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Gov. Newsom signs off on series of criminal justice reforms

Posted at 7:50 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 22:50:29-04

(KGTV) — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a series of bills on Wednesday aimed at reforming the criminal justice system in California.

The series of bills signed by Newsom intends to increase oversight of the criminal justice system, amid nationwide calls for police reform. Newsom and advocates hailed the new laws as first steps in reforming policing in the state.

“I hope people recognize we’re moving in the right direction, and again I just recognize we have a lot more work to do in this space and we are not walking away from that responsibility,” Newsom said.

The bills signed will enact several reforms including:

  • AB-1196: A ban on arm-based grips, including chokeholds that apply pressure to a person's windpipe, and to carotid holds, which slow the flow of blood to the brain.
  • AB-1506: Requiring the state attorney general to investigate fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians.
  • AB-1185: Allowing county supervisors to create oversight board and inspectors general with subpoena powers over independently elected sheriffs.
  • AB-2542: Suspects could be entitled to new trials or sentences if they can demonstrate racial bias played a role in any part of their case.
  • AB-3070: Allowing judges to assess whether lawyers illegally exclude jurors based on their race.
  • SB-823: Will phase out California's remaining juvenile prisons. The state will instead create an Office of Youth and Community Restoration and send grants to counties to provide custody and supervision.

Several other measures that would have sought further reforms did not make it past the closing hours of the legislative session last month, including efforts to release police misconduct records, require officers to intervene if they see excessive force, limits officers' use of rubber bullets and tear gas, and end the careers of officers who commit serious misconduct.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.