Talking Points and Summary of Lobby Work needed on AB 1539


Author: Assembly Member Paul Krekorian
Bill Introduced: February 23, 2007
Passed by Public Safety Committee: April 17, 2007
Ayes: Solorio, De La Torre, Leno, Ma, Portantino
Noes: Aghazarian, Anderson
Went before the Appropriations Committee: May 9, 2007

Passed 10 to 5 with Republicans voting against it

AB 1539 amends existing Penal Code, Section 1170, as follows:

PC 1170 already allows medical release of a terminally ill prisoner (diagnosed with a disease that would produce death within 6 months). AB 1539 would additionally allow medical release of a permanently medically incapacitated prisoner, specifically, “The prisoner is medically incapacitated by a medical condition that renders him or her permanently unable to move without assistance, permanently unable to perform activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, ambulating, or maintaining personal hygiene without assistance, or permanently ventilator-dependent.” As is currently the case, a prisoner being considered for a medical release must also be “deemed not to threaten the public safety.”

AB 1539 also would improve the currently failing medical release process by: (1) allowing any prison doctor to bring up a prisoner’s condition or prognosis for possible medical release to the attention of the chief medical officer, who if he concurs notifies the warden; (2) requiring that within 48 hours, the warden notify the prisoner, as well as a prisoner’s family member, of the potential sentence recall and keep them both current throughout the process; (3) mandating that the Secretary issue guidelines and procedures for the new medical release procedures; and (4) if the court orders the sentence recall, the CDC has 48-hours, unless the prisoner agrees to more time, to release the prisoner along with his medical records, medications, and property.

Key Points of AB 1539 Author’s Statement:

· Prisons are not equipped -- nor financially responsible -- for the long-term health care of the terminally ill or the permanently medically incapacitated prisoners who are no longer any threat to the public safety.

· The current medical release process is ill-defined, cumbersome, and frustrating, leaving many prisoners who are eligible for medical release to suffer and die in a cruel and inhumane manner -- at the expense of the state.

Rebuttals to Arguments Against:

· If the criteria for medical release are met, there is absolutely no reason to fear for public safety -- no reason to be afraid to appear “soft on crime.”
Let the medical evaluators and the BPT experts do their job.

· The chances of a terminally ill or permanently incapacitated person deemed of no threat to public safety committing a “serious or violent felony” are virtually nil. One politically motivated governor should not have a say in these matters.

The only group opposing SB 1539 is the California District Attorneys Association.

More talking points can be found at this link
From the Catholic Conference website


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