BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                             Senator Loni Hancock, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:    AB 1927       Hearing Date:    May 10, 2016    
          
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          |Author:    |Lackey                                               |
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          |Version:   |March 28, 2016                                       |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |No               |
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          |Consultant:|ML                                                   |
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                   Subject:  Criminal Procedure:  Notice to Appear



          HISTORY

          Source:   Peace Officers Research Association of California

          Prior Legislation:None

          Support:  California Association of Highway Patrolmen;  
                    California Police Chiefs Association

          Opposition:None Known

          Assembly Floor Vote:                 78 - 0


          PURPOSE

          The purpose of this bill is to authorize law enforcement  
          officers to give a person violating the law a copy of their  
          'notice to appear' in court without the signature of the  
          defendant, unless the person specifically requests it.

          Existing law requires officers to prepare a written notice to  
          appear in court if a person who violates the law does not have  
          to go before a magistrate and is subsequently released after the  
          violation. The notice to appear must include the name and  








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          address of person involved, the offense charged, the time and  
          place in which the person must appear in court, and the  
          violator's signature in order to secure their release as a  
          written promise that the defendant will appear in court as  
          specified in the notice to appear. (Penal Code  853.6 (a),  
          (d).)

          Existing law requires an officer or prosecuting attorney to  
          provide a defendant an exact and legible duplicate copy of any  
          written notice that an officer or prosecuting attorney has  
          prepared, delivered and filed with the court in which the  
          defendant may plead "guilty" or "nolo contendre" to the original  
          complaint. (Pen. Code,  853.9 (a).) 

          Existing law requires that whenever the written notice to appear  
          has been prepared on a form approved by the Judicial Council, an  
          exact and legible duplicate copy of the notice when filed with  
          the magistrate shall constitute a complaint to which the  
          defendant may enter a plea and, if the notice to appear is  
          verified, upon which a warrant may be issued. If the notice to  
          appear is not verified, the defendant may, at the time of  
          arraignment, request that a verified complaint be filed. (Pen.  
          Code,   853.9 (b).)

          Existing law states that a criminal prosecution may be commenced  
          by filing an accusatory pleading in electronic form with the  
          judge or in a court having authority to receive it. (Pen. Code,  
           959.1 (a).)

          Existing law authorizes the judicial council to approve an  
          electronically transmitted notice to appear if the notice to  
          appear meets the following criteria: it is issued and  
          transmitted by a law enforcement agency; the courts have the  
          ability to receive, store and reproduce such notices in  
          electronic format; and the issuing agency has the ability to  
          reproduce the notice to appear in physical form upon demand.  
          (Pen. Code,  959.1 (d)(1) - (3).)

          Existing law states that if the notice to appear is transmitted  
          in electronic form, it is deemed to have been signed by the  
          defendant if it includes a digitized facsimile of the  
          defendant's signature on the notice to appear. (Pen. Code,   
          959.1 (f).)










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          This bill would authorize a police officer to give a defendant a  
          copy of their notice to appear in court without the signature of  
          the defendant, unless the defendant specifically requests that  
          the copy they receive contains their signature.

                    RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION

          For the past several years this Committee has scrutinized  
          legislation referred to its jurisdiction for any potential  
          impact on prison overcrowding.  Mindful of the United States  
          Supreme Court ruling and federal court orders relating to the  
          state's ability to provide a constitutional level of health care  
          to its inmate population and the related issue of prison  
          overcrowding, this Committee has applied its "ROCA" policy as a  
          content-neutral, provisional measure necessary to ensure that  
          the Legislature does not erode progress in reducing prison  
          overcrowding.   

          On February 10, 2014, the federal court ordered California to  
          reduce its in-state adult institution population to 137.5% of  
          design capacity by February 28, 2016, as follows:   

                 143% of design bed capacity by June 30, 2014;
                 141.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2015; and,
                 137.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2016. 

          In December of 2015 the administration reported that as "of  
          December 9, 2015, 112,510 inmates were housed in the State's 34  
          adult institutions, which amounts to 136.0% of design bed  
          capacity, and 5,264 inmates were housed in out-of-state  
          facilities.  The current population is 1,212 inmates below the  
          final court-ordered population benchmark of 137.5% of design bed  
          capacity, and has been under that benchmark since February  
          2015."  (Defendants' December 2015 Status Report in Response to  
          February 10, 2014 Order, 2:90-cv-00520 KJM DAD PC, 3-Judge  
          Court, Coleman v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (fn. omitted).)  One  
          year ago, 115,826 inmates were housed in the State's 34 adult  
          institutions, which amounted to 140.0% of design bed capacity,  
          and 8,864 inmates were housed in out-of-state facilities.   
          (Defendants' December 2014 Status Report in Response to February  
          10, 2014 Order, 2:90-cv-00520 KJM DAD PC, 3-Judge Court, Coleman  
          v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (fn. omitted).)  
           
          While significant gains have been made in reducing the prison  









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          population, the state must stabilize these advances and  
          demonstrate to the federal court that California has in place  
          the "durable solution" to prison overcrowding "consistently  
          demanded" by the court.  (Opinion Re: Order Granting in Part and  
          Denying in Part Defendants' Request For Extension of December  
          31, 2013 Deadline, NO. 2:90-cv-0520 LKK DAD (PC), 3-Judge Court,  
          Coleman v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (2-10-14).  The Committee's  
          consideration of bills that may impact the prison population  
          therefore will be informed by the following questions:

              Whether a proposal erodes a measure which has contributed  
               to reducing the prison population;
              Whether a proposal addresses a major area of public safety  
               or criminal activity for which there is no other  
               reasonable, appropriate remedy;
              Whether a proposal addresses a crime which is directly  
               dangerous to the physical safety of others for which there  
               is no other reasonably appropriate sanction; 
              Whether a proposal corrects a constitutional problem or  
               legislative drafting error; and
              Whether a proposal proposes penalties which are  
               proportionate, and cannot be achieved through any other  
               reasonably appropriate remedy.




