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Law Office of Ronald G. Brower Blog

 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

AB 2138: CA Licensing Boards Denial of Application

AB-2138
In recent months it's been challenging to find a news topic to lift one's spirits. With nearly 2.5 million Americans testing positive for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) and the CDC reports the loss of 121,117 people as of June 24, 2020, it's clear that life will continue being a struggle.

At the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower, we would like to express our sincerest condolences to everyone affected by the deadly coronavirus. It's likely that COVID-19 has impacted some of our former clients, or they know someone who has been touched by the virus.

Earlier this month The New York Times reported that around 30 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits. Firings, lay-offs, and furloughs can all be attributed to the pandemic. While the federal government has provided some assistance to aid those facing financial woes, many still find it challenging to manage.

One demographic that has not received much attention of late are those individuals with criminal records. It's a fact that historically – pandemic or not – men and women with criminal records are prohibited from acquiring professional licenses, which means that finding employment is extremely difficult. Even for members of society who were found guilty of committing non-violent offenses.

Fortunately, on July 1, 2020, some 8 million Californians with criminal records will be able to obtain professional licenses from any of 37 licensing agencies within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), PR Newswire reports. The passing of Assembly Bill 2138 (AB-2138) could help millions of people find employment at a time when an unprecedented number of Americans are out of work.

AB-2138


A criminal conviction can irrevocably change the course of one's life. Such occurrences can bar people from voting, housing, and finding employment. Many jobs require individuals to be licensed. Such lines of work include the field of medicine, construction, and engineering. Even auto mechanics and hair stylists need to acquire a license.

Long has a criminal record preventing men and women with criminal pasts to acquire the proper licensing to secure employment in a myriad of fields. AB-2138 seeks to remove significant hurdles for millions of Californians.

"Assembly Bill 2138 was passed to reduce barriers to obtaining occupational licenses, reduce recidivism to support criminal justice reform and to provide more economic opportunity for the almost 1 in 3 adults in California with a criminal record," says the founder of a California criminal defense and professional license law firm. 

The legislation:
  • Restricts the discretion of DCA boards in using prior criminal history as grounds for denying a license.
  • Most criminal convictions older than seven years may not be the basis for licensure denial.
  • A criminal conviction must be "substantially related" to the qualifications or duties required by the license or profession in order to be a basis to deny, revoke, or suspend a license.
  • Licensing boards may no longer deny licensure due to a conviction if it was expunged, dismissed, pardoned or if the applicant made a showing of rehabilitation for a felony conviction.
  • Licensing boards may no longer require that applicants self-disclose prior convictions unless the license type does not require fingerprint background checks.
  • Licensing boards must now track and publicly report licensure denial and appeal data.

 

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney


If you or a loved one are dealing with criminal charges during these difficult times, we invite you to contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower at your earliest convenience. Attorney Brower has the expertise to help clients achieve the best possible outcome in unfortunate situations.

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Friday, June 19, 2020

Addressing Racial Bias in California Courts

Racial Bias in California Courts
Jury selection and the method in which the courts review alleged police abuse are rife with racial bias, recent reports claim. Addressing racial bias in California courts is the focus of new legislation and the formation of a new commission structured to investigate and address racial bias in law enforcement and the judicial system.

Jury Selection


A report from Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinics has reviewed racial discrimination as “a consistent aspect of jury selection in California.” The investigation covers the history, legacy, and ongoing practice of jury selection processes in the state that exclude people of color, especially African Americans, through what are known as peremptory challenges on the part of the prosecutor. Peremptory challenges are used by attorneys to excuse potential jurors during jury selection without having to provide a reason.

The study involved an evaluation of 683 California Courts of Appeal cases that involved objections to the peremptory challenges from 2006 to 2018. They found that “prosecutors used their strikes to remove African-American jurors in nearly 75 percent of these cases, Latinx jurors in about 28 percent, and white jurors in only three cases (0.4 percent).”

The author of the report, along with five of her students, was Death Penalty Clinic Director Professor Elisabeth Semel. She was driven to launch the study by the Washington Supreme Court’s adoption of General Rule 37 in 2018 that “upends a 40-year-old procedure that has altogether failed to reduce, much less eliminate, the disproportionate exclusion of African-American and Latinx prospective jurors.”

Semel adds, "I was encouraged by the court's leadership to believe that a careful and thorough investigation of the issue in California could produce meaningful reform." Assembly Bill 3070, which the State Assembly approved by a 50-11 vote on June 11, is modeled on the Washington rule. One of Semel’s students, Dagen Downard, commented that "AB 3070 is one necessary step in eliminating racial discrimination in one part of the machine."

