Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, September 28, 2018


Page 4


Brown Vetoes Bill That Would Have Barred Civil Arrest of Anyone at a Courthouse


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. yesterday vetoed a bill that would have provided blanket immunity from the civil arrest of anyone at a courthouse.

The bill, SB 349, was authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens.

Brown said in his veto message:

“I support the underlying intent of this measure, but I am concerned that it may have unintended consequences. Last year I signed SB 54 (De Leon), a provision of which tasked the Attorney General with publishing model policies limiting assistance with immigration enforcement to the fullest extent possible at courthouses and other public facilities to ensure that they remain safe and accessible to all California residents, regardless of immigration status. I believe the prudent path is to allow for that guidance to be released before enacting new laws in this area.”

The bill is generally perceived as stemming from concerns, expressed by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and others, over arrests of illegal aliens at courthouses by immigration officials. Lara’s own explanation of the bill, however, omits any reference to that purpose.

He declared:

“The intent of SB 349 is to protect all individuals from civil arrest while at a courthouse or court proceeding. Protecting people from civil arrest while on legal business in our courthouses, or while attending judicial proceedings, is necessary to preserve public access to courts. California is harmed when our judicial system is interfered with in any way. Codifying this privilege from arrest doctrine will ensure that litigants, witnesses, and others are not deterred from participating in the proceedings necessary to protect and vindicate rights guaranteed by the State of California. It is critical that our courts and all parties have access to testimony and other evidence critical to fact-finding and that the dignity of judicial proceedings is upheld and not disturbed or diminished, which ensures our courts are able to effectively administer justice. The provisions of this measure are needed to protect and preserve the integrity of the proceedings of the judicial branch of California government. Courts are essential to a republican form of government and to the functioning of California’s government.”

Brown also yesterday vetoed Lara’s SB 174, saying:

“This bill would open up all boards and commissions to non-citizens. I believe existing law-which requires citizenship for these forms of public service-is the better path.”


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