Earlier this month, Governor Brown signed HSG client, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), sponsored legislation into the law. AB 672, also known as “Obie’s Law,” was inspired from our work with Obie Anthony. Obie was wrongfully incarcerated for 17 years. After evidence proved he did not commit the crime, Obie was released from prison; unfortunately, Obie was released back into the real world without any services and expected to seamlessly transition back into his community. Obie, like many other exonerees faced with the same problems, struggled to cope emotionally, financially, and socially. Luckily for Obie, he had some family, friends, and other supporters helping him through this difficult period. During his time lobbying against prosecutorial misconduct in Sacramento, a casual conversation with Obie led to the creation of this legislation. Obie’s passion was to make sure that those that come after him, future exonerees, did not face the difficult challenges he and other exonerees faced.
AB 672 amends Penal Code section 3007.05 and adds section 14903 to Vehicle Code. The bill requires the State to provide anyone who is exonerated with reentry services, such as housing assistance, job training, and mental health services for no less than 6 months and up to one year. The bill also provides free identification cards and driver’s licenses to eligible exonerees. This law will take effect on January 1, 2016.