Assembly Bill 1369 vetoed by Governor
On September 29, 2010, Arnold Schwarzenegger officially vetoed Assembly Bill 1369. The bill proposed allowing the use of voluntary or involuntary electronic monitoring programs for inmates being held in lieu of bail for both felonies and misdemeanors. Under existing law, if a misdemeanor flees from a voluntary alternative custody program, he or she is subject to felony prosecution. Under AB 1369, if a person is charged with a felony and escapes or removes their electronic monitoring device while participating in an alternative custody program, he or she can only be prosecuted for a misdemeanor.
Those favoring the bill said it would give counties facing jail-overcrowding problems the flexibility to place inmates on electronic monitoring upon their release. Based on the lack of space in the county jail system, a Federal Court has placed a mandatory cap on the number of inmates in the system. To adhere to the cap, the Sheriff’s Department has reduced the percentage of time served by inmates committed to county jail. So, supporters of AB 1369 argued that electronic monitoring would allow for further monitoring of those released earlier than they typically would be based on their offense.
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research argues that “As written, AB 1369 would allow counties that are forced to release inmates from their jails before those inmates’ sentences are completed, because of a lack of jail space, to require felony inmates to participate in an involuntary home detention program, in lieu of confinement. Jail overcrowding is a substantial, statewide concern. However, the only sanction available under existing law for a person subject to involuntary home confinement who escapes or attempts to escape is to have the person taken into custody to serve the balance of his or her sentence. Currently, a person subject to voluntary home detention is guilty of an alternate felony/misdemeanor if he or she escapes or attempts to escape from the place of confinement.”
The Governor vetoed the bill because he agreed with the opposition that a person should not be subject to misdemeanor penalties for evading felony prosecution.