Public Safety Bill Gets Bipartisan Support

California Legislators Introduce SB 57 Calling for Better Communication
Thursday, August 27, 2015

A public safety bill that just has been introduced is getting bipartisan support from Senate Republicans and Democrat Senator Cathleen Galgiani. The new bill is in response to a loophole that allows dangerous felons who are in the country illegally to be released back onto California streets. Senate Bill 57 will fix communication between local and state law enforcement so dangerous felons who are incarcerated do not slip through the cracks and get released prematurely.

SB 57 is authored by Sen. Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley) with co-authors Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) and Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) and would prohibit local law enforcement officials from requesting custody of a felon awaiting deportation unless they intend to prosecute that felon.

SB 57 is in response to the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle, who was murdered in San Francisco by undocumented immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. Lopez-Sanchez was on the streets of San Francisco only because he was brought there at the request of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi some three months earlier. Lopez-Sanchez was in federal custody awaiting deportation when Mirkarimi arranged for Lopez-Sanchez’ transfer to San Francisco based on a 20-year old arrest warrant on a charge of selling marijuana. Not surprisingly, the San Francisco District Attorney did not pursue the prosecution of Lopez-Sanchez on a decades-old marijuana charge, and Mirkarimi subsequently released Lopez-Sanchez into the community.

“Kathryn Steinle was a 32-year-old vibrant woman whose life was cut short by a senseless act. This was a tragic case that should not have happened in the first place and should not happen again,” said Sen. Runner. “This bill is about keeping Californians safe from dangerous criminals.”  

“Public safety has always been a priority for me,” said Sen. Huff.  “Officials in San Francisco are already considering a similar ordinance following the death of Ms. Steinle. SB 57 closes the loophole statewide that resulted in her tragic death.” 

“Common sense dictates that anyone arrested for a serious felony should never be released without checking whether there are outstanding warrants for that individual,” said Sen. Galgiani.

Speaking in support of SB 57 is Susan Oliver, the widow of slain Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver. He was killed in the line of duty last October by a criminal undocumented immigrant.

“Clearly, the current policies aren’t working.  This bill is a step in the right direction to bring consistency and clarity for dangerous felons who are in the country illegally and to keep our streets safer for everyone, on both sides of the badge,” said Oliver.