New 2020 Criminal Justice Laws in California
Starting this year, six new statutes were added into California law. These laws took effect on January 1, and in most cases, they do not apply to crimes committed in 2019 or earlier with the only exception being the new civil statute of limitations law for childhood sexual abuse allegations.
- Civil Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual assault Allegations.
This law extends the period someone can wait before filing a lawsuit for alleged sexual abuse by 14 years. This law was put in place with Assembly Bill 218 and follows recent laws in other states such as New York and New Jersey. The new amendment gives victims of childhood sexual assault more time to file lawsuits for monetary damages. Under this new law, some victims of childhood sexual abuse will be able to file lawsuits up to age forty.
- Assembly Bill 392
This law restricts law enforcement officers from using deadly force unless it’s necessary in defense of human life. This new law was put into place in response to high-profile officer-involved shootings and is a higher standard than previous regulations which allowed officers to use deadly force when it was reasonable. This new law encourages the use of de-escalation techniques during police interactions and could lead to more prosecutions and civil suits against officers who do use their guns in the line of duty.
- Assembly Bill 45
This amendment erased co-pays that inmates were previously charged for medical care. It also prevents those jails and prisons from charging an incarcerated person fees for medically necessary equipment or supplies. This will allow all California inmates to get important medical care and equipment, even if they cannot afford co-pays or fees.
- Senate Bill 22
This law ends the California backlog for testing rape kits. This law requires that all DNA kits in California sexual assault cases must be submitted to a crime lab within 20 days and tested within 120 days. This new requirement comes in response to reports of rape evidence samples that sat untested for years and allegedly made some California sexual assault cases harder or even impossible to prosecute. While the new amendment will likely lead to more efficient and timely prosecution of sexual assault cases by California prosecutors, it could also lead to accused defendants being released from jail sooner in cases where the DNA rape kits are analyzed by a crime lab and come back negative.
- Assembly Bill 602
It gives Californians a civil cause of action in cases of so-called deep fake pornography. This allows California lawsuits for monetary damages in cases where fake sex tapes or fake images of a sexual nature that feature the plaintiff’s likeness have been shared or distributed.
- Assembly Bill 32
This bill created a new law that restricts California lawmakers themselves. It bans lawmakers and elected officials from agreeing to new contracts with private for-profit prisons and immigration detention facilities in the state of California.