CA “Social Justice”:

Jul 12, 2023

Yesterday, the California Assembly Public Safety Committee – read that again: public safety, not criminal safety, public, like you, me and our children – blocked Senator Shannon Grove’s Senate Bill 14, which would have made the trafficking of a minor a “serious felony.” What this would have meant is that the charge “human trafficking of a minor” would have had to have been prosecuted, rather than plea bargained down into, for example, a misdemeanor or smaller infraction that would have justified lesser sentencing. (See Penal Code, sec. 1192.7(a)(1)). It also would have ensured the defendant would not be able to avail him/herself of “social justice credits” (yes, that is what they are called), such as “good behavior,” to get out early and/or go on parole.

Despite this, under the BLM banner of “social justice,” “reform,” “equity,” “parity,” and “access” for criminals and not victims, apparently, Assemblymembers Mia Bonta, Isaac Bryan, Liz Ortega, Rick Zbur, Miguel Santo, and Committee Chair Reginald Jones-Sawyer did not vote on the bill, preventing it from passing out of Committee so that it could head to the Assembly Floor to be voted out of the second house and head to the Governor’s desk for signing into law.  

Of note, SB14 passed by unanimous, bipartisan vote out of the Senate. Read that again: every single one of the 40 California Senators, including the Democratic ones, including Scott Wiener, voted in favor of SB14.  

Opposition points to the bill included heartbreaking testimony from a trafficking survivor who herself got prosecuted and incarcerated for 17 years – wrongfully instead of her trafficker – 20 years ago. Had SB14 been in effect then, she would be in jail for life. Senator Grove’s DA witness explained, however, that there has been significant criminal justice reform since that time, including several national studies that were conducted to identify pitfalls in prosecuting human trafficking offenses and that a new system developed that is now “trauma” and “survivor centered” to ensure this does not happen anymore. 

Luz Ortega stated she could not vote on it because she believed penalties were stiff enough, and that harsher sentences did not deter criminal conduct. Isaac Bryan added that he could not support the bill because harsher penalties do not lead to less crime, jails are overcrowded, and these crimes target people of color. In response to that I say: 

  • Prosecution and sentencing (“punishment”) have five recognized purposes: (1) deterrence, (2) incapacitation, (3) rehabilitation, (4) retribution, and (5) restitution. The purpose of making human trafficking of a minor a “serious felony” is not to incarcerate these criminals further. It is to deter future offenses. The threat of receiving a sentence of years to life, no plea bargaining, no credits would seriously curtail traffickers, which is the opposite of what we currently have, given that California is 6 out of 50 in human trafficking.
  • I have a solution for overcrowding!
  • What about the victims of color?


courtesy of Public Policy Institute of California

Ultimately, a tragic and sad day in the Assembly PS Committee where, apparently, the theme is: 

Commit a crime, dont do any time!

See also my post from yesterday regarding #SB345. 


California Republican legislators are attempting to force a floor vote on SB14 tomorrow, July 13. Call Robert Rivas and tell him to pull the bill to the floor vote, as is within his power to do as Speaker of the House:


State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2029
Fax: (916) 319-2129


60 W. Market Street, Suite 110
Salinas, CA 93901
Phone: (831) 759-8676


525 Monterey Street
Soledad, CA 93960
Phone: (831) 759-8676


We are hopeful SB14 will become law, given that even Gavin is upset about what just happened and planning to get involved, however…who knows. We will keep you posted on the news.


In the meantime…


Apparently, Senator Umberg has stepped out of line. Recall that at his health fair last weekend, he told several members of our community that Assembly Bill 957 [Wiener, Wilson – “health, safety, and welfare includes affirming a child’s self-selected gender identity or gender expression] would not be brought to the Senate Floor for vote until after the break. Yesterday, however, while at the Capitol, we personally spoke to Umberg who did a complete 180, denying that he said this (all while refusing to shake my hand btw) while recommending we “speak to the authors” to determine timing. 


Today we confirmed with one of the author’s offices that Umberg was out of line to say he was holding AB957 back, and the bill could be heard tomorrow, July 13. 



  2. CALL THE REMAINING 39 Senators (takes less than 20 minutes) to
    1. (Re)register your opposition and
    2. Ask that they vote “No” or Abstain on #AB957
  3. Get some rest. This is nuts.


REST and PRAY. Then get ready to RISE AND GRIND.

The Law Offices of Nicole C. Pearson