October 20, 2016, Board Meeting Minutes

The California Victim Compensation Board (Board) convened its meeting in open session at the call of Marybel Batjer, Secretary, California Government Operations Agency, at 400 R Street, Sacramento, California, on Thursday, October 20, 2016, at 10:10 a.m. Also present was Member Richard Chivaro, Deputy State Controller and Chief Counsel, acting for, and in the absence of, Betty T. Yee, Controller, and Member Michael Ramos, San Bernardino County District Attorney.

Executive Officer Julie Nauman and Chief Counsel Larenda Delaini were in attendance. Tisha Heard, Board Liaison, recorded the meeting.

Earthquake Drill Announcement

Chairperson Batjer announced that the Great California ShakeOut would take place during the meeting. She explained that the earthquake drill is held every year on 10/20 at 10:20 a.m. During the 60-second drill, participants would practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Chairperson Batjer explained that the Board would not participate in the drill; however, she encouraged everyone to prepare their homes and workplaces in the event of an earthquake and participate in events that increase earthquake safety awareness.

The Board meeting commenced with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Item 1. Approval of Minutes of the September 15, 2016, Board Meeting

The Board approved the minutes of the September 15, 2016, Board meeting.

Item 2. Public Comment

The Board opened the meeting for public comment. Public comment was provided by Stephanie Richard, Esq. (Policy & Legal Services Director, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking); Cynthia Mullen, Esq. (Law Office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP); and Robert Sumner (Director, Office of Legislative Affairs, California Department of Justice).

Ms. Richard commented that human trafficking survivors are still unable to receive lost income from crimes their traffickers forced them to commit.

Robert Sumner commented that he had a standing order from Attorney General Kamala Harris to make sure he is available to CAST whenever they need him to affirm their policy prospectives because they are shared with the Department of Justice. He commented that Attorney General Harris was a leading figure on the issue and previously partnered with District Attorney Ramos as a prosecutorial prospective. He commented that victims of human trafficking are unlike other victims because they require special attention and need to be handled with a victim-centered approach. Mr. Sumner commented that through a wealth of research on the issue, it is now recognized that the type of compensation requested by CAST should be available to human trafficking victims. Lastly, Mr. Sumner commented that the Attorney General was proud to stand in support with CAST.

Ms. Mullen commented that CAST first raised the issue of regulatory reform to remedy trafficking victims’ exclusion from lost income compensation during public comment at the April 21, 2016, meeting. She commented that the Board expressed interest in the proposed regulatory reform and agendized the issue for an upcoming meeting.

Ms. Mullen commented that at the June 16, 2016, meeting, CAST presented its proposed revisions to the existing regulations and requested the initiation of a rulemaking process. She commented that the Board voted to continue the rulemaking to a near future Board meeting due to budgetary issues because it needed to secure funds for the regulations before it could go any further in the process.
Ms. Mullen commented that she realized it was not the near future date because the budgetary process was still ongoing; however, CAST believed it was a critical time for the regulations. She commented that, in the interest of representing human trafficking victims, CAST requested the following from the Board:

  1. The Board make a commitment to include in this year’s regulatory and legislative packages a request for funding from the Department of Finance for the proposed regulatory reform.
  2. An update as to whether the issue had already been raised with the Department of Finance and information regarding the Department of Finance’s response to CalVCP’s request for funding. If the issue has not yet been raised, CAST would like to request notification of these communications when they take place.
  3. A commitment from the Board to re-agendize initiation of the rulemaking process on the issue at a Board meeting immediately following the Department of Finance’s approval of funds for the proposed reform.

Ms. Richard commented that CAST is the largest service provider for victims of modern day slavery in the country. She commented that law enforcement informed CAST that they must arrest survivors of human trafficking in order for survivors to obtain services. She commented that support provided to human trafficking survivors from CalVCP would make a significant difference in their lives.

Member Ramos stated the issue was very important to the Board. He commented that several years ago, he worked with AG Harris when she was the San Francisco District Attorney and also teamed up with Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley to expose how young people are victimized and determine how to make them whole. He commented that because the matter was not agendized, he could not speak to the details; however, generally speaking, he commented that the Board should be strong supporters and take into consideration the items suggested by CAST in the future.

Member Chivaro stated the Board looked forward to working on the issue.

Chairperson Batjer explained that the Governor’s Proposed Budget is submitted on January 10 of every year. The Legislature has the Constitutional responsibility of either adopting or rejecting the Governor’s Proposed Budget. Chairperson Batjer explained that when it is appropriate, the Board would discuss the regulations; however, it was not appropriate at this time. She stated the Board took the comments made by CAST very seriously and appreciated them. To that end, Chairperson Batjer explained that the recommendations by CAST would be treated as a petition for adoption of the regulations under the APA and the Board would be advised by CalVCB Counsel and California Government Operations Agency Counsel.

