California's courthouses are a foundation of our Constitution and our democracy. But in recent months they have become the site of disturbing civil arrests -- over the objections of our state's Chief Justice and judges charged with ensuring the fair administration of justice.
I authored SB 349 to protect the administration of justice for all who use our courts. The members of the California Applicants' Attorneys Association represent more immigrant workers than any organization of lawyers in our state, and you are well aware of the obstacles these workers face in accessing justice.
I am thankful for your sponsorship of SB 349, and for all your work to help me get this bill to Governor Brown's desk.
No matter how you got to California, everyone deserves the right to access our courthouses.
As I told some of you at your recent convention in Anaheim, I am the product of parents who came to the U.S. without documentation and who took grueling jobs to give the next generation the chance at a better life. My dad was a farm worker before finding work in a factory, and my mom worked as a maid before becoming a seamstress where she'd work two to three shifts at a time. I have seen the demanding nature of their jobs and the toll it took on their bodies.
When workers are afraid to enter our courts for fear of arrest, it not only violates their individual rights, it undermines public safety and the administration of justice.
SB 349 will prevent civil arrests of people while attending court proceedings and will give judicial officers the clear authority to control their courts.
I thank CAAA for helping to ensure all California residents are able to receive the same treatment in our courts, and our justice system can stay focused on fulfilling its mission to provide "justice for all."
I look forward to celebrating this important victory with you all in the fall.