Administration Of Justice Legislation of Interest
April 5, 2018
AB 2010 (Chau): This bill would prohibit an officer or employee of a juvenile facility, as defined, from possessing any chemical agent, as defined, in a juvenile facility. The bill would allow pepper spray to be used in a juvenile facility as a last resort when necessary to suppress a riot when authorized by a juvenile facility administrator or designee. The bill would require that all use of pepper spray be documented, as provided. The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) acted to provide juveniles in local detention facilities additional protections by enacting regulations that would limit the use of chemical agents in juvenile facilities in a manner that helps to maintain the safety and security of these facilities. Assembly Bill 2010 fails to take such a measured approach and employs a very restrictive standard that could put both juveniles and the facilities at risk. CSAC is opposed to AB 2010.
SB 931(Hertzberg): This bill would amend the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act to specify that custody status cannot be used as the sole reason to postpone the psychiatric conservatorship evaluation process. Under existing law and practice, individuals suffering from severe mental illness often find themselves confined in the county jail for substantial periods of time, and are not evaluated for conservatorship status and appropriate treatment options until the conclusion of their criminal case. Delaying conservatorship evaluations often has the effect of keeping these persons in custody longer than necessary. Senate Bill 931 seeks to address this issue by prohibiting a conservatorship investigator from failing to schedule an investigation based solely upon the custody status of the individual. CSAC supports SB 931.
SB 1303 (Pan): This bill would require that counties with a population greater than 500,000 separate the office of sheriff-coroner and establish a new medical examiner office. Currently, county boards of supervisors have the statutory power to do this. SB 1303 would have significant fiscal impacts on the larger counties by requiring them to create the new office and would put forensic pathologists in the role of administrator instead of performing exams. Ultimately, SB 1303 would remove a county’s local control to decide how to organize their sheriff-coroner operations and could result in unnecessary upheaval in counties. CSAC and UCC are opposed to SB 1303.