BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

                                          SB 9 (Yee)
          
          Hearing Date: 05/26/2011        Amended: As Introduced
          Consultant: Jolie Onodera       Policy Vote: Public Safety 5-2
          
















































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          BILL SUMMARY: SB 9 would authorize an inmate who was under 18 
          years of age at the time of committing an offense for which the 
          inmate was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole 
          (LWOP) to submit a petition to the court for recall and 
          resentencing.  This bill is retroactive, and staggers the filing 
          dates for eligible inmates to petition the court. This bill 
          establishes certain criteria that must be met in order to hold a 
          hearing, and provides that a new sentence, if any, shall not be 
          greater than the initial sentence.
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                            Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions         2011-12      2012-13       2013-14     Fund
           
          Resentencing hearings             Up to $52   Up to $64 Up to 
          $90                    General*

          Case-processing/admin            Unknown, likely minor           
                                 General*   

          Petitioner transportation            Minor, absorbable           
                                 General

          Reduced sentences      Unknown, potential cost savings  General
                                 of up to $25 per inmate per year
          *Trial Court Trust Fund
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          STAFF COMMENTS: SUSPENSE FILE. 

          This bill authorizes the 293 inmates serving LWOP in California 
          who were juveniles at the time they committed the crime for 
          which they are serving LWOP to petition the court for a recall 
          and resentencing. This bill allows up to three petitions to be 
          filed for inmates who entered custody prior to January 1, 1996. 
          The initial petition may be filed between 2012 and 2015, as 
          specified, with subsequent eligibility to file after 20 and 24 
          years in custody. Inmates who have served at least ten but less 
          than 15 years as of January 1, 2012, will be eligible to file 
          petitions after 15, 20, and 24 years in custody. Inmates who 
          entered custody after January 1, 2002 (less than ten years in 
          custody as of January 1, 2012), are eligible to submit a 








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          petition after 10, 15, 20, and 24 years in custody.

          Based on data from the Department of Corrections and 
          Rehabilitation, there are 47 eligible inmates statewide who 
          entered custody prior to 1996 whose eligibility to submit a 
          petition will be staggered. There will also be a phase-in of 
          inmates who entered custody after 1996 who will be eligible to 
          submit a petition as they reach 15 years served of their 
          sentence beginning in 2011-12. Further, a phase-in of inmates 
          who reach ten years in custody will be eligible to file a 
          petition beginning in 2011-12. If resentencing is not granted 
          under the initial petition, inmates may file another petition as 
          specified above.

          This bill staggers petition eligibility, resulting in 
          approximately 26 eligible to file petitions in fiscal year 
          2011-12, 32 eligible in 2012-13, and 45 eligible in 2013-14 
          across the state. It cannot be known with certainty how many 
          eligible inmates will file petitions in the fiscal year in which 
          they first become eligible, since the burden is on the inmates 
          to prepare appeal documents and petition the court. In future 
          years, the potential number of eligible petitioners will be 
          greater as inmates reaching 10, 15, 20, and 24 years in custody 
          may be eligible to petition in the same year.

          This bill does not require the court to hold a hearing for every 
          petition received. If the court finds by a preponderance of the 
          evidence that the statements in the petition are true, a hearing 
          shall be held to consider whether to recall and resentence the 
          defendant. 

          The increased court workload to handle petitions from ineligible 
          inmates is expected to be minor. For eligible petitioners, local 
          courts anticipate processing these petitions 
          would require two court hearings - one hearing to recall the 
          original sentencing and set a resentencing hearing 
          (approximately one hour of court time), and a second hearing to 
          issue findings and enter a judgment on the resentencing (two 
          hours of court time). According to the Judicial Council, three 
          hours of court time is estimated to cost approximately $2,000 
          for judge, court staff, and security. The exact cost cannot be 
          determined because it relies on the number of eligible petitions 
          filed and the degree of concentration in a single county.

          Judicial Council also indicates that this bill would increase 








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          courts' workload, contribute to existing backlogs, and 
          exacerbate the need for additional resources. The exact amount 
          and cost of increased workload and backlog exacerbation could 
          not be determined because it depends on the number of petitions 
          filed and hearings held. It is also unclear which specific 
          superior courts would receive the petitions allowed under the 
          provisions of this bill. 

          The court will also incur expenses to notify the victims or 
          victims' family members regarding the resentencing hearing, as 
          they have the right to participate. The court may not have 
          contact information readily available, and this would likely 
          lead to ongoing administrative costs.

          Staff notes, however that under current law any inmate can 
          submit a petition to the court. This bill simplifies the process 
          for a small group of specified inmates to petition the court, 
          which may result in individuals submitting petitions that might 
          not have otherwise done so. However, there are no restrictions 
          on Habeas Corpus petitions, which are used by inmates to 
          challenge their conviction, sentence, or both. For those who 
          would have submitted Habeas Corpus petitions, this bill would 
          likely offer a less expensive alternative, as it involves only a 
          resentencing hearing, and no potential for a new trial. 

          It cannot be known how many of the 293 inmates serving LWOP for 
          crimes committed as juveniles will file Habeas Corpus petitions, 
          but there is a possibility of General Fund savings if eligible 
          individuals petition under the provisions of this bill in lieu 
          of submitting a Habeas Corpus petition. Staff notes that 
          although the California 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, 
          In re Nunez (April 30, 2009, G040377), overturned the sentence 
          of 

          one of these inmates on 8th amendment grounds of cruel and 
          unusual punishment, this decision has not resulted in a large 
          increase in Habeas Corpus petitions filed to date.

          There is also a potential for future cost savings if any 
          petitioner receives a reduced sentence. If a juvenile were 
          sentenced to LWOP at age 16, he would likely live in prison for 
          more than 50 years, at a marginal cost of $25,000 annually. If 
          one such sentence were reduced to 25 years, there would be an 
          average cost savings of $625,000 over 25 years. Those cost 
          savings would be offset to some degree by any parole supervision 








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          costs assessed as a condition of the reduced sentence.
          
          Prior Legislation. SB 399 (Yee) 2009 was substantially similar 
          to this bill, but failed on the Assembly Floor.