California Attorneys for Criminal Justice


The pre-eminent statewide association of criminal defense attorneys in California, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), announced a package of legislative proposals designed for addressing racial bias in California courts and in law enforcement. CACJ, founded more than 45 years ago, has as its goal to increase oversight of law enforcement practices and to establish stronger accountability when there are allegations of police abuse.

CACJ’s proposed California Law Enforcement Accountability and Community Justice Act of 2020 is designed for addressing racial bias in California courts, specifically many of the racially biased flaws in the state’s criminal justice system that result in the overincarceration of people of color.

California Justice Commission


The signature proposal in CACJ’s package is the creation of an independent California Justice Commission that will be empowered to make criminal charging decisions in response to allegations of police abuse. The Justice Commission will have the authority to investigate, bring charges, and prosecute cases involving police abuse in any jurisdiction in California.

California Law Enforcement Accountability and Community Justice Act


The Act includes the following:

1. Establish the California Justice Commission. This independent entity has the authority to investigate, bring charges, and prosecute cases involving police abuse in any jurisdiction in California. The Commission is led by a board comprised of diverse individuals who will oversee charging decisions. Local entities will also have the option to create their own independent office that conforms with specified requirements.

2. Expand Civilian Review Board authority. All civilian review boards in California will have the authority to conduct investigations, subpoena witnesses and information, and bring administrative actions against individual law enforcement officers.

3. Create the Law Enforcement Responsibility Act. New criminal statute for police who fail to intervene when another officer is committing a serious or violent felony in their presence. The punishment would be similar to "aiding and abetting." In addition, strengthen California Civil Rights statutes to permit victims of police abuse to sue individual police officers and departments, even if the individual was charged with a crime. Police officers often assert charges such as "resisting arrest" to negate the ability to sue.

4. Body Camera Expansion. Increase use of body cameras in California and strengthen transparency and public access to the recordings.

5. Bias in Jury Selection. Strengthen current law prohibiting prosecutors from unjustly eliminating people of color from juries. This language is in the Assembly Bill 3070.

6. Restore Voting Rights. Restore voting rights to individuals serving parole.

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney


Attorney Ronald G. Brower has a long history of achieving successful outcomes for his clients. Please contact our office today to learn more about how he can advocate for a you or a loved one in court.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

State Attorney General Submits California Consumer Privacy Act

California Consumer Privacy Act
Privacy is always a concern among consumers. When a business takes your information to process a transaction, you may naturally wonder what happens to that information. Many regulations have been enacted that protect consumers when businesses attempt to use their personal information for purposes they did not intend or authorize. In California, the State Attorney General has submitted the California Consumer Privacy Act, which will be enforceable as of July 2020.

Final Proposed Regulations Package


On June 1, 2020, the Office of the California Attorney General submitted the final proposed regulations package under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL). OAL has 30 working days, plus an additional 60 calendar days under Executive Order N-40-20 related to the COVID-19 pandemic, to review the package for procedural compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act. Once approved by the OAL, the final regulation text will be filed with the Secretary of State and become enforceable by law.

CCPA was signed into law on June 28, 2018, and went into effect on January 1, 2020. CCPA grants California consumers robust data privacy rights and control over their personal information, including the right to know, the right to delete, and the right to opt out of the sale of personal information that businesses collect, as well as additional protections for minors.

Data Privacy More Important Now


Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, when submitting the package: 
“As our lives increasingly move online, our data privacy becomes more important than ever. The California Consumer Privacy Act, which gives consumers choice and control over personal information in the marketplace, is game-changing and historic. Our regulations provide businesses and individuals with guidance on how to protect that choice and boost transparency, while continuing to unleash innovation. Businesses have had since January 1 to comply with the law, and we are committed to enforcing it starting July 1.”

The CCPA has been amended several times, on September 23, 2018 by SB 1121 and on October 11, 2019 by AB 25, AB 874, AB 1146, AB 1355, and AB 1564, since being signed into law. The regulations establish procedures for compliance and exercise of rights, as well as clarifying important transparency and accountability mechanisms for businesses subject to the law.

Regulations for Businesses Collecting Information


Notices within the CCPA for businesses that collect personal information from consumers include:

When a business collects personal information from a consumer’s mobile device for a purpose that the consumer would not reasonably expect, it shall provide a just-in-time notice containing a summary of the categories of personal information being collected and a link to the full notice at collection. For example, if the business offers a flashlight application and the application collects geolocation information, the business shall provide a just-in-time notice, such as through a pop-up window when the consumer opens the application, which contains the information required by this subsection.

