December 28, 2023 In Post Conviction

What Changed with SB 483?

Senate Bill 483 (SB 483), also known as The Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancements (RISE) Act, represents a significant change in California’s approach to sentencing in criminal cases. This bill, which came into effect on January 1, 2022, follows the earlier reforms initiated by SB 180 and SB 136 but goes a step further by applying these changes retroactively.

Background: The Reforms of SB 180 and SB 136

Before delving into SB 483, it’s crucial to understand the reforms introduced by SB 180 and SB 136:

  1. SB 180 (Effective from January 1, 2018): This bill repealed the previous law that mandated a 3-year sentence enhancement for each prior controlled substance conviction. However, an exception remained for convictions involving the use of a minor in the crime.
  2. SB 136 (Effective from January 1, 2020): This law limited the 1-year sentence enhancement for prior prison or felony jail terms, confining its application to those who had served prison terms for sexually violent offenses.

The Introduction of SB 483

Despite these reforms, a significant gap remained – they were not retroactive. SB 483, signed by Governor Newsom on October 8, 2021, addresses this gap. The law aims to correct past injustices in sentencing, particularly those with disproportionate impacts, and confronts systemic racial biases.

Key Provisions of SB 483

  • Automatic Review and Resentencing: Inmates do not need to petition for resentencing. Instead, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR) is tasked with identifying eligible individuals.
  • Deadlines for Identification and Resentencing: CDCR had until March 1, 2022, to identify individuals who have served their base sentences and are only serving time due to the repealed enhancements. All other eligible individuals were to be identified by July 1, 2022. Resentencing processes are scheduled for completion by October 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023, respectively.
  • Consideration of Post-Conviction Factors: Courts can consider various factors like age, physical condition, rehabilitation efforts, and any changed circumstances that might render continued incarceration unjust.
  • Limitations on New Sentences: Courts cannot impose a longer sentence than originally given. Unless there is compelling evidence of a threat to public safety, courts must impose a lesser sentence than the original.

Examples and Implications

Imagine a scenario where an individual was serving an enhanced sentence due to a prior drug conviction. Under SB 483, this person may now be eligible for resentencing and potentially early release, considering their rehabilitation efforts and other post-conviction conduct.

The Importance of Legal Representation

While SB 483 allows for the appointment of public counsel, having a specialized attorney can be pivotal. An experienced lawyer can effectively argue for reduced sentences by presenting mitigating factors and evidence supporting a client’s rehabilitation and positive post-conviction behavior.

 

 

***

Disclaimer: This informational content is not legal advice. For legal representation in matters related to SB 483 or other legal issues, please contact The Mines Law Firm.