Unraveling the Promises of AB 1310: Ensuring a Fairer Justice System in California

California has been recognized for its distinctive stance on criminal law, particularly its use of sentencing enhancements which gained traction in the 1990s. While the intent was clear, its application has, over time, raised pressing concerns about over-incarceration and its disproportionate impact on communities of color.

California’s Contentious Firearm Enhancements

Central to this conversation are the firearm enhancements articulated in California Penal Code § 12022.5(a) and § 12022.53(b). Alarming data reveals a troubling racial disparity: a staggering 89% of the 37,237 inmates subjected to firearm enhancement penalties belong to minority groups.

However, there’s a glimmer of hope. Driven by a renewed understanding of incarceration’s repercussions — that every additional year in prison boosts the risk of recidivism by 4 to 7 percent — California legislators are pushing for a paradigm shift.

Enter AB 1310: The Dawn of Criminal Justice Reform

The much-discussed Assembly Bill 1310 is one such beacon of change. But what can inmates and their families really expect from this legislation

Decoding the Impact of AB 1310 on Sentencing

AB 1310 doesn’t merely suggest changes; it targets the heart of the two most frequently cited firearm enhancements. Let’s demystify their implications:

  • Section 12022.5(a): Should a defendant use a firearm while committing or attempting a felony, their sentence may be extended by 3, 4, or 10 years.
  • Section 12022.53(b): A consecutive 10-year incarceration term can be levied on defendants who utilize firearms during specific serious felonies.

Though recent reforms, like SB 620, granted judges the discretion to override these enhancements when deemed just, its non-retroactive nature left many inmates in the cold. Here’s where AB 1310 promises to bridge the gap. It doesn’t only suggest making SB 620 retroactive, but also guarantees a resentencing hearing for those currently under such sentences.

Are You Eligible for Relief Through AB 1310?

While AB 1310 awaits official approval as of July 2023, its potential reach is considerable. If you or a loved one is serving time with penalties under § 12022.5 or § 12022.53, hope might be on the horizon. Recognizing the vast number of potentially affected inmates, legislators are advocating for a prioritized referral system.

Key Timelines to Remember

AB 1310 entrusts the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) with the task of sorting inmates for resentencing:

  1. For those who’ve completed their primary sentence and all enhancements: Identified inmates should be forwarded to their sentencing court by March 1, 2024, with resentencing hearings scheduled before October 1, 2024.
  2. Inmates still serving base sentences and enhancements: CDCR needs to list them by July 1, 2024, with resentencing hearings due by December 1, 2025.

However, it’s crucial to note that these dates might evolve, given AB 1310’s pending status in the California Senate.

Seeking Legal Counsel: A Choice, Not a Requirement

While the proposed legislation empowers the court to assign you an attorney, you always have the prerogative to enlist your preferred legal representative.

Stay Informed with Trusted Legal Guidance

The intricacies of AB 1310 and its far-reaching consequences can be overwhelming. The devoted legal team at My Rights Law stands ready, keeping a vigilant eye on all progress related to this transformative bill. For those eager to understand AB 1310’s potential ramifications on their circumstances or those of dear ones, the experts at My Rights Law are merely a call away at 888-702-8882.

In the ever-evolving landscape of criminal justice reform, AB 1310 signifies not just a change in law, but a shift towards a more empathetic and equitable justice system. By understanding and navigating these changes, we can collectively champion a brighter, fairer future for all Californians.