BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1195
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          Date of Hearing:   April 2, 2013

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
                                Bob Wieckowski, Chair
                    AB 1195 (Eggman) - As Amended:  March 21, 2013

                              As Proposed to Be Amended
           
          SUBJECT  :  PUBLIC RECORDS: CRIME VICTIMS

           KEY ISSUE  :  SHOULD LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES BE PROHIBITED FROM  
          REQUIRING PROOF OF LEGAL RESIDENCY FROM PERSONS SEEKING ACCESS  
          TO CRIME REPORTS AND OTHER RELATED RECORDS, PARTICULARLY WHEN  
          THE CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT REQUIRES DISCLOSURE TO THOSE  
          PERSONS WITH NO SUCH CONDITION?
           
          FISCAL EFFECT :  As currently in print this bill is keyed fiscal.

                                      SYNOPSIS
          
          According to the author, this bill is needed to address the  
          reported lack of access some crime victims have experienced in  
          trying to obtain a copy of the crime report from local law  
          enforcement officials.  Therefore, this bill seeks to prohibit  
          law enforcement agencies from requiring proof of legal residency  
          from crime victims and other persons seeking access to crime  
          reports and related information that is otherwise required to be  
          disclosed to them under the California Public Records Act (PRA).  
           In addition, as proposed to be amended, this bill provides that  
          if a state or local law enforcement agency requires  
          identification to be presented in order to obtain that  
          information, the agency may not refuse to accept specified forms  
          of identification, including a current driver's license or  
          state-issued identification card, U.S. or foreign passport, or a  
          Matricular Consular.  Proponents of the bill, including  
          advocates for immigrants and domestic violence survivors,  
          contend that denying a crime victim access to his or her crime  
          report may unjustly prevent the victim from exercising his or  
          her legal rights or obtaining essential services that will help  
          the victim cope and move ahead with life.  This bill has no  
          known opposition.

           SUMMARY  :  Prohibits law enforcement agencies from requiring  
          proof of legal presence in the U.S. and refusing to accept  
          certain forms of identification, if identification is required,  








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          for the disclosure of crime reports and other related records  
          required to be disclosed under the Public Records Act.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Prohibits a state or local law enforcement agency from  
            requiring a victim of any incident to show proof of the  
            victim's legal presence in the United States in order to  
            obtain specified information about the incident ("crime  
            report") required to be disclosed by the law enforcement  
            agency pursuant to the Public Records Act.

          2)Provides that if, for identification purposes, a state or  
            local law enforcement agency requires identification in order  
            for a victim of an incident, or an authorized representative  
            thereof, to obtain that information, the agency shall, at a  
            minimum, accept the following forms of identification:  
             a)   A current U.S. state issued driver's license or  
               identification card. 
             b)   A current passport issued by the United States or by a  
               foreign government with whom the United States has a  
               diplomatic relationship. 
             c)   A current Matricula Consular card.

           EXISTING LAW,  the California Public Records Act:  

          1)Requires public records to be open to inspection by the public  
            except as specifically exempted from disclosure.  (Government  
            Code Section 6253(a).  Unless stated otherwise, all further  
            statutory references are to that code.)

          2)Requires each state or local agency, upon a request for a copy  
            of records that reasonably describes an identifiable record or  
            records (except for those exempt from disclosure), to  make  
            the records promptly available to any person upon payment of  
            fees covering direct costs of duplication, or a statutory fee  
            if applicable.  (Section 6253(b).)

          3)Exempts from disclosure, among many other things,  
            investigatory and security files compiled by any state or  
            local law enforcement agency.  However, certain items of  
            information contained in such records (as specified below) are  
            permitted to be disclosed unless disclosure would endanger the  
            successful completion of the investigation or endanger the  
            safety of a witness or the victim or other persons involved in  
            the investigation.  (Section 6254(f).)








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          4)Subject to the above "endangerment" limitation, permits the  
            disclosure of information about (a) persons arrested by the  
            agency (e.g. physical description, date and time of arrest,  
            name and occupation, all charges filed); (b) facts about  
            complaints or requests for assistance received by the agency  
            (including information about the crimes alleged and factual  
            circumstances about the crime or incident and the injuries  
            sustained by victims); and (c) pursuant to a request for  
            information for scholarly, journalistic, political, or  
            governmental purpose, the current address of every individual  
            arrested by the agency and the current address of the victim  
            of a crime.  (Section 6254(f)(1), (f)(2), (f)(3).)

