California State Assembly Passes Misdemeanor Sentencing Bill

Hours before the legislative summer recess kicks off, a CACJ co-sponsored bill passes a significant legislative hurdle

July 3, 2014

SACRAMENTO – This morning, SB 1310 passed the Assembly floor with a vote of 65-0. SB 1310 changes the maximum misdemeanor sentence from 365 days to 364 days. Currently, federal immigration law may impose automatic deportation of lawful residents—those with various forms of legal immigration status such as legal permanent residents —upon conviction of specified “aggravated felonies”.  In this context, the federal government defines a felony as any offense with a potential sentence of “one year or more” and Judicial discretion is eliminated.

Consequently, some of California’s misdemeanors are being considered felonies under federal law and lawful residents with years or decades of living in the United States are facing deportation. SB 1310 would fix this conflict between state and federal law.  If adopted, California will become the third state in recent years to switch to a 364 day maximum misdemeanor sentence.  SB 1310 now moves to the Governor’s office for consideration. Governor Brown has 12 days to sign or veto this legislation from the date the bill reaches his desk.

This bill is co-sponsored by the California Attorney’s for Criminal Justice, Californians for Safety and Justice, Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, Coalitions for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.