BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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

          Bill No:    AB 2221       Hearing Date:    June 21, 2016    
          
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Author:    |Cristina Garcia                                      |
          |-----------+-----------------------------------------------------|
          |Version:   |April 19, 2016                                       |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Consultant:|ML                                                   |
          |           |                                                     |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 


             Subject:  Criminal Procedure:  Human Trafficking Witnesses



          HISTORY

          Source:   Author

          Prior Legislation:AB 1730 (Atkins) - Introduced 1/28/2016
                         AB 1760 (Santiago) - Introduced 2/2/2016
                         SB 1322 (Mitchell) - Introduced 2/19/2016
                         
          Support:  Bakersfield Police Department; California Police  
                    Chiefs Association; Los Angeles County District  
                    Attorney's Office; Peace Officers Research Association  
                    of California 

          Opposition:None Known

          Assembly Floor Vote:                 76 - 0


          PURPOSE

          The purpose of this bill is to authorize minor victims of human  
          trafficking to be provided with victim witness assistance prior  
          to testifying.


          Existing law specifies that a prosecuting witness in a case  







          AB 2221  (Cristina Garcia )                               PageB  
          of?
          
          involving a violation or attempted violation of specified  
          offenses, including human trafficking, shall be entitled, for  
          support, to the attendance of up to two persons of his or her  
          own choosing, one of whom may be a witness, at the preliminary  
          hearing and at the trial, or at a juvenile court proceeding,  
          during the testimony of the prosecuting witness. (Penal Code,   
          868.5.)




          Existing law states that only one of those support persons may  
          accompany the witness to the witness stand, although the other  
          may remain in the courtroom during the witness' testimony.  
          (Penal Code,  868.5.)


          This bill specifies that prior to being subpoenaed as a witness  
          in a human trafficking case, a minor who is a victim of human  
          trafficking must be provided with assistance from the local  
          county Victim Witness Assistance Center.  





                    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,








          AB 2221  (Cristina Garcia )                               PageC  
          of?
          
                 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  
          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.










          AB 2221  (Cristina Garcia )                               PageD  
          of?
          
          

          



          COMMENTS

          1.  Stated Need for This Bill

          The author states: 

            Both federal and state laws define human trafficking with  
            a critical component: Victims are exploited by "force,  
            fraud, or coercion".<1> "Force" in regards to human  
            trafficking typically means physical and/or sexual abuse  
            as well as isolation and confinement. Coercion is a  
            psychological form of control, which may include threats  
            of harm made to the victim or the victim's family.  
            Victims experiencing these circumstances are under  
            extreme duress and serious vulnerability. 

            Children and youth in the foster care system are  
            significantly more at risk to be human trafficked. Of  
            suspected or confirmed child victims of sex trafficking,  
            46.7% were from a group home, foster care, Department of  
            Child and Family Services care or a shelter. The victims  
            of human trafficking are extremely vulnerable populations  
            and require added measures to advocate for their  
            safety.<2>

            Human trafficking victims are caught in a "he-said,  
            she-said" situation, and oftentimes will have to testify  
            in order to establish that there was indeed a crime  
            against them. Having endured an already traumatic  
            experience, there is no need for these victims to relive  
            the atrocities from their assailant. 
            ------------------------
          <1> The Crime of Human Trafficking.  The State of Human  
          Trafficking in California 2012.  
          http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/ht/human-trafficking 
          -2012.pdf
          <2> California Human Trafficking Fact Sheet. Center for Public  
          Policy Studies.  
          http://www.htcourts.org/wp-content/uploads/CA-HT-Fact-Sheet-2.27. 
          13.pdf?Factsheet=HT-CA.







          AB 2221  (Cristina Garcia )                               PageE  
          of?
          

            The majority of human trafficked children have roots in  
            our foster care system. Many of these children have  
            lacked the stability and support every child deserves. In  
            order to protect victims from further exploitation, prior  
            to taking the stand, AB 2221 will provide victims with  
            assistance from the local county Victim Witness  
            Assistance Center.  This measure is to ensure that there  
            is someone by their side walking them through this  
            difficult process, helping them transition from a victim  
            to a survivor.

          2.  Victim Witness Assistance Programs 

          Victims of crime may suffer physical, emotional, or financial  
          harm. Victims and witnesses to a crime may face retaliation or  
          intimidation in connection with their potential participation in  
          the criminal justice system.  Victims and witness can also be  
          confused by a criminal justice system that is not familiar to  
          them.  Victim Witness Assistance Programs can provide assistance  
          with these issues.  These programs are frequently connected to  
          the county district attorney's office.  Victim Witness  
          Assistance Programs generally have trained and experienced  
          advocates provide services for victims and witnesses interacting  
          with the criminal justice system.  Services can include crisis  
          counseling, orientation to the criminal justice system,  
          community referrals, assistance with applying for victim  
          compensation, a support group for family members of homicide  
          victims, and many other services.
          

                                      -- END -