Saturday, August 27, 2016 – 10:00 a.m.
A bill imposing criminal penalties on prosecutors who withhold or hide evidence in criminal cases cleared the California Senate this week and is already headed to Governor Jerry Brown for his consideration.
AB 1909, by Assembly Member Patty Lopez, received strong bipartisan support in both legislative chambers. The bill also had no serious opposition.
However. Before the new law to be effective in a state plagued by state prosecutor misconduct that has lead to ever increasing scrutiny of federal courts, there must first be some type of true oversight of prosecutors.
In essence, without the mechanism of a special prosecutor, the bill is essentially meaningless. Thus the lack of opposition to the bill.
The word window dressing comes to mind.
With case-after-case of reported misconduct by prosecutors at the state and county level, the bill, if signed by Brown, would likely do little, if anything, to curb and punish offenders.
The well-documented ineffective and impotent oversight of the State Bar only makes the situation worse.
Last Tuesday, InlandPolitics briefly spoke with Lopez’s legislative director about the glaring lack of the law’s enforce-ability.
That discussion will continue after the current legislative session ends on August 31.
But first Brown must actually sign the bill or let it go into effect without his signature.
In the end it’s kind of like clarifying that the Fox guarding the Hen house.