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Urge Your Senator to Support AB 1310 – The Equal Chance Act

Posted by Sara Cooper | Aug 29, 2023 | 0 Comments

PC: Initiate Justice

Provided by Initiate Justice:

Assembly Bill 1310 was introduced by Assemblymember McKinnor.

This bill will allow an incarcerated person who was convicted of firearm enhancements (Penal Code sections 12022.5 or 12022.53) to be automatically referred to court for resentencing. The bill will require the court to have a presumption in favor of resentencing, which may only be overcome if a court finds the defendant is an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety. The bill will also require the court to appoint counsel for the hearing. A previous bill, SB 620 (Bradford) allowed judges to strike enhancements at sentencing, but it was not retroactive. This bill is trying to make it fully retroactive. Access the fact sheet, here.

Here are ways to support!

Email your senator, click here for more information:

If through other methods on your own, here is a script for supporting AB 1310:

I write in strong support of AB 1310. This bill makes SB 620 - a bill passed in 2017 - retroactive and grants judges the discretion to strike gun enhancements for people sentenced before SB 620 went into effect. 

Sentence enhancements add extra years to someone's sentence in addition to the statutory ranges for criminal offenses. There are more than 100 sentence enhancements across California's penal code. These enhancements are costly, ineffective, and a relic of the failed tough on crime era. Firearm enhancements are one of the most commonly used enhancements and can add years to a person's sentence. The latest available data shows that 37,237 people in CDCR custody had some form of gun enhancement as part of their sentence. Eighty-nine percent of these people were people of color. Many people receive these firearm enhancements without a firearm ever being physically recovered. If a firearm is recovered, it does not need to be loaded or even operable for the enhancement to be applied. Additional research has shown that people suffering from mental illness disproportionately receive these enhancements.

These enhancements do not serve our public safety goals. Research on extreme sentence lengths offers little to no support for the idea that the threat of longer sentences deters people from committing crimes.

This bill is not a get-out-of-jail free card. Judges retain full discretion and prosecutors will be able to argue that someone is an unreasonable risk to public safety and unfit to be resentenced. Public safety will not be jeopardized under AB 1310. This bill will save the state millions while striking the right balance between fairness and safety in our justice system.

I urge you to vote AYE on this important bill.

Copy and paste to post on X, Threads, and other chat-based platforms:

  • #AB1310 is NOT a get-out-of-jail free card. Judges retain full discretion on whether to adjust someone's enhancement. #PassAB1310 #EqualChanceAct
  • We must ensure all people, including those who are incarcerated, receive equal chances when laws change. #AB1310. #PassAB1310 #EqualChanceAct
  • Sentence enhancements only increase cost, racism, and the ineffectiveness of the criminal justice system. We can correct this by passing #AB1310 #PassAB1310 #EqualChanceAct
  • #AB1310 is NOT about gun control, it's about creating a safe offramp from mass incarceration. #PassAB1310 #EqualChanceAct
  • California is making progress by closing prisons, but needs to pass #AB1310 to turn the page on this era of mass incarceration. #PassAB1310 #EqualChanceAct
  • Gun enhancements are one of the most commonly used enhancements in California, but they have been ineffective. We must pass #AB1310 to change this. #PassAB1310 #EqualChanceAct
  • Gun violence is a public health crisis – and the tools the criminal legal system can offer like sentence enhancements will never solve the problem! #AB1310 #PassAB1310 #EqualChanceAct

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