order; Unidentified Person; U.S. Secret  
               Service Protective; Gang; Known or Appropriately  
               Suspected Terrorist; Wanted Person; and Identity Theft  
               Files. The system also contains images that can be  



                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)

               associated with NCIC records to help agencies identify  
               people and property items. The Interstate  
               Identification Index, which contains automated  
               criminal history record information, is accessible  
               through the same network as NCIC. . . . 

               How NCIC is used: Criminal justice agencies enter  
               records into NCIC that are accessible to law  
               enforcement agencies nationwide. For example, a law  
               enforcement officer can search NCIC during a traffic  
               stop to determine if the vehicle in question is stolen  
               or if the driver is a wanted by law enforcement. The  
                                         system responds instantly. However, a positive  
               response from NCIC is not probable cause for an  
               officer to take action. NCIC policy requires the  
               inquiring agency to make contact with the entering  
               agency to verify the information is accurate and  
               up-to-date. Once the record is confirmed, the  
               inquiring agency may take action to arrest a fugitive,  
               return a missing person, charge a subject with  
               violation of a protection order, or recover stolen  

               Cooperation is key: NCIC has operated under a shared  
               management concept between the FBI and federal, state,  
               local, and tribal criminal justice users since its  
               inception. There are two facets to the shared  
               management concept-policy and functional. . . .<3>




                                                      AB 34 (Nava and Cook)