Assemblymember Kevin McCarty’s legislation to prevent bias in the criminal justice system clears the Assembly Public Safety Committee

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Kevin McCarty’s Race Blind Charging bill has passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee with bi-partisan support. AB 2778, which has support from the California District Attorneys Association and criminal justice advocacy groups, requires the Attorney General’s Office to create Race Blind Charging guidelines to prevent bias within the California criminal justice system.

In recent years, the increasing availability of data regarding criminal justice has raised legitimate questions regarding racial disparities in how cases are investigated, charged, and prosecuted. In particular, studies suggest that unknowing or “unconscious” bias may affect many decisions within the criminal justice system, despite what may be the best intentions of those involved.

“We’ve seen it time and time again where black and brown Californians are given harsher sentences as compared to their white counterparts who have committed the same crime,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. “Creating a system where a person’s race is unknown during the time of initial charging creates equal treatment – focusing on punishing a person based on the crime and not the color of their skin.”

"Every person is entitled to equal justice before the law," said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. "That's why I'm proud to support Assembly Bill 2778. Building on existing efforts, this bill will help protect against unconscious bias in our justice system. Bottom line: Someone's race should never be a factor in charging decisions. I'm grateful to Assemblymember McCarty for his commitment to justice for all." 

Through guidance from the Attorney General’s Office, this new process would provide a system for prosecutors to analyze police reports with information about the suspect’s race removed from the initial stages of the charging process.

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Kevin McCarty represents California’s 7th Assembly District, which include the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento and unincorporated Sacramento County. McCarty serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. Website of Assemblymember Kevin McCarty: https://a07.asmdc.org/