A business shall not use a consumer’s personal information for a purpose materially different than those disclosed in the notice at collection. If the business seeks to use a consumer’s previously collected personal information for a purpose materially different than what was previously disclosed to the consumer in the notice at collection, the business shall directly notify the consumer of this new use and obtain explicit consent from the consumer to use it for this new purpose.

A business shall not collect categories of personal information other than those disclosed in the notice at collection. If the business intends to collect additional categories of personal information, the business shall provide a new notice at collection.

If a business does not give the notice at collection to the consumer at or before the point of collection of their personal information, the business shall not collect personal information from the consumer.

The business must provide notice about collecting information to the consumer. When a business collects consumers’ personal information online, it may post a conspicuous link to the notice on the introductory page of the business’s website and on all webpages where personal information is collected.

When a business collects personal information through a mobile application, it may provide a link to the notice on the mobile application’s download page and within the application, such as through the application’s settings menu.

When a business collects consumers’ personal information offline, it may include the notice on printed forms that collect personal information, provide the consumer with a paper version of the notice, or post prominent signage directing consumers to where the notice can be found online.

When a business collects personal information over the telephone or in person, it may provide the notice orally.

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney

At the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower, we specialize in many areas of the law, from aggravated-assault to white-collar crimes. If you are facing criminal charges, then please reach out to Attorney Brower for a consultation. With more than three decades of experience, he has the expertise to advocate for you effectively.

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Friday, June 5, 2020

Curfews and Protests Continue in California



Responding to the death of a black man, George Floyd, who died after being pinned down by police officers, protests have been going on for over a week in many parts of the country. The police officers, at least one of which is accused of having pressed his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, have been fired and charged with crimes in his death. However, the curfews and protests continue in California and across the country.

Protests Throughout the State


In several cities throughout California, protesters were focused not only on Floyd but also on others who were killed or mistreated by police. Protesters in Oakland marched from a plaza named for Oscar Grant, a 22-year old black man who was fatally shot in the back as he was lying on the ground, handcuffed by a transit police officer in 2009. In Sacramento, protesters were led by Stevante Clark, brother of Stephon Clark who, unarmed, was killed by police in his grandparents’ backyard when police officers mistakenly thought his cellphone was a gun.

In Los Angeles, protesters marched in memory of Kenneth Ross Jr, a black man with mental illness who was shot and killed by police officers in 2018. Protests continue in other California cities, including San Francisco, San Jose, Bakersfield, San Diego, Fresno, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Eureka, Visalia, and Stockton.

Curfews Continue


While some curfews have been eased or even lifted, others continue and have even become more restrictive. Curfews have been established because of the violence and looting that have been associated with some of the protests throughout the state and across the country.

A curfew typically means that no one is allowed on the streets, sidewalks, or out in any public space between certain hours. The only exceptions are for those who have to go to work or who have other valid reasons for being out when the curfew is in effect.

Hemet and Riverside counties have ended their curfews entirely. Stricter curfews have been implemented in parts of Beverly Hills, including a 1pm cutoff that is still in place.

You can be arrested for violating the curfew. In fact, the Los Angeles police and sheriff’s department arrested more than 2,100 people over the weekend. The number of arrests per protest has decreased significantly, with dozens arrested by the police and about a hundred people arrested by the sheriff’s department Tuesday night.

Additional Area Curfews


Curfews and protests continue in California, of course, and many areas are continuing to enforce their curfews. Santa Clarita has issued a curfew between 6pm Thursday to 6am Friday. The Santa Clarita City Council adopted a resolution Wednesday declaring a local emergency given the civil unrest in the area.

In Beverly Hills, the curfew that is in effect for most of the afternoon will be extended after looting and vandalism hit the city over the weekend. The citywide curfew will remain in effect through 6am Friday. The city’s police force plans to actively patrol the area as no one is allowed to be on the streets, sidewalks, parks, or any other public space while the curfew is in effect.

Shift to Peaceful Protests


Much of the looting and vandalism, however, has given way to peaceful protests. So much so, in fact, that Los Angeles County has decided not to issue a countywide curfew for Thursday night. Cities within the county still have the authority to set their own restrictions. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva explained in a written statement that “based upon current situational awareness and the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will no longer enforce a curfew.”

Villanueva also attributed any ongoing violence and looting to a small group of people. He thanked protestors for not allowing these incidents to overshadow their message – that of protesting the death of George Floyd and a growing unrest with racial issues in this country – throughout the week.

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney


As curfews and protests continue in California, we urge you to stay safe and healthy. Curfews are set in place for everyone’s protection. Please reach out to the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower if you are facing criminal charges. Attorney Brower has the expertise to help you achieve a successful outcome with your case.

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