BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                        SB 260|
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                                 UNFINISHED BUSINESS

          Bill No:  SB 260
          Author:   Hancock (D), et al.
          Amended:  9/3/13
          Vote:     21

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  4-2, 4/9/13
          AYES:  Hancock, De León, Liu, Steinberg
          NOES:  Anderson, Knight
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Block

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 5/23/13
          AYES:  De León, Walters, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Gaines

           SENATE FLOOR  :  27-11, 5/28/13
          AYES:  Beall, Calderon, Cannella, Corbett, De León, DeSaulnier,  
            Emmerson, Evans, Hancock, Hernandez, Hill, Hueso, Jackson,  
            Lara, Leno, Lieu, Liu, Monning, Padilla, Pavley, Price, Roth,  
            Steinberg, Walters, Wolk, Wright, Yee
          NOES:  Anderson, Berryhill, Block, Correa, Fuller, Gaines, Huff,  
            Knight, Nielsen, Torres, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Galgiani, Vacancy

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not available

           SUBJECT  :    Youth opportunity review hearings

           SOURCE  :     Friends Committee on Legislation of California 
                      Human Rights Watch



                                                                     SB 260

                      USC School of Law Post Conviction Clinic
                      Youth Justice Coalition
                      Youth Law Center

           DIGEST  :    This bill establishes a parole process for persons  
          sentenced to prison for crimes committed before attaining 18  
          years of age.

           Assembly Amendments  revise and recast with the same intent as it  
          left the Senate but make considerable changes, most notably, to  
          the parole process now going through the Board of Parole  
          Hearings (BPH) for a prisoner who at the time of their  
          conviction was under the age of 18.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          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/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  


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            substance; a violent felony or gang crime, as specified;  
            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  

          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.  The 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.

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


                                                                     SB 260

          This bill:

          1.Establishes a youth offender parole hearing which is a hearing  
            by BPH for the purpose of reviewing the parole suitability of  
            any prisoner who was under 18 years of age at the time of  
            his/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  

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

             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/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.

             C.   If the sentence is a life term of 25 years to life, the  
               person shall be eligible for release on parole during  
               his/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.

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


                                                                     SB 260

          2.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.

          3.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  

          4.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/her growth and maturity since the time of the  
            crime may submit statements for review by BPH.

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

          6.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.

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

          8.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  



                                                                     SB 260

          9.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.

          10.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.

          11.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.

          12.Specifies during this consultation, BPH shall provide the  
            inmate information about the parole hearing process, legal  
            factors relevant to his/her suitability or unsuitability for  
            parole, and individualized recommendations for the inmate  
            regarding his/her work assignments, rehabilitative programs,  
            and institutional behavior.

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

          14.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.

          15.Makes various legislative declarations and findings related  
            to youthful offenders.

          In People v. Caballero (2012) 55 Cal.4th 262, the California  
          Supreme Court held that a determinate sentence that exceeds the  
          expected lifetime (in this case 110 years to life) of the  


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          juvenile defendant violates the Eighth Amendment because it  
          effectively denies a juvenile any opportunity to demonstrate  
          rehabilitation.  The Court relied on the U.S. Supreme Court's  
          opinions in Graham v. Florida (2010) 130 S.Ct. 2011 and Miller  
          v. Alabama (2012) 132 S.Ct. 2455, holding that no legitimate  
          penological interest justifies a life without parole sentence  
          for juvenile offenders in non-homicide cases, and that such a  
          sentence violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel  
          and unusual punishment.

          In its conclusion, the Court states, "Defendants who were  
          sentenced for crimes they committed as juveniles who seek to  
          modify life without parole or equivalent defacto sentences  
          already imposed may file petitions for a writ of habeas corpus  
          in the trial court in order to allow the court to weigh the  
          mitigating evidence in determining the extent of incarceration  
          required before parole hearings."

          In light of People v. Caballero, it is anticipated that an  
          increased number of inmates serving extended prison terms who  
          were convicted as minors may bring writs of habeas corpus on the  
          basis of cruel and unusual punishment.  This bill would serve to  
          establish an alternative process for the review of such cases,  
          as well as for additional cases meeting the eligibility criteria  
          specified in this measure.

           Prior/Similar Legislation
          SB 9 (Yee, Chapter 828, Statutes of 2012) provides that a person  
          who was sentenced to life without parole who committed the  
          offense when he/she was under the age of 18 can under specified  
          circumstances seek a review of the sentence after he/she served  
          15 years in prison.

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

          According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee:

           Significant one-time General Fund (GF) costs to 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  


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            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 will 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.

           One time GF costs in the range of $150,000 to review and  
            re-write regulations, pursuant to specified litigation.

           The above costs will 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.

           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).