Change in the Order of an Item on Agenda

Chairperson Batjer announced that the order of items on the agenda would be changed at the request of the Deputy Attorney General. She explained that the Board would next take up Item 7, the Claim of Reggie Cole.

Item 7. Claim of Reggie Cole (Pen. Code, § 4900 et seq.)

Neither Claimant Reggie Cole nor his representative, Ken Karan, were in attendance. Craig Meyers attended on behalf of the Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General.

Dorothy Le, CalVCB Acting Chief Counsel, explained that Mr. Cole sought compensation pursuant to Penal Code section 4900 for his erroneous conviction and subsequent incarceration for the crime of murder. After Mr. Cole was released from prison on May 15, 2010, the Los Angeles Superior Court determined on September 21, 2015, that Mr. Cole had proven by a preponderance of the evidence that he was factually innocent of the crime of murder. Therefore, under Penal Code section 4902 (a), CalVCB must recommend to the Legislature payment of the claim. The only issue before CalVCB was the determination of the appropriate amount of compensation. Ms. Le stated the hearing officer recommended the Legislature appropriate $340,620 for 2,433 days Mr. Cole spent in jail and prison, which was calculated from the date of Mr. Cole’s arrest on the Gonzalez murder until the date he killed his cellmate. Ms. Le informed the Board that late yesterday, Mr. Cole’s attorney notified staff that he spoke with Mr. Cole who stipulated to the proposed decision.

Mr. Meyers stated he agreed with the hearing officer’s recommendation. He further stated that he also received the same notification mentioned by Ms. Le.

The Board adopted the hearing officer’s proposed decision.

Item 3. Executive Officer Statement

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Executive Officer Nauman reported that in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, staff and Board members were invited to wear purple, the color of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to show unity for victims of this appalling crime. Ms. Nauman reported that after the meeting, the Board and staff would gather in the lobby to take a picture.

Announcement of CalVCB Chief Counsel

Executive Officer Nauman introduced and welcomed CalVCB Chief Counsel Larenda Delaini who joined CalVCB on September 29, 2016. Ms. Nauman reported Ms. Delaini replaced former Chief Counsel Wayne Strumpfer who moved to the Office of the State Auditor. Ms. Delaini previously worked at the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice, in their Criminal Division. Ms. Nauman stated Ms. Delaini frequently appeared before the Board representing the Attorney General on Penal Code section 4900 claims.

Outreach Efforts

Executive Officer Nauman reported CalVCB collaborated with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence on a number of outreach efforts throughout the month. CalVCB issued domestic violence focused press releases to areas with higher levels of domestic violence calls. Ms. Nauman reported she gave telephone interviews to the Siskiyou County Daily News and the Sonoma County Press Democrat. She reported additional interviews with different outlets would be scheduled for the remainder of the month.

CalVCB Video

CalVCB created a short video that debuted on the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence’s YouTube channel. Ms. Nauman reported that in the video she described the history of the program, recent legislative changes that modernized the program, and the programs approach to working with victims.

Observance of a Moment of Silence

Chairperson Batjer stated some of the national and state statistics on domestic violence were astonishing. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. In California alone, domestic violence shelters serve nearly 5,800 women and children daily.

With those alarming statistics in mind, Chairperson Batjer asked everyone to join her in a moment of silence to remember and honor those lives taken by domestic violence and to support survivors of domestic violence.

Item 4. Contract Report

The Board approved a four-year contract with Kovarus Technology Solutions in the amount of $275,000. Executive Officer Nauman reported the contract would enable CalVCB to provide data encryption solutions due to statewide security requirements. It would include providing a total encryption solution with equipment, licensing, and support services. Ms. Nauman reported the effort was being done in conjunction with the CaRES Modernization Project.

Item 5. Proposed Board Meeting Dates for Calendar Year 2017

The Board approved the Board meeting dates for calendar year 2017.

Item 6. Legislative Update

SB 1134 would require the Board to recommend an appropriation to the Legislature for compensation of an erroneous conviction claim if a court finds that the claimant is factually innocent. Executive Officer Nauman reported the bill was signed by the Governor.

SB 1324 was amended to extend the sunset date for a provision that authorizes the Victim Compensation Program to provide reimbursement for sessions provided by a violence peer counselor. The provision is scheduled to sunset on January 1, 2017 and would be extended to January 1, 2019. Executive Officer Nauman reported the bill was signed by the Governor.

Victim Compensation Program

The Board commenced the Victim Compensation Program portion of the meeting at 10:33 a.m.

Closed Session

Pursuant to Government Code section 11126(c)(3), the Board adjourned into Closed Session with the Board’s Executive Officer and Chief Counsel at 10:33 a.m. to deliberate on proposed decision numbers 1-34B of the Victim Compensation Program.

Open Session

The Board reconvened into Open Session pursuant to Government Code section 11126(c)(3) at 10:36 a.m. The Board adopted the hearing officer’s recommendations for proposed decision numbers 1-34B of the Victim Compensation Program.

Adjournment

The Board meeting adjourned at 10:37 a.m.