California's Racial Justice Acts
California's Racial Justice Act and Racial Justice Act For All are a pair of state laws passed in the early 2020s to offer relief from racial bias in the courts.
After four long years of legislative ups and downs, AFSC and fellow cosponsors for the Racial Justice Act won our goal: to challenge racism in the courts.
California Healing Justice Program worked in coalition through four long years of legislative ups and downs to win two new state laws, allowing individuals to challenge racial bias in criminal charges, convictions, and sentences.
In 2020, we passed the Racial Justice Act to address racial discrimination in the courts. This law allowed individuals to challenge racial bias in criminal charges, convictions, and sentences. Unfortunately a late-introduced amendment meant the new law would only protect those whose sentences and convictions were in the future. What about all those who were given longer sentences, or given convictions, because of past discrimination in the courtroom?
Our coalition continued its work, and in 2022 we passed the Racial Justice Act For All. Now anyone who experiences racial bias in the courts, whether in the past or the future, may petition for relief.
We are proud to once again be co-sponsoring a new 2023 state legislative bill, AB 1118, "The Racial Justice Act 3.0", which will provide implementation details to ensure the appeal process provided by the previous two Racial Justice laws can run smoothly.
Our legislative work ensures Black & Brown people in California have a path to challenge racist convictions and sentences, whether those occur in the future or in the past. Our next task is to ensure that path exists regardless of financial means, because limited financial means should not be a barrier to racial justice.
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