Current Policy Reform Efforts

The California Innocence Coalition – the Northern California Innocence Project, the California Innocence Project, Loyola Project for the Innocent, and the Los Angeles Innocence Project – work on policy reform to help reduce the risks of a wrongful conviction, intervene when a wrongful conviction has occurred, and to assist our freed clients in transitioning home upon their release from prison.

SB 97 – Righting Wrongful Convictions

On January 18, 2023, Senator Scott Wiener introduced SB 97, Righting Wrongful Convictions. This bill amends California’s law relating to petitions for writ of habeas corpus (Penal Code section 1473). Over the last several years, California’s legislature has made great efforts to improve and strengthen these laws to ensure justice for the innocent and for victims and survivors of crime. However, technical requirements or narrow interpretations of these laws have resulted in delayed justice for many. With the increase in prosecutor attention to wrongful convictions and a desire by many offices to rectify these wrongs, SB 97 improves these laws to prevent delay and allow prosecuting agencies to have a more recognized responsibility in correcting these injustices.

SB 97 Fact Sheet

SB 78 – Criminal Procedure: Factual Innocence

On January 12, 2023, Senator Steve Glazer (principal co-author Senator Josh Becker) introduced SB 78, Criminal Procedure: Factual Innocence. This bill further extends SB 446 — passed in 2021 — to ensure that the two processes in seeking compensation for the wrongfully convicted (either through the Victim’s Compensation Board or the courts) are aligned and not unduly burdensome on the state litigators responding to these claims. In 2021, SB 446 (also authored by Senators Glazer and Becker) was a significant piece of legislation that was passed making a more fair and equitable compensation process by shifting the burden of proof from the wrongfully convicted person to the Attorney General in compensation proceedings that proceed in front of the Victim’s Compensation Board. However, SB 446 did not shift that burden to the District Attorney’s office, the party of interest for the state, if a wrongfully convicted person instead chose to pursue the existing process through the court. Instead of placing the burden of proof on the wrongfully convicted to prove to the court that they are factually innocent after they spent years proving to the court that they were wrongfully convicted and their convictions were reversed and dismissed, SB 78 recognizes these individuals are once again presumed innocent, and therefore the burden instead shifts to the District Attorney. The District Attorney’s office must then prove by clear and convincing evidence that the wrongfully convicted is not entitled to compensation.

SB 78 Fact Sheet
SB 78 Frequently Asked Questions

Bills Supported by CIC in 2022 Legislative Session

AB 256 Racial Justice Act for All

AB 256 Racial Justice Act for All ensures that AB 2542 Racial Justice Act (2020) is applied retroactively. The Racial Justice Act prohibits the use of race, ethnicity, or national origin in sentencing and convictions.
Fact Sheet
Advocacy Toolkit
CIC Letter of Support

AB 2632 CA Mandela Act

AB 2632 CA Mandela Act provides a clear definition of what constitutes solitary confinement across all facilities and sets limits on how it can be used for specific populations (vulnerable, pregnant, disabilities).
Fact Sheet
Advocacy Toolkit
CIC Letter of Support

AB 1608 The Angelo Quinto Act

AB 1608 will separate the duties of the Coroner’s Office from the duties of the Sheriff’s Office across all counties in California. This division will strengthen the medical examination process, thereby increasing accountability and transparency by providing independent, quality, cause of death investigations.

CIC Letter of Support

SB 993 Victim Services & Support for All

SB 993 would remove the proof-of-injury requirement for the Victims Compensation Board, expand financial resources available to the wrongfully convicted by allowing exonerees to recover attorney fees and costs related to overturning their wrongful conviction, and allow for compensation from time spent on parole or supervised.

CIC Letter of Support

SB 1468 Factual Innocence: Certification

SB 1468 provides that exonerees, upon being found factually innocent, be afforded a Certificate of Innocence.
The bill further requires ‘rap sheets’ to be annotated to reflect findings of factual innocence. Both measures will better ensure that one’s
exonerated status is duly recognized.

CIC Letter of Support