November 17, 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, November 17, 2016, at 10:03 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.

The Board meeting commenced with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Item 1. Approval of Minutes of the October 20, 2016, Board Meeting

The Board approved the minutes of the October 20, 2016, Board meeting.

Item 2. Public Comment

The Board opened the meeting for public comment. No public comment was provided.

Item 3. Executive Officer Statement

CaRES 2.0 Modification Project Update

Executive Officer Nauman reported that CalVCB made tremendous progress and completed the design and development phase of the project. CalVCB is now near the completion of system testing and will enter user testing in the coming year. Ms. Nauman reported CaRES 2.0 is expected to launch in spring 2017.

Outreach Efforts

Executive Officer Nauman reported CalVCB staff is continuing to work hard to educate community-based organizations and other stakeholders about CalVCB and the services it provides. On November 16, 2016, staff participated in the Department of Justice’s Crimes Against Children, Teens and Women Conference in Folsom. Conference topics included bullying, teen dating violence, cyber exploitation, and crimes in underserved communities. Ms. Nauman reported staff presented and discussed eligibility and benefits for crime victims. CalVCB staff also hosted an informational booth and distributed materials about the program.

CalVCB is Relocating

CalVCBs building lease will expire in 2018. Executive Officer Nauman reported CalVCB would relocate to Granite Bay Regional Park located off Highway 50 and Power Inn Road. Ms. Nauman reported the building offers many amenities including free parking, onsite restaurants, a local Farmer’s Market, and more. Ms. Nauman reported CalVCB would finalize the lease in December 2016 and anticipated the move would take place in fall 2018.

Item 4. Contract Report

The Board approved the contract with NWN Corporation in the amount of $149,102.02. Executive Officer Nauman reported the contract was for equipment, licensing, and enterprise level support services from Hewlett Packard Enterprise to bring infrastructure up to necessary performance standards.

Item 5. Claim of Kash Register (Pen. Code, § 4900 et seq.)

Kash Register was in attendance and was represented by Kevin LaHue, Kay McLane Bednarski & Litt. The Attorney General’s Office was represented by Deputy Attorney General Barton Bowers.

Larenda Delaini, CalVCB Chief Counsel, stated Kash Register sought compensation for his erroneous conviction and incarceration pursuant to Penal Code section 4900. She explained that in 1979, a jury convicted Mr. Register of first degree murder and found true various enhancements and a special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed during the course of an armed robbery. Mr. Register was subsequently sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, which was later reduced to 25 years-to-life.

Ms. Delaini stated that in 2013, the Los Angeles County Superior Court granted Mr. Register’s petition for habeas relief, finding that he was denied his rights to due process and a fair trial because the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence that was material to Mr. Register’s guilt. The District Attorney’s Office declined to retry Mr. Register and dismissed the charges.

In October 2016, following the settlement of a lawsuit in which the City of Los Angeles agreed to pay Mr. Register $16.7 million for violating his civil rights, the Los Angeles County Superior Court determined that Mr. Register was factually innocent of first degree murder and the attending enhancements and special circumstance allegation. The prosecution did not oppose Mr. Register’s petition for factual innocence.

Lastly, Ms. Delaini stated that, pursuant to Penal Code section 851.865, the Board was mandated to recommend to the Legislature that an appropriation be made in the amount of $1,739,780 for the 12,427 days that Mr. Register spent in prison.

The Board adopted the hearing officer’s proposed decision and allowed the claim.

Item 6. Claim of Luis Vargas (Pen. Code, § 4900 et seq.)

Luis Vargas was not in attendance. Mr. Vargas was represented by Justin Brooks, Director and Cofounder of the California Innocence Project. The Attorney General’s Office was represented by Barton Bowers.

Larenda Delaini, CalVCB Chief Counsel, stated Luis Vargas sought compensation for his erroneous conviction and incarceration pursuant to Penal Code section 4900. Ms. Delaini explained that in 1999, a jury convicted Mr. Vargas of various sexual offenses committed against three victims, including forcible rape, attempted forcible sodomy, and assault with intent to commit rape and found true an arming enhancement for each offense. Mr. Vargas was subsequently sentenced to serve 55 years-to-life in prison.

Ms. Delaini stated that in 2015, after DNA testing on biological evidence collected from one victim proved that Mr. Vargas was not the perpetrator, the Los Angeles County Superior Court granted Mr. Vargas’ habeas petition based on newly discovered evidence. The charges against Mr. Vargas were dismissed. The Los Angeles County Superior Court subsequently determined that Mr. Vargas was factually innocent of the sexual offenses for which he was convicted. The prosecution did not oppose Mr. Vargas’ petition for factual innocence.

Lastly, Ms. Delaini stated that, pursuant to Penal Code section 851.865, the Board was mandated to recommend to the Legislature that an appropriation be made in the amount of $886,760 for the 6,334 days that Mr. Vargas spent in prison.

The Board adopted the hearing officer’s proposed decision and allowed the claim.

Victim Compensation Program

The Board commenced the Victim Compensation Program portion of the meeting at 10:15 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 10:15 a.m. to deliberate on proposed decision numbers 1–61 of the Victim Compensation Program.

Open Session

The Board reconvened into Open Session pursuant to Government Code section 11126(c)(3) at 10:26 a.m. The Board adopted the hearing officer’s recommendations for proposed decision numbers 1–61 of the Victim Compensation Program.

Adjournment

The Board meeting adjourned at 10:27 a.m.