BILL NUMBER: AB 239 AMENDED
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY APRIL 27, 2011
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Ammiano
FEBRUARY 3, 2011
An act to amend Section 11062 of the Penal Code, relating to law
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 239, as amended, Ammiano. Crime laboratories: oversight.
Existing law requires the Department of Justice to establish and
chair a task force known as the Crime Laboratory Review Task Force to
review and make recommendations as to how best to configure, fund,
and improve the delivery of state and local crime laboratory services
in the future and to report its findings to the Department of
Finance and specified legislative committees by July 1, 2009.
This bill would require the task force to be reconvened and
to submit to the Legislature a supplemental report,
on or before July 1, 2013, that includes a
proposal to establish regarding the
composition of a statewide oversight body to
oversee perform tasks relating to crime
laboratories, including overseeing investigations into acts of
misconduct or negligence committed by any employee or contractor of a
crime laboratory, as specified . The bill
would include a statement of legislative findings and declarations
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. The Legislature hereby finds and
declares all of the following:
(a) The State of California has benefited from having a large
number of publicly operated crime laboratories, some operated by the
state and others by local government.
(b) The state is also served by a number of forensic units housed
in local law enforcement agencies.
(c) Currently there is no statewide oversight of publicly operated
crime laboratories in California.
(d) The Crime Laboratory Review Task Force was established by the
Department of Justice and made recommendations to the Department of
Finance and to the Legislature regarding the role a statewide
oversight body would play in California. The task force did not,
however, make a recommendation regarding the composition of that
SECTION 1. SEC. 2. Section 11062 of
the Penal Code is amended to read:
11062. (a) The Department of Justice shall establish and chair a
task force to conduct a review of California's crime laboratory
(b) The task force shall be known as the "Crime Laboratory Review
Task Force." The composition of the task force shall, except as
specified in paragraph (16), be comprised of one representative of
each of the following entities:
(1) The Department of Justice.
(2) The California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors.
(3) The California Association of Criminalists.
(4) The International Association for Identification.
(5) The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.
(6) The Department of the California Highway Patrol.
(7) The California State Sheriffs' Association, from a department
with a crime laboratory.
(8) The California District Attorneys Association, from an office
with a crime laboratory.
(9) The California Police Chiefs Association, from a department
with a crime laboratory.
(10) The California Peace Officers' Association.
(11) The California Public Defenders Association.
(12) A private criminal defense attorney organization.
(13) The Judicial Council, to be appointed by the Chief Justice.
(14) The Office of the Speaker of the Assembly.
(15) The Office of the President pro Tempore of the Senate.
(16) Two representatives to be appointed by the Governor.
(c) (1) The task force shall review and make
recommendations as to how best to configure, fund, and improve the
delivery of state and local crime laboratory services in the future.
To the extent feasible, the review and recommendations shall
include, but are not limited to, addressing the following issues:
(1) With respect to organization and management of crime
laboratory services, consideration of the following:
(A) If the existing mix of state and local crime laboratories is
the most effective and efficient means to meet California's future
(B) Whether laboratories should be further consolidated. If
consolidation occurs, who should have oversight of crime
(C) If management responsibilities for some laboratories should be
(D) Whether all laboratories should provide similar services.
(E) How other states have addressed similar issues.
(2) With respect to staff and training, consideration of the
(A) How to address recruiting and retention problems of laboratory
(B) Whether educational and training opportunities are adequate to
supply the needs of fully trained forensic criminalists in the
(C) Whether continuing education is available to ensure that
forensic science personnel are up-to-date in their fields of
(D) If crime laboratory personnel should be certified, and, if so,
the appropriate agency to assume this responsibility.
(E) The future educational role, if any, for the University of
California or the California State University.
(3) With respect to funding, consideration of the following:
(A) Whether the current method of funding laboratories is
predictable, stable, and adequate to meet future growth demands and
to provide accurate and timely testing results.
(B) The adequacy of salary structures to attract and retain
competent analysts and examiners.
(4) With respect to performance standards and equipment,
consideration of the following:
(A) Whether workload demands are being prioritized properly and
whether there are important workload issues not being addressed.
(B) If existing laboratories have the necessary capabilities,
staffing, and equipment.
(C) If statewide standards should be developed for the
accreditation of forensic laboratories, including minimum staffing
levels, and if so, a determination regarding what entity should serve
as the sanctioning body.
(d) The task force also shall seek input from specialized law
enforcement disciplines, other state and local agencies, relevant
advocacy groups, and the public. The final report also shall include
a complete inventory of existing California crime laboratories. This
inventory shall contain sufficient details on staffing, workload,
budget, major instrumentation, and organizational placement within
the controlling agency.
(e) The first meeting of the task force shall occur no later than
December 9, 2007.
(f) On or before July 1, 2009, the task force shall submit a final
report of its findings to the Department of Finance and to the
budget and public safety committees of both houses of the
(g) (1) The task force also shall prepare a supplemental report
that includes a proposal to establish a statewide body to oversee
crime laboratories. In preparing the supplemental report, the task
force shall consider the following:
(A) The composition of the oversight body, including the number of
members, process of appointment of the members, and terms of their
(B) The funding, organization, and staffing of the oversight body.
(C) The functions of the oversight body.
(D) The reporting
requirements of the oversight body. The task force
shall be reconvened for the purpose of preparing a supplemental
report to be submitted to the Legislature containing recommendations
regarding the composition of a statewide oversight body that would
perform the following tasks:
(A) Implement federal legislation or guidelines imposed directly
on crime laboratories or imposed indirectly as a requirement for
receiving a grant.
(B) Oversee investigations into acts of misconduct or negligence
committed by any employee or contractor of a crime laboratory.
(C) Collect data generated by investigations in order to determine
the root causes of crimes.
(D) Identify systemic failures and make recommendations for
preventing future problems.
(E) Study methods to facilitate communication between laboratories
and stakeholders and draft guideline for disclosure and discovery of
crime laboratory documents.
(F) Make recommendations to the Legislature and local governmental
entities regarding the allocation of resources to crime laboratories
throughout the state to ensure that taxpayers' funds are maximized
and distributed in a more equitable manner.
(2) On or before July 1, 2013, the task force shall submit to the
Legislature its supplemental report required under paragraph (1).
(3) (A) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under this
subdivision is inoperative on July 1, 2017, pursuant to Section
10231.5 of the Government Code.
(B) A report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be
submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.