BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 260
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          SENATE THIRD READING
          SB 260 (Hancock)
          As Amended  September 3, 2013
          Majority vote 

           SENATE VOTE  :27-11  
           
           PUBLIC SAFETY       5-2         APPROPRIATIONS      12-5        
           
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Ammiano, Jones-Sawyer,    |Ayes:|Gatto, Bocanegra,         |
          |     |Mitchell, Quirk, Skinner  |     |Bradford,                 |
          |     |                          |     |Ian Calderon, Campos,     |
          |     |                          |     |Eggman, Gomez, Hall,      |
          |     |                          |     |Holden, Pan, Quirk, Weber |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Melendez, Waldron         |Nays:|Harkey, Bigelow,          |
          |     |                          |     |Donnelly, Linder, Wagner  |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 

           SUMMARY  :  Establishes a parole process for persons sentenced to  
          prison for crimes committed before attaining 18 years of age.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Establishes a youth offender parole hearing which is a hearing  
            by the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) for the purpose of  
            reviewing the parole suitability of any prisoner who was under  
            18 years of age at the time of his or her controlling offense.

          2)Defines "incarceration" as detention in a city or county jail,  
            a local juvenile facility, a mental health facility, a  
            Division of Juvenile Justice facility, or a California  
            Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facility.

          3)Defines "controlling offense" as the offense or enhancement  
            for which any sentencing court imposed the longest term of  
            imprisonment.

          4)Provides the following parole mechanism for a person who was  
            convicted of a controlling offense that was committed before  
            the person had attained 18 years of age:

             a)   If the sentence is a determinate sentence, the person  








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               shall be eligible for release on parole at a youth offender  
               parole hearing during his or her 15th year of  
               incarceration, unless previously released pursuant to other  
               statutory provisions;

             b)   If the sentence is a life term of less than 25 years to  
               life, the person shall be eligible for release on parole  
               during his or her 20th year of incarceration at a youth  
               offender parole hearing, unless previously released or  
               entitled to an earlier parole consideration hearing  
               pursuant to other statutory provisions; or

             c)   If the sentence is a life term of 25 years to life, the  
               person shall be eligible for release on parole during his  
               or her 25th year of incarceration at a youth offender  
               parole hearing, unless previously released or entitled to  
               an earlier parole consideration hearing pursuant to other  
               statutory provisions.

          5)Specifies that the youth offender parole hearing to consider  
            release shall provide for a meaningful opportunity to obtain  
            release. 

          6)Mandates BPH to review and, as necessary, revise existing  
            regulations and adopt new regulations regarding determinations  
            of suitability made pursuant to the provisions of this bill,  
            and other related topics, consistent with relevant case law,  
            in order to provide that meaningful opportunity for release.

          7)Provides in assessing growth and maturity, if BPH uses  
            psychological evaluations and risk assessment instruments,  
            those evaluations and instruments shall be administered by  
            licensed psychologists employed by BPH and shall take into  
            consideration the diminished culpability of juveniles as  
            compared to that of adults, the hallmark features of youth,  
            and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the  
            individual.

          8)States that family members, friends, school personnel, faith  
            leaders, and representatives from community-based  
            organizations with knowledge about the individual before the  
            crime or his or her growth and maturity since the time of the  
            crime may submit statements for review by BPH.









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          9)Clarifies that nothing in this bill is intended to alter the  
            rights of victims at parole hearings.

          10)States, if parole is not granted, BPH shall set the time for  
            the subsequent youth offender parole hearing in accordance  
            with existing provisions of law, and in exercising its  
            discretion BPH shall consider the diminished culpability of  
            juveniles as compared to adults, the hallmark features of  
            youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the  
            prisoner in accordance with relevant case law.

          11)Excludes persons sentenced under the "Three Strikes" law, the  
            "One-Strike" sex law, or sentenced to life in prison without  
            the possibility of parole.

          12)Makes ineligible a person to whom the provisions of this bill  
            would otherwise apply, but who, subsequent to attaining 18  
            years of age, commits an additional crime for which the person  
            is sentenced to life in prison or commits murder, as  
            specified.

          13)Sets a deadline of July 1, 2015, for BPH to complete all  
            youth offender parole hearings for individuals who become  
            entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a  
            youth offender parole hearing on the effective date of this  
            bill.

