Racial Injustice Becomes the Law in California

In 2020, while most Californians were struggling with Governor Newsom’s pandemic lockdown and George Floyd rioters were tearing up our cities, the Legislature passed and Governor Newsom signed AB 2542 into law. In the Monday, March 4 Wall Street Journal, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald wrote, that under the new law (the California Racial Justice Act), “every felon serving time in the state’s prisons and jails can now retroactively challenge his conviction and sentencing on the ground of systemic bias.”

“To prevail, the incarcerated prisoner need not show that the police officers, prosecutors, judge or jurors in his case were motivated by racism or that his proceedings were unfair. If he can demonstrate that in the past, criminal suspects of his race were arrested, prosecuted or sentenced more often or more severely than members of other racial groups, he will be entitled to a new trial or sentence.”

This ignores the fact that different races commit crime at different rates.  Under this law, all that is needed to overturn a conviction or sentence is to invoke the widely known fact that more blacks go to prison than Japanese.  This, according to the Legislature and Governor Newsom’s views, proves that the criminal justice system discriminates against blacks and favors Japanese.

MacDonald continues:

“If a defense expert seeks to show that defendants from one racial group were sentenced more harshly in the past than defendants of other races, he can ignore criminal history in composing the comparison groups. He can ignore the heinousness of the crimes committed by the two groups. As long as they were charged under a similar statute, they will be deemed sufficiently comparable to build a case for prosecutorial racism.

The Racial Justice Act’s drafters and supporters justify the exclusion of criminal history from statistical analysis via circular reasoning: They claim criminal history is infected by the same bias that infects everything else in the criminal-justice system. The act establishes an infinite regress of bias. If a prosecutor tries to offer what the law calls ‘race neutral reasons’ for either past prosecutions or the one under challenge, those reasons can themselves be discounted as the product of ‘systemic and institutional racial bias, racial profiling, and historical patterns of racially biased policing and prosecution.’ There is no clear way out of the presumption of racial guilt.

Court testimony now sounds like a critical race studies course. When a felon in San Francisco contested his arrest and prosecution for having a loaded handgun in his car, a ‘race expert’ testified that the arresting officer’s use of the phrase ‘high crime area’ demonstrated ‘bias against people of color.’ The trial judge disagreed, but an appeals court reversed and allowed the felon’s claim to proceed. (Speaking of bias, that same expert, Dante King, asserted at the University of California, San Francisco, on Feb. 8 that ‘whites are psychopaths’ whose ‘behavior represents an underlying, biologically transmitted proclivity.’)”

Essentially the California Racial Justice Act codifies racism.  A black defendant with three prior felonies facing charges of armed robbery, and an East Indian with no priors charged with the same crime will be considered equal, even though it is the East Indian’s first offense and the black man’s fourth.  Under AB 2542 the court must give each offender the same sentence.  Obviously, it is the East Indian who is being discriminated against. This appears to violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Could this law be challenged in federal court?  Perhaps, but California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta certainly won’t be doing this.  He voted for AB 2542 while serving in the state Assembly. Law-abiding Californians will be the victims of this law, which will certainly leave more criminals on the streets.



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