Racial Justice Act for ALL #ConfrontRacism - Pass Bill AB256

Racial Justice Act for ALL #ConfrontRacism - Pass Bill AB256

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CSUF MSW Advocates started this petition to Senator Jose Newman and

The Assembly Bill 256 was introduced in 2020 by Asm Ash Kalra and passed as the California Racial Justice Act. The Racial Justice Act (RJA) was enacted in 2020 where it forbids the state from seeking or obtaining criminal conviction, or from imposing a sentence, based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. The proposed amendment is a retroactive bill that will extend these protections to those who have already been obstructed by prejudiced convictions and sentences. Allowing the bill to be in effect in the past or at a previous time will give these individuals an equal opportunity to pursue justice.

The bill will allow a defendant to file a motion at trial or following conviction challenging racial discrimination in their case based on one of five criteria. If the defendant proves the discrimination occurred, then the case will be reviewed again as a new trial or the judge can adjust the charges or sentence with integrity and morality. As of January 14, 2021, the goal in passing AB 256 is to make the Racial Justice Act applicable to individuals who have already been convicted in cases where prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism have been factors.

For instance, the bill will specifically address:

  • Intentional bias directed at the defendant by an attorney, judge, juror, law enforcement officer or expert witness.
  • Racially coded language used in court, for example, prosecutors comparing the defendant to an animal in closing argument.
  • Racial disparities in charges and convictions.
  • Racial disparities in sentences

Statistics:

  • Blacks are 5.1 times higher to be incarcerated and make 75% of the prison population in five states: Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
  • Latinos are 1.4 times more likely to be incarcerated than people who are White and make 61% of the incarcerated population in New Mexico.
  • In Arizona and California, Latinos make up 42% of the incarcerated population. 
  • In California, 1 out of 22 of the incarcerated population are black men while 41% are Hispanic. 
  • Minorities are less likely to afford pre-trial resources and are detained much longer than their white counterparts. This unfair treatment leads into the inmates trial due to prosecutors personal/racist beliefs on minorities.

In the United States, we do not have a justice system - we have a legal system. The case of the Central Park Five serves as a powerful reminder of this fact. The tragic story of five teenagers, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise - who became known as the Central Park Five after being forced to confess to rape they did not commit. Showing a historical pattern of unjust arrests and wrongful convictions of black and Latino young men in the United States. Which is why this bill is important as it will continue to progress towards necessary systemic reforms.

For more information and/or to find out other ways to take action:

https://www.initiatejustice.org/project/ab256/

https://aclucaaction.org/ab-256-racial-justice-for-all/

https://cavotes.org/racial-justice-act-community-implementation

References:

A State Assembly Democratic Caucus. (2021, January 15). Assemblymember Kalra Announces New California Racial Justice Act for All. CA State Assembly Democratic Caucus.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB256

https://asmdc.org/press-releases/assemblymember-kalra-announces-new-california-racial-justice-act-all

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!