          5)Provides that when a person is the victim of more than one  
            crime, information disclosing that the person is a victim of a  
            crime may be deleted at the request of the victim, or the  
            victim's parent or guardian if the victim is a minor, in  
            making the report of the crime, or of any crime or incident  
            accompanying the crime, available to the public.  (Section  
            6254(f)(2).)

           COMMENTS  :  This bill, co-sponsored by the California Immigrant  
          Policy Center and El Concilio, seeks to prohibit law enforcement  
          agencies from requiring proof of legal residency from crime  
          victims and other persons seeking access to crime reports and  
          related information that is otherwise required to be disclosed  
          to them under the California Public Records Act (PRA).  In  
          addition, as proposed to be amended, this bill provides that if  
          a state or local law enforcement agency requires identification  
          to be presented in order to obtain that information, the agency  
          may not refuse to accept specified forms of identification,  
          including a driver's license, U.S. or foreign passport, or a  
          Matricular Consular (the consular identification card issued by  
          the Mexican government to its citizens living abroad).
          
           Author's Statement:   According to the author, this bill is  
          needed to address the reported lack of access some crime victims  
          have experienced in trying to obtain a copy of the crime report  
          from local law enforcement officials.  The author states:

               There are reports of some victims of crime being denied  
               access to their crime report due to their residency status.  
                They are being denied access to their crime report on the  
               ground that a foreign passport without supporting  








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               immigration documents or a Matricula Consular card are not  
               appropriate forms of identification.  Current law does not  
               spell out what forms of identification are acceptable if a  
               victim wishes to access their crime report.    

               This bill will remedy the problem by prescribing acceptable  
               forms of identification without actually mandating that a  
               law enforcement agency require identification in order to  
               access a crime report. (Moreover) this bill ensures that  
               the public has access to public records as required by the  
               California Public Records Act.
          
          Reported problems with crime victims' access to crime reports.    
          Under the PRA, information associated with a particular crime  
          (hereafter "crime report") includes, but is not limited to, the  
          following:  (1) the time, substance, and location of all  
          complaints or requests for assistance received by the agency;  
          (2) the time and nature of the response thereto; (3) the time,  
          date, and location of the occurrence; (4) the time and date of  
          the report; (5) the name and age of the victim; (6) the factual  
          circumstances surrounding the crime or incident; and (7) a  
          general description of any injuries, property, or weapons  
          involved.  (Section 6254(f).)

          According to the California Immigrant Policy Center, a  
          co-sponsor of this bill, there are many legitimate reasons why a  
          crime victim would seek a copy of the crime report that he or  
          she is entitled to access under the PRA.  For example, victims  
          of human trafficking or other crimes who apply for a U-visa or  
          T-visa under the Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) would  
          largely benefit from accessing their crime records to support  
          their applications.  A crime report can help a victim of  
          domestic violence obtain a restraining order or initiate divorce  
          proceedings in an expedient matter.  In addition, a victim of  
          identity theft needs to obtain a crime report in order to create  
          an Identity Theft Report with the Federal Trade Commission.

          Some advocates for women and immigrants report that, in the  
          areas that they operate, local law enforcement officials have  
          been known to deny crime victims their crime report because they  
          do not present a form of identification that demonstrates proof  
          of legal residency.  For example, the Haven's Women's Center of  
          Stanislaus, which provides services for victims and survivors of  
          domestic violence, states:









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               This situation continues to be an issue with our  
               county Sheriff's department.  Multiple requests to the  
               Sheriff from a variety of organizations and  
               individuals to change this policy have fallen on deaf  
               ears. . .  It is our sincere belief that legislation  
               is the only way to ensure the rights of immigrants in  
               Stanislaus County, particularly those who have been  
               victimized by their significant others. . . We do not  
               believe law enforcement agencies should add to the  
               burdens shouldered by survivors by requiring proof of  
               legal status in order to obtain a copy of their crime  
               report.

          According to an informal survey of local law enforcement  
          agencies by El Concilio, a co-sponsor of this bill, five of the  
          22 county sheriff's offices surveyed in the state reported that  
          they would not accept a foreign passport or the Matricula  
          Consular as a valid form of identification, even though both  
          contain a picture of the person and are widely accepted as  
          simply proving the person to be who they claim to be.

