Assembly Bill 2124: Deferral of sentencing on misdemeanor offenses
AB 2124 authorizes a county (Los Angeles) to establish a pretrial diversion program for defendants who have been charged with a misdemeanor offense and authorizes diversion programs, including for defendants with cognitive developmental disabilities, defendants in nonviolent drug cases, and traffic
The power to delay the entry of a defendant's guilty plea and defer sentencingOn January 1, 2015, Los Angeles County established a pilot program that gives superior court judges the power to delay the entry of a defendant's guilty plea and defer sentencing for first time misdemeanor offenses for up to one year. If the judge allows a defendant diversion, the defendant may be allowed to complete a program that may include attending a treatment program or self-courses. Once the program is complete, a defendant may return to court to have his plea withdrawn and the case dismissed.
The diversion program is based on the judge's discretionA key aspect to this new law is that the diversion program is based on the judge's discretion. A defense attorney must properly and effectively present her case to a judge and show why her client should be allowed the opportunity to participate in a diversion program. I suggest filing certain documents prior with the court and serving the prosecutor of the same. After convincing the judge that the defendant deserves the diversion program, the judge has the discretion to specify conditions of diversion. Finally, this bill will expire in 2020 unless is it is extended by the legislature. As already stated this bill is a pilot program only available in Los Angles County but other counties have specific diversion programs that may be available in your case.
The key inquiries are the limitations of the bill.The key inquiries are the limitations of the bill. Section 1001.98 lists the types of cases or facts of the case that disallows consideration by the judge. This law that just came into effect should be discussed with clients that authorize the judge to allow the defendant to enter into a diversion program. The criminal defense attorney should also effectively convince the judge that the client is worthy of this program.