Senator Wiener’s Bill to Simplify Overturning Wrongful Convictions Passes Assembly Public Safety Committee

June 27, 2023

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Public Safety Committee passed Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) Senate Bill 97, which removes senseless barriers to overturning wrongful convictions. The bill passed 8-0 with bipartisan support and heads next to the Assembly floor.

“Allowing wrongful convictions to stand undermines justice for everyone,” said Senator Wiener. “I am incredibly grateful to my colleagues in the Assembly who have joined me in fighting for wrongfully convicted individuals. I look forward to seeing this bill pass the Assembly floor.” 

California leads the nation in exonerations for wrongfully convicted people, overturning over 200 convictions from 1989 to 2013. Despite this exceptional attention to the issue, the process to overturn a wrongful conviction remains complex and needlessly arduous.

SB 97 will correct this injustice by streamlining the process for the wrongly accused to have their convictions overturned. This bill, among other things, will direct judges to give great weight to a prosecutor’s concession that a person has been wrongfully convicted, eliminate obstructive technical requirements to ensure that Courts can fairly and fully examine newly discovered evidence,and give an exonerated person (if tried again) the ability to have continuous counsel. SB 97 also requires that the wrongfully convicted are provided appropriate counsel throughout litigation.

SB 97 is sponsored by The California Innocence Coalition. Read more about SB 97 here.