           The Public Records Act ensures disclosure of information to  
          specified persons without regard to legal residency status.   The  
          California Public Records Act governs the disclosure of  
          information collected and maintained by public agencies.   
          Generally, all public records are accessible to the public upon  
          request, unless the record requested is exempt from public  
          disclosure.  Section 6254 of the PRA exempts from disclosure  
          over two dozen types of records because of the content of the  
          information in those records, and outlines specific conditions  
          that must be met to authorize the disclosure of certain other  
          records.

          The PRA contemplates that disclosure of certain information  
          about the crime may endanger the safety of a witness or other  
          person involved in the investigation, or endanger the successful  
          completion of the investigation itself, and therefore permits  
          non-disclosure in those conditions when disclosure would  
          otherwise be required.  Importantly, the PRA does not expressly  
          condition disclosure of information based on the identity of the  
          person requesting it, only that if no witness, investigator, or  
          investigation is endangered, then the agency "shall make public"  
          the information to the requesting party.  The PRA does not even  
          require the victim of a crime to prove he or she is the victim  
          identified in the crime report, because disclosure of the  








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          information is not authorized to be withheld on that basis.

          According to the author, in practice, however, most law  
          enforcement agencies require proof of identification to support  
          a request for a crime report.  This bill does not seek to  
          restrict the practice of law enforcement agencies to ask for  
          identification from persons seeking release of crime reports or  
          other related public records.  Instead, it simply prohibits law  
          enforcement agencies from requiring proof of legal status from a  
          person in order to obtain a copy of a crime report.  As proposed  
          to be amended, this bill provides that if a law enforcement  
          agency chooses to require identification at all, it may not  
          refuse to accept certain forms of identification, as specified  
          in the bill.

           Author's Proposed Amendment  :  In order to clarify that the bill  
          requires certain forms of identification to be accepted, but  
          only if the law enforcement agency elects to require  
          identification at all, the author proposes to amend the bill as  
          follows:

               On page 5, line 29, strike "may accept the following" and  
               insert "shall, at a minimum, accept"

               On page 5, strike lines 30 to 33, and insert "a current  
               U.S. state issued driver's license or identification card,  
               a current passport issued by the United States or by a  
               foreign government with whom the United States has a  
               diplomatic relationship, or a current"

           Background on the Matricula Consular:   The Matricula Consular is  
          a personal identification card issued by the Mexican government  
          through its consulate offices that serves as the official record  
          for its citizens living outside of Mexico.  The registration of  
          nationals through the consulate offices is a practice recognized  
          by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and Mexican  
          Consulates have legally issued these documents since 1871.   
          According to materials published by the Consulate of Mexico, the  
          purpose of consular registration is to enable consular officers  
          to provide protection and access to consular services, as well  
          as to help relatives and Mexican authorities to locate their  
          nationals abroad.

          This bill seeks to ensure that law enforcement officials accept  
          presentation of the Matricula Consular as valid identification  








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          from a person seeking to obtain a crime report or other records  
          required to be disclosed to that person under the PRA.  The  
          Committee's research indicates the Matricula Consular is already  
          recognized by many law enforcement agencies in California for  
          the purpose of providing valid identification.  In 2003, at  
          least 12 counties, 25 cities, and dozens of police and sheriff's  
          departments in California were accepting the Matricula Consular  
          as a form of identification.  (Senate Floor Analysis of AB 25  
          (Nez), of 2003-04, 8/27/2003.)  In fact, according the  
          informal survey of sheriff's departments cited by the author, at  
          least five sheriff departments in California report that they  
          already accept the Matricula Consular for purposes of obtaining  
          crime records.  In some jurisdictions, the Matricula Consular is  
          also accepted for other local governmental purposes, including,  
          for example, to apply for public utilities and to identify  
          oneself at schools and public libraries as a parent or user.   

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          El Concilio (co-sponsor)
          California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) (co-sponsor)
          Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality
          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
          California Partnership
          California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
          Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking
          Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
          Greenlining Institute
          Haven's Women's Center of Stanislaus
          Hunger Action Los Angeles
          Immigration Center for Women and Children
          Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition
          Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
          Mujeres Unidas y Activas
          National Council of Jewish Women

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Anthony Lew / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 










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