Matt Rogers, Tehama County district attorney, said he would like to advise the public regarding some changes to state law that specifically affect the criminal justice system.
“The following changes to state law were passed by the State Legislature, without input from local district attorney's offices, local government or local courts.
“In 2021 the public will undoubtedly not substantial changes in sentences imposed on offenders based on these changes to state law, and the goal of this information is to preemptively explain the reasons for the changes.
“Assembly Bill 1950 was passed by the State Legislature, signed into law by Gov. Newsom on Sept. 30, 2020, and became effective Jan. 1, 2021. AB 1950 dramatically reduces the time that a defendant may be placed on probation for both felony and misdemeanor convictions. AB 1950 limits the term of probation for most felonies to two years and one year for most misdemeanors; before AB 1950 most felony offenders were placed on probation for three to five years and misdemeanor offenders for three years. Exceptions to the shortened probationary terms exist for violent felonies or specifically enumerated crimes, or crimes that have a specified probationary term, but most crimes now correspond to shortened probationary terms upon conviction.
“Senate Bill 384 was passed by the State Legislature in 2017, signed into law by the governor on Oct. 6, 2017 and became effective Jan. 1, 2021. SB 384 drastically changes the current sex offender registration requirements imposed by state law. SB 384 creates a three-tiered system of sex offenders registration; the three tiers of registration being for 10 years, 20 years or lifetime registration. The tier, and therefore the registration requirement, is set by state statute depending on the offense. SB 384 also created a mechanism for registered sex offenders to petition the local courts to have their registration requirement terminated, depending on their tier and length of time they have previously registered.
“Senate Bill 145 was passed by the State Legislature in 2020 and signed into law by Gov. Newson on Sept. 11, 2020. To quote the California District Attorneys Association, SB 145 'eliminates several crimes from the list of offenses that require registration as a sex offender, if at the time of the offense the defendant was not more than 10 year older than the minor and if the conviction is the only one requiring the defendant to register.' A court may still require an offender to register if certain conditions are met.
“This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of changes to state law in 2021, as there are many, but this list is intended to explain those changes that will have a substantial effect on the administration of criminal justice both in Tehama County and statewide.”