Gov. Jerry Brown. File photo

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan applauded a California bill signed into law Thursday that makes a promise to undocumented immigrants that they can testify in criminal and civil court cases without fear of deportation.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 785, which was authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) to protect immigrants from irrelevant disclosures of their immigration status in open court.

“We don’t ask the immigration status of the victims or witnesses we come into contact with and this bill gives victims and witnesses of human trafficking, sexual assault, domestic violence and other criminal cases charged in state court state court another layer of protection and confidence that they can come forward and testify without fear,” Stephan said following the governor’s signing. “It’s a common sense protection that helps us deliver justice, promote the reporting of crime, and keep our communities safe.”

SB 785 requires that any discussion or questioning about the immigration status of any witness, victim, or defendant first be deemed by a judge to be relevant and admissible.

–Staff

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