          14)Requires BPH in reviewing a prisoner's parole suitability at  
            a youth offender parole hearing, to give great weight to the  
            diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to adults, the  
            hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and  
            increased maturity of the prisoner in accordance with relevant  
            case law.

          15)Requires BPH to meet with each inmate during the sixth year  
            prior to the inmate's minimum eligible parole release date for  
            the purposes of reviewing and documenting the inmate's  
            activities and conduct pertinent to both parole eligibility  
            and to the granting or withholding of post-conviction credit.

          16)Specifies during this consultation, BPH shall provide the  
            inmate information about the parole hearing process, legal  
            factors relevant to his or her suitability or unsuitability  
            for parole, and individualized recommendations for the inmate  








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            regarding his or her work assignments, rehabilitative  
            programs, and institutional behavior.

          17)Requires BPH, within 30 days following the consultation, to  
            issue its positive and negative findings and recommendations  
            to the inmate in writing.

          18)States notwithstanding provisions of law requiring specified  
            minimum terms to be served on life sentences before being  
            paroled, a prisoner found suitable for parole pursuant to a  
            youth offender parole hearing shall be paroled regardless of  
            the manner in which BPH sets release dates. 

          19)Makes various legislative declarations and findings related  
            to youthful offenders.

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Provides that minors age 14 and older can be subject to  
            prosecution in adult criminal court depending upon their  
            alleged offense and their criminal offense history.  

          2)Provides that a minor within the jurisdiction of the juvenile  
            delinquency court may be sentenced to the Department of  
            Juvenile Facilities or tried as an adult, as specified, if he  
            or she has been charged with one of the following:  murder;  
            arson, as specified; robbery; rape with force, violence, or  
            threat of great bodily harm; sodomy by force, violence,  
            duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm; a lewd or  
            lascivious act on a person under the age of 14; oral  
            copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of  
            great bodily harm; forcible sexual penetration, as specified;  
            kidnapping for ransom; kidnapping for purposes of robbery;  
            kidnapping with bodily harm; attempted murder; assault with a  
            firearm or destructive device;  assault by any means of force  
            likely to produce great bodily injury; discharge of a firearm  
            into an inhabited or occupied building; a specified violent  
            crime against a person over the age of 60; use of a firearm in  
            a crime, as specified; a felony offense in which the minor  
            personally used a weapon specified in existing law; a felony  
            offense of intimidating or dissuading a witness;  
            manufacturing, compounding, or selling one-half ounce or more  
            of a salt or solution of a depressant listed as a controlled  
            substance; a violent felony or gang crime, as specified;  








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            escape, by the use of force or violence, from a county  
            juvenile hall, home, ranch, camp, or forestry camp, as  
            specified, if great bodily injury is intentionally inflicted  
            upon an employee of the juvenile facility during the  
            commission of the escape; torture;  aggravated mayhem;  
            carjacking, while armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon;  
            kidnapping for purposes of sexual assault; kidnapping during  
            the commission of a carjacking; discharging a firearm into a  
            vehicle, as specified, or; voluntary manslaughter.  

          3)Specifies if prosecution is commenced against a minor as a  
            criminal case as a "direct file" case, which does not require  
            a prior fitness hearing in juvenile court, and the minor is  
            convicted of a "direct file" offense, the minor is required to  
            be sentenced as an adult.  

          4)Provides, with some exceptions, that when a defendant who was  
            under 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the  
            offense for which the defendant was sentenced to imprisonment  
            for life without the possibility of parole has served at least  
            15 years of that sentence, the defendant may submit to the  
            sentencing court a petition for recall and resentencing and  
            sets forth the requirements for filing and granting such a  
            petition.  

          5)Requires BPH to consider the views and interests of the victim  
            when scheduling parole rehearings, and provides that the  
            denial period between rehearings shall be 15, 10, 7, 5 or 3  
            years as specified.  An inmate may request BPH to exercise  
            discretion to advance a set hearing to an earlier date, by  
            submitting a written request to BPH which sets forth new  
            information or a change in circumstances.  BPH has the sole  
            discretion to determine whether to grant or deny a request.   
            An inmate is allowed to make one written request during each  
            three year period following a summary denial or decision of  
            BPH.  (Penal Code Section 3041.5.)

