Friday, August 19, 2016 – 08:45 a.m.
The California legislature is set to forward legislation targeting prosecutor misconduct to Governor Jerry Brown.
Assembly Bill 1909, by Assembly Member Patty Lopez (D-San Fernando), partially propelled by high-profile allegations swirling around the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, would bring criminal penalties to prosecutors.
The legislation has received bipartisan support and no recorded opposition.
In essence the legislation, if signed by Brown, would impose potential felonies on prosecutors who withhold, conceal or falsify evidence.
Here’s key language the legislation would add to current law:
(c) A prosecuting attorney who intentionally and in bad faith alters, modifies, or withholds any physical matter, digital image, video recording, or relevant exculpatory material or information, knowing that it is relevant and material to the outcome of the case, with the specific intent that the physical matter, digital image, video recording, or relevant exculpatory material or information will be concealed or destroyed, or fraudulently represented as the original evidence upon a trial, proceeding, or inquiry, is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years.
The bill is currently on the Senate Floor, where it is scheduled for third reading and passage.
Here’s are links to recent coverage of the legislation:
The Orange County Register: Prosecutors who falsify or withhold evidence could become felons under proposed state legislation
Reason Magazine: California Bill Would Make It a Felony for Prosecutors to Withhold Evidence
Other related material: