SB 620 Authorizing Judges to Strike Extreme Sentence Enhancements Approved by the Legislature

September 14, 2017

SACRAMENTO – This afternoon, Senate Bill 620 was once again approved by the Senate, this time for a concurrence vote, following its passage in the Assembly. Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) introduced SB 620 to provide California judges with necessary discretion at sentencing for felony criminal cases in which a firearm was used.

“No one disputes that crimes involving firearms must be taken seriously, but California should not continue forcing judges to dole out extreme and overly punitive sentences that don’t fit the crime,” said Senator Bradford. “We must allow our courts and judges to assess the specifics of each case individually, to ensure justice is served and individuals are held accountable for their involvement based on the severity of the crime they are convicted of.”

Although California judges can use their discretion to dismiss almost every other sentencing enhancement at the time of sentencing or resentencing, state law forbids them from doing so with mandatory firearm enhancements – which come in the form of an additional sentence of 10 years, 20 years, or life. SB 620 eliminates this prohibition and, instead, allows a court to act in the interest of justice to strike or dismiss an enhancement.  This bill is consistent with other California sentence enhancement law and will ensure fairer and more balanced sentencing in our courts.

“Rather than enhancing the sentence of defendants using a broad stroke approach, it is the duty of our courts to mete justice adequately and proportionately through the fair and equitable application of the law,” stated Senator Bradford. “We must provide our judges with the same level of sentencing discretion as we afford district attorneys when filing charges.”


Senator Bradford represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.