New California laws to expect in 2019


SB -10:

A new law may mean big financial changes for the California court system this year.

Starting in October 2019, California will be the first state to fully abolish cash bails for people arrested and put into jail with the new SB-10 law.

Instead of the traditional bail bond system, each person will be evaluated based on their individual risk to public safety.

A person's eligibility to be released from jail will now be categorized into "low risk," "medium risk" and "high risk" classifications.

This new process is meant to protect people from being incarcerated just because they cannot afford to post bail.

"I think there's been dissatisfaction in California for quite some time that the people that are arrested are not released based on their risk level. That they actually end up being released from jail on bail based on whether or not they have the money to post bail," said Shasta County Superior Court Executive Officer Melissa Fowler-Bradley.

However, before it goes into effect, the new law may face a whole new set of hurdles.

Fowler-Bradley said there has been a push to put it on the 2020 ballot for voters to decide on.

Until then, the District Attorney's office said they do not think the changes will have a huge impact on the current jail system in Shasta County but they will not be able to tell until it is actually implemented.


Another new law will require police officers to make all video and audio recorded on the job available to the public upon request.

This law is designed to increase transparency within law enforcement in the new year.

SB 1421 was signed into law in September of this year, but will likely have a big impact on 2019, especially when it comes to use of force by an officer.

According to Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, recordings and other documentation will legally need to be provided to those who fill out a public records act request for peace officer recordings, personnel files or internal affairs files when it pertains to use of force.

This new law would make not just the audio and video recordings done by the law enforcement officer available, but also other footage used in the investigation as well, including security camera video.

"The Shasta County Sheriff's Office doesn't typically utilize the body cams or dash cams on the vehicles. But, if there was another law enforcement agency involved or assisting us in that is using a dash cam or body cam it could include those types of recordings as part of the case," said Sheriff Bosenko.

This law specifically focuses on instances where force was used, including physical apprehension and gun fire where someone suffers death or great bodily injury.

However, it can also pertain to allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sheriff Bosenko added while the law lays out a 45-day window for them to respond with the audio and video recordings, there may also be additional delays and changes based on what the agency requests.


Finally, a new marijuana law goes into effect in 2019, only this time it is going to impact not just the future, but also the past.

Starting January 1, the Department of Justice will have 7 months to compile a list of all the past marijuana cases, to determine who will be eligible to have their previous marijuana charges reduced or removed from their records.

This law will give priority attention to those currently serving time for marijuana convictions.

AB-1793 is meant to accelerate the changes introduced by Proposition 64 two years ago and will offer millions of people across the nation a clean slate for the future.

However, all that may come at a cost to the Shasta County District Attorney's Office.

"We don't have any way to anticipate how many people are going to be on it because it goes back as far as time can go back as far as different marijuana offenses. So, we're looking at a substantial time, potentially of staff time to review all those cases, find the records and make the determination as to whether or not we're going to oppose any kind of reduction on those cases," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Ben Hanna.

If no decision is made on a case by the cut-off date in July 2020, Hanna said the remaining cases will be automatically forgiven.

He also said they expect to have the process completed by 2021.

Although California won't be the first to retroactively forgive cannabis convictions, it will be the first state to automate the system.

According to USA Today, the Judicial Council of California estimated at least 218,000 California residents will benefit from the new law.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off