Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law Assembly Bill 2013, by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., a measure that extends probable cause determination hearings to out-of-custody defendants charged with a misdemeanor.
Previously, a defendant charged with a misdemeanor could only challenge the probable cause of his/her arrest if that person is currently in custody. If an individual is arrested and released, they cannot challenge the probable cause of their arrest until trial, wasting scare court, public defender and district attorney resources on a meaningless trial.
AB 2013 creates a 3-year pilot program that would allow out-of-custody defendants to challenge the grounds for their arrest before trial. The pilot program will be implemented in three counties to be selected by the California Public Defenders Association, the California District Attorneys Association, and the Judicial Council.
“The hardship of trial and of being involved in the criminal justice system is a burden on any individual, but especially those against which the charges are baseless,” said Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer.
Last year, the Legislature approved Jones-Sawyer’s AB 696, which would have addressed this problem on a statewide basis. Governor Brown vetoed that bill, however, saying that the bill’s “impact on the courts is unclear and could well be significant” and that he “would welcome a small, carefully crafted pilot to assess the impact of this proposal.”
“This legislation will ensure that those who are needlessly involved in the justice system are able to challenge their arrest before scarce resources are used and before the impacts of involvement in the criminal justice system have an adverse impact on their lives, added Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer.”
AB 2013 was sponsored by the California Public Defenders Association and supported by the Conference of California Bar Associations.