BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                        AB 651|
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                                    THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 651
          Author:   Bradford (D)
          Amended:  9/3/13 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  5-2, 6/11/13
          AYES:  Hancock, Block, De León, Liu, Steinberg
          NOES:  Anderson, Knight

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  5-2, 8/30/13
          AYES:  De León, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
          NOES:  Walters, Gaines

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR :  42-32, 5/9/13 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Convictions:  expungement

           SOURCE  :     American Civil Liberties Union 
                      East Bay Community Law Center
                      Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights

           DIGEST  :    This bill authorizes defendants who have served a  
          jail felony term pursuant to criminal justice realignment to  
          petition the court to dismiss the conviction and underlying  
          charges, as specified.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:



                                                                     AB 651

           1. Provides that any defendant who has not been convicted in  
             the current or a prior case of one of a specified class of  
             felonies shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment in the  
             county jail for a term of 16 months, two years or three  
             years, or the term provided in the crime of conviction.  

           2. Provides that defendants currently or previously convicted  
             of the following felonies are excluded from a jail sentence  
             and must serve any felony sentence in prison:

                   A serious felony.

                   A violent felony.

                   A felony for which sex offender registration is  

                   A felony conviction with a white-collar crime  
                excessive theft or loss enhancement.

           1. Provides that where a court sentences a defendant for a jail  
             felony, as specified, the court may impose the sentence as  

                   The full lower, middle or upper term for the offense.

                   The term for the offense, but with the last portion of  
                the term spent under supervision by the probation  
                department in the community.  

           1. Provides that where a defendant has fulfilled the terms of  
             probation, or been discharged from probation, the defendant  
             shall, if he/she is not then serving a sentence for any  
             offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with any  
             offense, be granted the following relief:  the court shall  
             dismiss the conviction or allow the defendant to withdraw  
             his/her guilty plea.  The court shall then dismiss the  
             accusations against the defendant.  Where the person has  
             successfully completed probation, but he/she did not fulfill  
             all terms of probation throughout the probationary term, the  
             court may grant the relief in the interests of justice.  

           2. Provides that the court, in the interests of justice, may  
             allow a person who has, to withdraw his/her plea, or the  



                                                                     AB 651

             court may dismiss the conviction and the underlying charges.   

           3. Provides that in any subsequent prosecution of the  
             defendant, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved and  
             shall have the same effect as if probation had not been  
             granted or the accusations dismissed.  

           4. States that an order of dismissal does not relieve the  
             petitioner of the obligation to disclose the conviction in  
             response to any questions contained in any questionnaire or  
             application for public office, or for licensure for any state  
             or local agency.  

          This bill:

           1. Applies to petitioners seeking to dismiss a conviction for a  
             nonserious, nonviolent, or nonsexual offense for which he/she  
             was sentenced to county jail pursuant to criminal justice  
             realignment for his/her full sentence or for all but a  
             concluding portion of his/her term during which time he/she  
             is subject to mandatory supervision.

           2. Provides that the court, in its discretion and in the  
             interests of justice, may grant dismissal of a conviction  
             relief only after the lapse of one year following the  
             petitioner's completion of the sentence or after two years  
             for specified cases, provided that the petitioner is not  
             under post-release community supervision pursuant to  
             realignment or is not serving a sentence for, on probation  
             for, or charged with the commission of any offense.

           3. Provides that in any subsequent prosecution of the  
             petitioner for any offense, a conviction dismissed pursuant  
             to the relief provided for by this bill shall have the same  
             effect as if it had not been dismissed.

           4. Provides that a conviction dismissed by the relief provided  
             for by this bill does not relieve the petitioner of the  
             obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any  
             direct question contained in any questionnaire or application  
             for public office, for any state or local license, or for  
             contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.



                                                                     AB 651

           5. Provides that dismissal of a conviction does not permit a  
             person to own, possess, or have in his/her custody or control  
             any firearm or prevent his/her conviction for such ownership  
             or possession.

           6. Provides that dismissal of a conviction does not permit a  
             person prohibited from holding public office as a result of  
             the dismissed conviction to hold public office.

           7. Prevents the court from granting dismissal or a conviction  
             and the underlying charge unless the prosecuting attorney has  
             been given 15 days' notice of the petition.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   Local:  

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

             Potential future court costs in the range of $544,000 to  
             $1.1 million (General Fund (GF)*) per year for additional  
             petitions for dismissal.  To the extent full reimbursement of  
             $150 is received for all petitions, annual costs would range  
             from $325,000 to $650,000 (GF).  This estimate assumes  
             petitions for five to ten percent of annual sentences  
             pursuant to Penal Code Section 1170(h) at a cost of $375 per  
             45-minute hearing. 

