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Quarter Century of Legal Change

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Quarterly Dated: (November 1994-January 1995) Pages: 19-23,54-55
R C Phillips
Date Published
7 pages
California criminal law has experienced dramatic changes during the past 25 years, particularly with regard to the 1982 enactment of Proposition 8, referred to as the Victim's Bill of Rights.
Proposition 8 changed many aspects of criminal law in California, especially in the areas of evidence and sentencing. Proposition 8 changed both constitutional and statutory provisions of State law, resulting in more rational treatment of the offender and stimulating new awareness of and sensitivity to victim needs. One of the more significant provisions of Proposition 8 was the addition of a section to California's Penal Code that restricted plea bargaining in serious felonies. Proposition 8 also introduced truth-in-evidence provisions and limited the exclusionary rule to constitutional rights. Significant changes in California's court structure and operations occurred in 1986. The State's evidence suppression statute was amended, allowing a defendant only one full-blown motion to suppress. Other changes in California criminal have been made that concern search and seizure, privacy, suspect questioning, evidence loss or destruction, and the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. The Crime Victims Justice Reform Act is considered, and provisions of Proposition 115 that focus on procedural aspects of criminal case processing are examined. 50 references