California’s New Criminal Justice Laws

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed more than 1,000 new laws. Most will take effect in 2020. These are the major new laws affecting law enforcement and criminal justice.

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Starting on September 1, 2020, AB 12 expands who can petition a California Superior court to confiscate a person’s firearms if they believe that person may be violent to employers, coworkers and teachers. Existing law allowed police, immediate family members and roommates to request a restraining order.

Previously, the standard was that California police officers could use deadly force if a reasonable officer would have acted similarly in that situation. Starting in January 2020, law enforcement officers can use deadly force only when it’s “necessary in defense of human life.”

Sexual assault evidence collected through rape kits must be submitted to a crime lab within 20 days and tested within 120 days. (SB 22.)

Never heard of deepfake porn? A new law (AB 602) will require consent from a person before their likeness can be digitally reproduced in porn. Californians now have a civil cause of action against anyone who distributes a fabricated sex video or photo with their likeness.

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Starting on January 1, 2020, California officials can no longer sign or renew contracts to use private, for-profit prisons or immigrant detention centers. Starting in 2028 it will become illegal for the State of California to detain prisoners in private, for-profit prisons and immigrant detention centers. See AB 32.

California will bar surveillance by drones and other electronic equipment in places where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy. These areas include the interior of a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, fitting room, dressing room, or tanning booth, or the interior of any other area in which the occupant has a reasonable expectation of privacy. (See AB 1129.)

Domestic Violence. Previously victims of domestic violence were required to report the crime to law enforcement within one year, or else prosecution would be barred by the 1-year statute of limitations. A new law (SB 273) will extend the statute of limitations to report domestic violence to law enforcement from one year to five years.

What do you think? Does California get it right with any of these new laws?

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