Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1987. The bill sponsored by the California Innocence Project, the Northern California Innocence Project, and the Loyola Project for the Innocent improves retention of client files and expands the post-conviction right to discovery materials in cases where a defendant was convicted of a serious or violent felony and sentenced to 15 years or more. This expansion will allow for a more efficient system of post-conviction review and find innocent cases more quickly.
“California has no interest in incarcerating innocent people,” says Justin Brooks, Director of the California Innocence Project. “This law is critical because we cannot prove innocence without evidence.”
Over the past 20 years, the California Innocence Project has struggled to get access to police reports, autopsy reports, and documents necessary to investigate an innocence claim. This new bill alleviates that concern and should result in more innocent people walking free.
“This law will make it far easier for individuals who are wrongfully convicted to be able to prove their innocence and win their freedom,” said Alex Simpson, Associate Director of the California Innocence Project. “Each innocent person who walks out of prison means California saves millions of dollars in taxpayer money by not incarcerating innocent people.”
The mission of the California Innocence Coalition is to protect the rights of the innocent and to promote a fair and effective criminal justice system by advocating for change in California laws and policy. Collectively, the California Innocence Coalition has won the freedom of over 50 wrongly imprisoned individuals who collectively spent over 517 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.