          COMMENTS

          1.  Need for This Bill

          According to the author:

               When conducting traffic stops to issue a citation (also  
               known as a "notice to appear"), the officer runs the  
               information through dispatch and returns to the violator's  
               vehicle to fill out a triplicate form. One signed copy goes  
               to the violator, one to the officer, and one to the court.  
               This is called a "two contact approach".  

               With new technologies, many agencies are using electronic  
               handheld devices to be more efficient when issuing  
               citations.  This device resembles the machines a person  
               signs when receiving a package from FedEx or UPS. With this  









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               device, once the officer completes the citation and obtains  
               a signature (second contact), it is wirelessly sent to a  
               printer in the patrol vehicle, where, under current law,  
               the officer must retrieve it and bring the exact signed  
               copy of the citation back to the violator.  This results in  
               a third trip back to the vehicle by the officer, or a  
               "three contact approach."  

               In addition to the potential danger of high speed traffic,  
               it is unknown to the officer whether the occupants of the  
               violator's vehicle are armed or potentially dangerous.  
               Under these circumstances, two contacts with each vehicle  
               are very dangerous. Contacting a violator a third time  
               during a traffic stop greatly increases an officer's risk  
               of harm especially if a violator is agitated for any  
               reason. 

               This bill amends the penal code to include an exception  
               that violators do not need an exact signed copy of their  
               citation when an electronic citation is given unless  
               specifically requested by the violator. This will reduce  
               the risk for both the officer and the offender by limiting  
               the number of contact during a traffic stop.

          



          2.  Background; Effect of This Bill

          This bill provides that if a citation issued by a peace officer  
          is transmitted electronically, the copy of the citation issued  
          does not need to include the signature of the person who is  
          issued the notice to appear citation unless they specifically  
          request a copy of the citation with their signature. 

          Electronic citations were initially implemented to streamline  
          the citation process; however, in a traffic stop, an officer  
          typically contacts the driver to collect information, and then  
          returns to their patrol vehicle to fill out the citation.  Once  
          the citation is complete, the officer will re-contact the driver  
          to obtain their signature, and then give the violator a copy of  
          the signed citation.  With the addition of the electronic hand  
          held device, once the device is electronically signed,  the  









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          officer must go back to his/her patrol vehicle to get the signed  
          citation from the printer within their vehicle and return for a  
          third time to the violator's vehicle.  Unlike the traditional  
          "two approach" traffic stop, this new implementation increases  
          the stop to three approaches. The process thus increases the  
          time and danger involved in an ordinary traffic stop.

          Police officers are four times more likely to get involved in an  
          accident including a vehicle than a civilian motorist.<1>  
          Between the 17-year-period of 1993 to 2009, an average of one  
          officer a month was struck and killed by a motor vehicle.<2>  
          During the years 2005 to 2014, 134 police officers were struck  
          and killed by a vehicle.<3> In order to help prevent the  
          substantial number of officers from being struck and  
          subsequently injured or killed, Move Over laws came into effect  
          in forty-nine different states (only Hawaii and D.C. do not have  
          these laws), requiring motorists to change lanes or slow down  
          when they approach an emergency vehicle.<4>

          3. Argument in Support

          According to the California Police Chiefs Association Inc.:

               The California Police Chiefs Association is pleased to  
               support AB 1927, which will increase peace officer safety  
               in California. AB 1927 provides that if the citation issued  
               by a peace officer to an arrested person is being  
               -------------------------

          <1>  
          http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction= 
          display&article_id=2422&issue_id=72011#6

          <2>  
          http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction= 
          display&article_id=2422&issue_id=72011#10

          <3>  
          http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fatalities-data/causes.html?r 
          eferrer=http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fatalities-data/daifa 
          cts.html

          <4>  
          http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction= 
          display&article_id=2422&issue_id=72011#6








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               transmitted in electronic form, the copy of the citation  
               issued to the arrested person need not include the  
               signature of the arrested person, unless specifically  
               requested by the arrested person. With new technologies,  
               many agencies are using electronic handheld devices to be  
               more efficient when issuing citations. With this device,  
               once the officer completes the citation and obtains a  
               signature (second contact), it is wirelessly sent to a  
               printer in the patrol vehicle, where under current law, the  
               officer must retrieve it and bring the exact signed copy of  
               the citation back to the violator. This results in a third  
               trip back to the vehicle by the officer, or a "three  
               contact approach." 

               However, traffic stops are inherently dangerous for both  
               the officer and the stopped vehicle. When an officer pulls  
               a vehicle over on a busy street or highway, the officer  
               puts themselves at risk each time they exit their vehicle  
               and approach the violator's vehicle. In addition to the  
               potential danger of high speed traffic each time an officer  
               approaches a vehicle, it is unknown to the officer whether  
               the occupants of the violator's vehicle are armed or  
               potentially dangerous. Under these circumstances, two  
               contacts with each vehicle is very dangerous. Contacting a  
               violator three times during a traffic stop greatly  
               increases an officer's risk of harm. 

          4. Proposed Amendments in Committee

          The author proposes to amend subdivision (c) of Penal Code   
          853.9 in committee:

          "If the notice to appear issued to  and signed by the arrested  
          person is being transmitted in electronic form, the copy of the  
          citation notice to appear issued to the arrested person need not  
          include the signature of the arrested person, unless  
          specifically requested by the arrested person." 

          The added language is highlighted.

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