BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair SB 428 (Strickland) Hearing Date: 05/23/2011 Amended: 05/17/2011 Consultant: Jolie Onodera Policy Vote: Public Safety 6-0 _________________________________________________________________ ____ BILL SUMMARY: SB 428 is the public safety omnibus bill of non-controversial changes to statute that are primarily technical and non-substantive changes in various code sections relating generally to criminal justice laws. This bill would also provide for a change to the exception to the two dismissal rule which bars further prosecution of a felony and would also recast the specific cases under which a new trial may be granted when a verdict has been rendered against a defendant. This bill would also expand the scope of various existing misdemeanor crimes. _________________________________________________________________ ____ Fiscal Impact (in thousands) Major Provisions 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Fund Felony prosecutions Unknown; potentially significant General* prosecution and incarceration costsGeneral in excess of $150 annually New trials granted Unknown; potentially significant General* court costs, potential incarceration cost savings Reallocation of POST Up to $100 annually; no net impactGeneral** funds to CalEPA appropriation of funds *Trial Court Trust Fund **Environmental Enforcement and Training Account _________________________________________________________________ ____ STAFF COMMENTS: This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. Existing law provides a two dismissal rule which bars further prosecution of a felony if the action has twice previously been terminated pursuant to that statute's provisions. However, Penal Code section 1387(c) provides an exception to the two dismissal rule and states that an order terminating an action is not a bar to prosecution if a complaint is dismissed before the commencement of a preliminary hearing in favor of an indictment SB 428 (Strickland) Page 3 filed pursuant to Section 944 and the indictment is based upon the same subject matter as charged in the dismissed complaint, information, or indictment. This bill would revise the existing language to separate the clause into two separate conditions, and could expand the number of exceptions to the two dismissal rule, resulting in an unknown but potentially significant increase in criminal filings resulting in additional state court costs of an unknown amount. Further, to the extent increased criminal filings result in additional convictions would result in increased state incarceration costs. If one additional felony conviction occurred in each of the next five years, the annual cost of those five inmates during the fifth year would be $145,000. Existing law provides that when a verdict has been rendered or a finding made against a defendant, the court may, upon the defendant's application, grant a new trial, under limited specified cases. Under existing law, the fifth enumerated circumstance under which a new trial may be granted occurs when the court has misdirected the jury in a matter of law, or has erred in the decision of any question of law arising during the course of the trial, and when the district attorney or other counsel prosecuting the case has been guilty of prejudicial misconduct during the trial thereof before a jury. This bill has recast this provision into two separate cases under which a new trial may be granted, either 1) when the court has misdirected the jury in a matter of law or has erred in the decision of any question of law arising during the course of the trial; or, 2) when the district attorney or other counsel prosecuting the case has been guilty of prejudicial misconduct. By expanding the circumstances under which a new trial may be granted could result in an increased number of new trials and associated state court costs of an unknown but potentially significant amount. To the extent the re-trials could result in findings in favor of the defendant could also result in state and county incarceration cost savings. Existing law directs California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to provide the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) a portion of the Environmental Enforcement and Training Account funds for the development of environmental crimes training for peace officers. This bill would allow the SB 428 (Strickland) Page 4 POST Commission to decline all or part of their annual allocation of funds, and those funds shall be reallocated by the Secretary to other entities listed in the title, including CalEPA, the Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project, or the California District Attorneys Association, for the training of peace officers in environmental crimes. The amount allocated to POST has steadily decreased from $100,000 in 2005 through 2007, $32,000 in 2008, $72,000 in 2009, to $17,557 in 2010-11. CalEPA staff has indicated the amount to remain at this level or lower for the next two to three years. This provision could result in a maximum of $100,000 to be shifted from POST, at their discretion, however, there is no net fiscal impact to the level of funds appropriated to CalEPA.