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  9/6/13)

          Friends Committee on Legislation of California (co-source)
          Human Rights Watch (co-source)
          USC School of Law Post Conviction Clinic (co-source)
          Youth Justice Coalition (co-source)
          Youth Law Center (co-source)
          A Place Called Home
          Advancement Project
          All of Us or None
          All Saints Church Foster Care Project
          American Civil Liberties Union 
          American Friends Service Committee
          American Probation and Parole Association


                                                                     SB 260

          Americans for Tax Reform President, Grover G. Norquist 
          Amnesty International
          Bar Association of San Francisco
          Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action
          Black Organizing Project
          Boys and Girls Club of San Gabriel Valley
          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice 
          California Catholic Conference, Inc.
          California Church IMPACT
          California Coalition for Women Prisoners
          California Coalition for Youth
          California Communities United Institute
          California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement
          California Fund for Youth Organizing
          California Public Defenders Association
          California Teachers Association
          Californians for Safety and Justice
          Californians United for a Responsible Budget
          Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
          Campaign for Youth Justice
          Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
          Children's Defense Fund
          City and County of San Francisco, District Attorney George  
          City of San Diego, Chief of Police William Lansdowne
          County of Los Angeles, Sheriff Leroy D. Baca
          Day One
          Disability Rights California
          Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund 
          Dolores Mission Catholic Church
          East Bay Children's Law Offices
          Equal Justice Society
          Everychild Foundation
          Former Republican Leader of the California Assembly Pat Nolan
          Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt  
          Friends Outside
          Healing Justice Coalition
          Human Rights Advocates
          Jesuits of the California Province
          Just Detention International
          Justice Fellowship
          Justice Not Jails


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          Justice Now
          Juvenile Law Center
          Law Office of Donald R. Hammond
          Legal Service for Prisoners with Children
          Legal Services for Children
          Life Support Alliance
          Los Angeles Community Action Network
          Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy
          Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
          National Center for Lesbian Rights
          National Center for Youth Law
          National Juvenile Justice Network
          National Partnership for Juvenile Services
          Office of Restorative Justice of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
          Pacific Juvenile Defender Center
          Prison Law Office
          Public Council - Children's Right's Project
          Religious Sisters of Charity
          Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church
          Saint Mark's United Methodist Church
          Santa Clara University
          Service Employees International Union Local 1000
          Sisters of Mercy U.S. Province
          Sisters of the Company of Mary
          Tax Payers for Improving Public Safety
          The W. Haywood Burns Institute
          The Women's Foundation of California
          University of San Francisco Center for Law and Global Justice
          University Synagogue
          Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles
          Yolo County Office of Education
          Yolo County Public Defender's Office

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  9/6/13)

          Anaheim Police Officers Association
          Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs
          Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs
          California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations
          California District Attorneys Association
          California Fraternal Order of Police
          California Narcotics Officers Association
          California Police Chiefs Association 


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          Crime Victims Action Alliance
          Crime Victims United
          Long Beach Police Officers Association
          Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey
          Los Angeles County Probation Officers Union-AFSME- Local 685
          Los Angeles Police Protective League
          Los Angeles Professional Peace Officers Association
          Riverside Sheriffs Association
          Sacramento Deputy Sheriffs Association
          Santa Ana Police Officers Association
          Southern California Alliance of Law Enforcement

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office: 

               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 U.S. 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  


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               decision-making, do not fully develop until the early 20's.  
                The U.S. Supreme Court stated in its 2005 Roper v. Simmons  
               decision, the 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  

               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 BPH.

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION :    The Los Angeles County District  
          Attorney's Office states:

               We agree that persons who commit crimes before the age of  
               18 should have a meaningful opportunity to petition for  
               parole based upon demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.  
                Unfortunately, the recent amendments to SB 260 could have  
               the unintended consequence of releasing dangerous offenders  
               into the community.

               As currently drafted, SB 260 tips the scales toward release  
               of the offender by creating a new standard that requires  
               the parole board to give "great weight" to the "diminished  
               culpability of juveniles as compared to adults, the  
               hallmark features of youth and any subsequent growth and  
               maturity of the prisoner in accordance with relevant case  

               Significantly, "great weight" is expressly given to no  
               other factor, not even the number of victims the prisoner  
               killed or injured, the egregious nature of the offense or  
               the prisoner's threat to public safety.  This is of  
               particular concern in murder, rape and gang cases.   
               Moreover, by giving "great weight" solely to youthfulness  
               factors, SB 260 arguably creates a presumption that the  
               offender who committed a crime as juvenile should be  
               released at the minimum eligible parole date.



                                                                     SB 260

               Even if the courts do not hold that there is a presumption  
               in favor of release, SB 260 would tip the scales in favor  
               of release by elevating the age at the time of the offense,  
               and subsequent growth and maturity, to be more important  
               than any aggravating factor.  This is a clear threat to  
               public safety.

          JG:ej  9/6/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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