             Annual costs to the Department of Justice of less than  
             $50,000 (GF) to receive and process a larger number of record  
             expungement orders.

          *Trial Court Trust Fund

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  9/3/13)

          American Civil Liberties Union (co-source)
          East Bay Community Law Center (co-source)
          Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights (co-source)
          A New Way of Life Reentry Project
          Alameda County Board of Supervisors
          All of Us or None
          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
          California Catholic Conference



                                                                     AB 651

          California Coalition for Women Prisoners
          California Labor Federation
          California Public Defenders Association
          Californians United for a Responsible Budget
          Community Works West
          Contra Costa County Public Defender
          Drug Policy Alliance
          Equal Rights Advocates
          Friends Committee on Legislation of California
          Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
          Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership
          National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter
          National Employment Law Project
          Public Counsel
          Rubicon Programs
          San Francisco Adult Probation Department, Chief Adult Probation
          San Francisco District Attorney's Office
          San Francisco Public Defender's Office

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  9/3/13)

          California District Attorneys Association
          California Police Chiefs Association
          California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association
          Crime Victims Action Alliance
          Judicial Council of California

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The American Civil Liberties Union  

            AB 651 - modeled on California's felony expungement process -  
            creates a parallel process for people sentenced to pursuant to  
            the Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 and who have  
            successfully, paid restitution, demonstrated rehabilitation  
            and remained crime-free for at least one year.

            A felony conviction creates significant barriers to reentry.   
            Even one conviction for drug possession may prevent a person  
            from finding a job or securing stable housing.  Today,  
            background checks by landlords and employers have become  
            nearly universal.  A recent survey found that over ninety  
            percent of employers conduct background checks.  Even a  
            decades-old conviction can be a barrier to employment and  



                                                                     AB 651


            The stated purpose of the realignment is to reduce spending on  
            incarceration, encourage implementation of evidence-based  
            practices in community correction and reduce recidivism.   
            Evidence demonstrates that employment and stable housing are  
            critical to successful reentry and reducing recidivism.  Yet,  
            there is no opportunity for people sentenced under realignment  
            to request an expungement after remaining crime-free for at  
            least a year.

            AB 651 does not erase a conviction.  The conviction remains on  
            all government records and must be disclosed for professional  
            licenses, government jobs and paid and volunteer work with  
            children and other sensitive populations.  

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    The California District Attorneys  
          Association writes:

            The California District Attorneys association regretfully  
            opposes AB 651.  This bill would allow a court to grant  
            expungement relief to felons sentenced to county jail pursuant  
            to subdivision (h) of Penal Code [PC] Section 1170  
            (realignment felons).

            Currently, pursuant to PC 1203.4, a defendant who was placed  
            on probation for a conviction may have that conviction  
            expunged.  A conviction for which a defendant was sentenced to  
            prison (which necessarily means that probation was denied)  
            cannot be expunged.  (People v. Borja (1980) 110 Cal.App.3d  
            378; People v. Mendez (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 1773.)

            Felons sentenced to county jail under realignment (PC 1170  
            (h)) are similarly situated to felons sentenced to prison,  
            with the main difference being where they are incarcerated.   
            Conversely, felons sentenced under realignment are not  
            similarly situated to probationers.  A felon sentenced  
            pursuant to PC 1170(h) has been found not suitable for  
            probation, likely because he or she has a significant criminal  
            history.  PC 1170(h) felons are thus not similarly situated to  
            felons on probation because they have been sentenced to  
            incarceration.  As such, the simple change to where a  
            sentenced felon is housed effectuated by realignment is not  
            appropriate grounds to afford such offenders the relief made  



                                                                     AB 651

            available by PC 1203.4.  
           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  42-32, 5/9/13
          AYES:  Alejo, Ammiano, Atkins, Bloom, Blumenfield, Bocanegra,  
            Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown, Buchanan, Ian Calderon, Chau,  
            Chesbro, Daly, Dickinson, Fong, Frazier, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez,  
            Gordon, Roger Hernández, Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Lowenthal,  
            Medina, Mitchell, Mullin, Nazarian, Pan, V. Manuel Pérez,  
            Quirk, Rendon, Skinner, Stone, Ting, Weber, Wieckowski,  
            Williams, Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NOES:  Achadjian, Allen, Bigelow, Chávez, Conway, Cooley, Dahle,  
            Donnelly, Eggman, Fox, Beth Gaines, Gorell, Gray, Grove,  
            Hagman, Harkey, Jones, Linder, Maienschein, Mansoor, Melendez,  
            Morrell, Muratsuchi, Nestande, Olsen, Patterson, Perea,  
            Quirk-Silva, Salas, Torres, Wagner, Wilk
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Campos, Hall, Holden, Logue, Waldron, Vacancy

          JG:k  9/3/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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