California Democrats push judges to make race a factor in sentencing criminals

The goal of the bill is to "rectify racial bias'"

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
California Democrats have proposed a bill that would require judges to consider a convicted criminal's race when determining prison sentences.

Under the guidance of the California Reparations Task Force, Democrat state lawmakers introduced Assembly Bill 852 which "would require courts, whenever they have discretion to determine a sentence, to consider the disparate impact on historically disenfranchised and system-impacted populations" with the intent of "rectifying racial bias."

The bill, introduced by Reggie Jones-Sawyer, the Democratic chair of the California Assembly's Public Safety Committee, states, "Under existing law, a conviction or sentence is unlawfully imposed on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin if the defendant proves, among other things, that the defendant was charged or convicted of a more serious offense than defendants of other races, ethnicities, or national origins, or received a longer or more severe sentence, and the evidence establishes that the prosecution more frequently sought or obtained convictions for more serious offenses against people who share the defendant’s race, ethnicity, or national origin, as specified, or if a longer or more severe sentence was more frequently imposed on defendants of a particular race, ethnicity, or national origin, as specified."

Bill 852 passed in the House during a legislative session in May and is now under review by the state Senate.

California's reparations task force has made significant recommendations to state lawmakers during this year's legislative session, which includes $1.2 million in reparations payouts to every qualifying black resident in the state.

Earlier this month, the reparations task force asked state lawmakers to enact legislation that would eliminate all interest accrued on unpaid child support payments, stating that the laws are "discriminatory" against black residents because of the "disproportionate amount of African Americans who are burdened with child support debt." They are recommending the state forgive all debt associated with unpaid child support for the state's black residents.

Furthermore, the group is also demanding to have veto power over the state's real estate decisions in order to give black people first priority in the renting and buying markets, according to their final report.

California's reparations task force was created by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020, with members appointed in 2021 to study the economic effects of slavery and discrimination.
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