          6)Requires BPH to meet with each inmate, except as specified,  
            during his or her third year of incarceration for the purpose  
            of reviewing his or her file, making recommendations, and  
            documenting activities and conduct pertinent to granting or  
            withholding post-conviction credit.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  








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          Committee:

          1)Significant one-time General Fund (GF) costs to the BPH,  
            likely in excess of $2 million by July 1, 2015, to hold  
            additional parole hearings.  As this bill requires BPH to hold  
            a hearing by July 1, 2015 for every determinately-sentenced  
            offender who has served more than 15 years for an offense  
            committed before the offender turned 18, and for  
            indeterminately-sentenced inmates who have served 15, 20 or 25  
            years, as specified, the cost of an additional 1,000 hearings  
            would be in the range of $2.5 million, assuming a BPH estimate  
            of $2,500 per hearing. 

          Annual hearing costs thereafter would likely be in the hundreds  
            of thousands of dollars.   
           
           2)One time GF costs in the range of $150,000 to review and  
            re-write regulations, pursuant to specified litigation.
           
           3)The above costs would be offset to an unknown degree by state  
            trial court GF savings as a result of an accompanying  
            reduction in writs of Habeas Corpus, by which inmates  
            challenge convictions and/or sentences.  
           
           4)Potentially significant annual out-year GF savings to the  
            extent inmates are actually paroled earlier following the  
            required hearings.  For example, for every 10 inmates per year  
            who are actually paroled as a result of this bill and end up  
            serving 20 rather than 30 years, the annual net savings will  
            exceed $1.5 million in 10 years (assuming a marginal per  
            capita savings of $25,000 per inmate, and a per capita parole  
            cost of $10,000).     
           
          There are about 5,700 inmates serving time in CDCR facilities  
          who were sentenced when they were under the age of 18.  Of  
          these:

          1)1,469 will have served at least 15 years by January 1, 2014.

          2)729 will have served at least 20 years by January 1, 2014.

          3)335 will have served at least 25 years by January 1, 2014.

          4)70 are 2nd Strikers.








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          5)2 are 3rd Strikers.

          6)286 are serving life without the possibility of parole.

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, "Piecemeal changes to  
          California law since the 1990s have removed many safeguards and  
          points for review that once existed for youth charged with  
          crimes.  Currently, over 6,500 young people in California  
          prisons were under the age of 18 at the time of their crime and  
          prosecuted as adults - many are transferred to the adult  
          criminal justice system without careful consideration of their  
          amenability to rehabilitate and demonstrate remorse.  The  
          current system provides no viable mechanism for reviewing a case  
          after a young person has served a substantial period of  
          incarceration and can show maturity and improvement.

          "Existing sentencing laws do not distinguish youth from adults,  
          however, recent court decisions are moving in this direction.   
          The US Supreme Court recently held unconstitutional mandatory  
          life without parole sentences for people under the age of 18,  
          and required courts to consider the youthfulness of defendants  
          facing that sentence (Miller v. Alabama (2012).  The California  
          Supreme Court recently ruled in People v. Caballero (2012) that  
          a sentence exceeding the life expectancy of a juvenile is the  
          equivalent of life without parole, and unconstitutional in  
          nonhomicide cases.  Specifically, the California Supreme Court  
          called for legislative action to establish a review process for  
          cases with lengthy sentences. 

          "Recent scientific evidence on adolescent development and  
          neuroscience show that certain areas of the brain, particularly  
          those that affect judgment and decision-making, do not fully  
          develop until the early 20's.  The US Supreme Court stated in  
          its 2005 Roper v. Simmons decision, '[t]he reality that  
          juveniles still struggle to define their identity means it is  
          less supportable to conclude that even a heinous crime committed  
          by a juvenile is evidence of irretrievably depraved character.'   
          Moreover, the fact that young adults are still developing means  
          that they are uniquely situated for personal growth and  
          rehabilitation.

          "In the wake of the US and the California Supreme Courts'  
          decisions and consistent with neuroscientific research, SB 260  








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          establishes a comprehensive Youth Opportunity Review process to  
          evaluate cases involving extreme sentences for juveniles.  SB  
          260 holds young people responsible for the crimes they committed  
          and creates a parole mechanism in which they must demonstrate  
          remorse and rehabilitation to merit any possible release on  
          parole as determined by the Board of Parole Hearings."  
           
          Please see the policy committee analysis for a full discussion  
          of this bill.
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Stella Choe / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744 


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