On Sunday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s bill that would reduce or remove cannabis convictions from ones record.
Bonta said Sunday, “Outdated convictions shouldn’t be a barrier to employment and housing. AB 1793 allows people to more easily access their existing rights under Prop 64.”
According to the Bill:
This bill would require the Department of Justice, before July 1, 2019, to review the records in the state summary criminal history information database and to identify past convictions that are potentially eligible for recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation pursuant to AUMA. The bill would require the department to notify the prosecution of all cases in their jurisdiction that are eligible for recall or dismissal of a sentence, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation. The bill would require the prosecution to, on or before July 1, 2020, review all cases and determine whether to challenge the resentencing, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation. The bill would authorize the prosecution to challenge the resentencing, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation if the person does not meet the eligibility requirements or presents an unreasonable risk to public safety. The bill would require the prosecution to notify the public defender and the court when they are challenging a particular resentencing, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation, and would require the prosecution to notify the court if they are not challenging a particular resentencing, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation. By imposing additional duties on local entities, this bill would create a state-mandated local program. The bill would require the court to automatically reduce or dismiss the conviction pursuant to AUMA if there is no challenge by July 1, 2020. The bill would require the department to modify the state summary criminal history information database in conformance with the recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation within 30 days and to post specified information on its Internet Web site.
According to the Department of Justice, it estimates nearly 220,000 cases are eligible for erasure or reduction and the DOJ now has until July 1, 2019 to compile a list of eligible cases to bring forward to district attorney offices in California.
Here is the press release by Assemblyman Rob Bonta:
Bonta Cannabis Convictions Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Governor’s Desk
AB 1793 Creates Simpler Pathway for People to Exercise Existing Right to Reduce or Remove Out-dated Cannabis Convictions from Their Records
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) issued the following statement on AB 1793 passing the Senate and moving to the Governor’s Desk:
“AB 1793 will bring people closer to realizing their existing rights by creating a simpler pathway for Californians to turn the page and have certain criminal convictions for cannabis-related offenses removed from or reduced on their records. When Proposition 64 was passed by voters in 2016, it contained provisions that not only prospectively reduced or eliminated many cannabis law violations, but made those changes retroactive. This means people with felonies or misdemeanors for cannabis-related offenses that were changed by Proposition 64 are now legally entitled to petition the courts to expunge or reduce those convictions.”
“However, the majority of eligible individuals have not gone through the process of petitioning the courts. Many people are unaware of this opportunity to change their records, but even for those who know their rights, navigating the legal system’s bureaucracies can be confusing, costly and time-consuming.”
“Several local District Attorneys in counties like Alameda, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Sonoma, and Yolo are reducing or dismissing Prop. 64-eligible convictions without requiring individuals to initiate the process. However, this is only a handful of California’s 58 counties.”
“Specifically, AB 1793 provides relief by requiring the state Department of Justice to search their criminal record database to identify all Californians potentially eligible for reduction or expungement and to then provide this information to the District Attorney’s Office by July 1, 2019. After the District Attorney has an opportunity to review, the court can then modify the record if there is no challenge by the District Attorney.”
“Long after paying their debt to society, people shouldn’t continue to face the collateral consequences, like being denied a job or housing, because they have an outdated conviction on their record.”
“I’m proud to see AB 1793 pass the Senate with bi-partisan support and I’m hopeful the Governor will sign this important bill.”
Assemblymember Rob Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro and is the Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legislative Caucus.