BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 696 (Jones-Sawyer) - Defendants:  arraignment
          
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          |Version: May 18, 2015           |Policy Vote: PUB. S. 4 - 3      |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: July 6, 2015      |Consultant: Jolie Onodera       |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. 

          

          Bill  
          Summary:  AB 696 would require probable cause determinations for  
          misdemeanor defendants not in custody to be made 30 days before  
          the date calendared for trial at the arraignment unless a later  
          date is requested by the defense, as specified.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  Ongoing increase in court workload and costs,  
          potentially in the millions of dollars (General Fund*), for new  
          probable cause determinations for non-custodial misdemeanor  
          defendants. For every 10 percent of non-custodial defendants  
          charged with a misdemeanor who request such a determination of  
          probable cause, annual costs are estimated at $2.5 million.

          *Trial Court Trust Fund


          Background:  Existing law provides that upon motion by an in custody  
          defendant at the time he or she appears before a magistrate for  







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          arraignment and the offense is a misdemeanor to which the  
          defendant has pleaded not guilty, the magistrate is required to  
          determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a  
          public offense has been committed and that the defendant is  
          guilty thereof. (Penal Code (PC)  991(a).)
          Under existing law, the determination of probable cause is  
          required to be made immediately unless the court grants a  
          continuance for good cause not to exceed three court days. In  
          determining the existence of probable cause, the magistrate is  
          required to consider any warrant of arrest with supporting  
          affidavits, and the sworn complaint together with any documents  
          or reports incorporated by reference which, if based on  
          information and belief, state the basis for that information, or  
          any other documents of similar reliability. If, after examining  
          these documents, the court determines that there exists probable  
          cause to believe that the defendant has committed the offense  
          charged in the complaint, it shall set the matter for trial. If  
          the court determines that no such  probable cause exists, it  
          shall dismiss the complaint and discharge the defendant. (PC   
          991(b)-(d).)

          According to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court for  
          the State of California, County of Los Angeles decision in  
          People v. McGowan (filed 3/27/15 BR 051696; Airport Trial Court  
          No. 4WA22795): 

            It was for good reason that the Legislature implemented  
            a procedure to ensure a confined misdemeanant is held  
            for trial only if there is probable cause to believe he  
            or she committed a crime charged in the complaint. The  
            constitutional right to a judicial determination of  
            probable cause following arrest has its roots in  
            Gerstein v. Pugh (1975) 420 U.S. 103. In that case, the  
            United States Supreme Court held the Fourth Amendment  
            vests an in-custody defendant with the right to have a  
            prompt postarrest determination of whether there is  
            probable cause to believe he or she committed "a  
            crime." (Id. at pp. 114, 119-120.) The California  
            Supreme Court ultimately applied the Gerstein rule to  
            California misdemeanants held in custody. (In re  
            Walters (1975) 15 Cal.3d 738, 747 (Walters).) Section  
            991 did not exist at the time Walters was decided.  
            Thus, "California procedures governing the pretrial  
            detention of those charged with misdemeanors . . .  








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            [did] not . . . comport with . . . constitutional  
            requirements . . . since the defendant [was] not  
            afforded a post-arrest judicial determination that  
            probable cause exist[ed] for his continued detention."  
            (Id. at p. 747.) This led to Walters' holding that,  
            "unless waived, a judicial determination of probable  
            cause is required in every case where a defendant  
            charged with a misdemeanor is detained awaiting trial."  
            (Ibid.) In response to the requirements of Walters,  
            section 991 was enacted "to be a safeguard against the  
            hardship suffered by a misdemeanant who is detained in  
            custody, by providing that a probable cause hearing  
            will be held immediately, at the time of arraignment, .  
            . ." (People v. Ward (1986) 188 Cal.App.3d Supp. 11,  
            15, 17.)


          Proposed Law:  
           This bill would provide that when a defendant is not in custody  
          at the time he or she appears before the magistrate for  
          arraignment and the public offense is a misdemeanor to which the  
          defendant has pleaded not guilty, the magistrate, on motion of  
          counsel for the defendant or the defendant, shall determine  
          whether there is probable cause to believe that a public offense  
          has been committed and that the defendant is guilty thereof. 
          This bill requires the determination to be made 30 days before  
          the date calendared for trial at the arraignment, unless a later  
          date is requested by the defense in order to allow the  
          prosecution to supplement specified materials with the discovery  
          that it is required to provide.




          Related  
          Legislation:  None applicable.


          Staff  
          Comments:  The Judicial Council has indicated a potentially  
          significant increase in workload for courts should the  
          provisions of this bill become law. By requiring courts to  
          provide in-court probable cause determinations for up to 90  
          percent of a county's charged misdemeanants (as it is estimated  








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          10 percent are held in custody), statewide costs could  
          potentially exceed several million dollars annually, based on an  
          estimate of three minutes of court time per defendant to  
          complete an uncontested probable cause determination . For every  
          10 percent of non-custodial defendants charged with a  
          misdemeanor who request such a determination of probable cause,  
          annual costs are estimated at $2.5 million. 
          Specifically, the Judicial Council has indicated the following:


          "The implementation of probable cause determinations for  
          non-custodial misdemeanants would add significant time to  
          already impacted court calendars, and the expenditure of court  
          resources (most significantly court personnel costs). It is  
          reasonable to assume that a simple, uncontested probable cause  
          determination requires about three minutes of court time. In  
          Fresno, a court serving a county of under one million people,  
          there are 800 misdemeanor arraignments in a week. Subtracting 10  
          percent (representing the in-custody population) leaves 720  
          out-of-custody misdemeanor defendants each week entitled to a  
          probable cause determination should AB 696 be signed into law.  
          At three minutes per defendant, 36 additional hours would be  
          required to process the same number of defendants, without,  
          according to the court in McGowan, the advancement or protection  
          of any constitutional right or protection. In dollars, 36 hours  
          of court time is $21,600 per week. Extrapolated to a 50-week  
          year (due to budget cuts, Fresno is closed over the course of a  
          year by about two full weeks), the cost is $1,080,000. According  
          to the most recent filings data, there were 926,169 misdemeanors  
          filed in California. (Fresno accounted for 38,431 of those  
          filings, representing 4.1% of statewide total.) Using the same  
          ratio of in-custody to not-in-custody misdemeanants (10% to  
          90%), the total number of probable cause determinations that  
          would be required in California per the terms of AB 696 would be  
          833,553. The cost to California's courts would be an estimated  
          $25 million every year. It is also worth noting that Prop. 47  
          will add thousands of misdemeanants to the courts' calendars,  
          which may result in even greater costs to the courts should AB  
          696 be enacted. This calculation represents revenues that courts  
          currently spend on access to justice, for example self-help  
          centers, counter clerks, clerks to answer telephones, filing  
          clerks, research staff, and other court operations. Diverting  
          this funding from court operations for probable cause  
          determinations for misdemeanor defendants would have significant  








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          impacts on court operations."


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