California eases crime penalties, boosts scrutiny of police

California is continuing a years-long easing of criminal penalties even as it increases public scrutiny of law enforcement.

In his final action on legislation before leaving office in January, Gov. Brown over the weekend stuck with his long-term goal of reducing mass incarceration, rehabilitating juvenile offenders, trimming lengthy prison sentences and offering second chances to the criminally convicted.

One new law will automatically erase or reduce marijuana-related convictions now that the drug is legal recreationally.

Brown signed a bill redefining the state's felony murder rule that held accomplices to the same standard as if they had personally killed someone. Prosecutors warned that hundreds of people can seek resentencing, sometimes forcing near re-trials of cases that may be decades old or the product of plea bargains.

Brown also barred 14- and 15-year-olds from being tried as adults.

 

 

Dawn Kamber