(Ventura County, Ca) The Ventura County Deputy Sheriff’s Association sent an alarmed plea to its followers on Facebook Early Sunday morning,
“Dear Friends: VCDSA works hard against these laws that are ruining this state. We live and work here. We are no longer asking or encouraging you to get involved, but now we are begging. Please do what you can to put pressure on your lawmakers and vote for people and policies that help make this state better, not tear it down. As someone who spent years arguing for justice in the courts, this is absurd and impractical but it must have made someone “feel good” to sneak it through.”
The post refers to Assembly Bill 1810, a budget “trailer bill” with no credited author that takes effect immediately.
Each year surprises appear in trailer bills as lawmakers write, vote, and pass the annual budget that keeps the state running. While most of the budget involves big-ticket items such as how much to spend on public education or health care for the poor, a few extra “trailers” are always thrown in that don’t involve much money but make significant policy changes.
This year, that includes a provision that appears to allow defendants charged with any crime to get the charges put on hold and perhaps eventually dismissed if they can persuade a judge that the offense resulted from a mental disorder that a mental health expert says is treatable.
This means that a defendant’s mental illness can be the cause for criminal charges being “put on hold” and ultimately never pursued.
Senate Bill 215 which is now before the Legislature, would have allowed this in defined, limited circumstances. But instead of vetoing AB 1810 and letting this debate proceed, Brown short-circuited it.
If you would like to fight this new law, call Governor Jerry Brown, your local state senator, and your local state assemblyman.
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