Rule of Law
The California National Party supports scrapping the USA Patriot Act, which was passed in haste in the days following 9/11. It has led to the unparalleled intrusion by government agencies, often with the assistance of corporations, into the privacy of millions of Americans, most of whom have no connection to terrorism. There has been no valid rationale suggested to allow the continuation of this surveillance, which has certainly not made Californians safer from terrorist acts, most of which involve American citizens shooting at other American citizens at schools or other public places. It is time for a less intrusive and more reasoned policy for the prevention of terrorism.
- We demand greater judicial transparency and full due process for anyone accused of a crime. Indefinite detention without trial is unlawful and must not be allowed, not only for Californians, but for the many immigrants who find themselves in detention solely for immigration violations without any regard for their long-time residency, civil rights or dignity.
- Officials who have violated international human rights laws should be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Specifically, individuals responsible for extrajudicial rendition, the use of torture, and extrajudicial killings must be prosecuted. California must not facilitate the shielding of war criminals, including corporate, government and military officials.
- We believe that upon independence, California will join the International Criminal Court.
- We oppose racial and gender-biased enforcement of laws. We demand full equality before the law and due process for all people.
The “Global War on Terror,”, vigorously pursued by Republicans and approved by Democrats, has destabilized the international system, ruined any claim to credibility, and degraded national security. To repair this damage, we believe that California should:
- Advocate for all states to adopt non-interventionist foreign policies and limit military spending to 2% of GDP.
- Convene a working group on Islamophobia, to address the root causes of xenophobia and intolerance in hopes of reducing hate crimes and wars of convenience.
- Develop an approach to mitigate the global challenges caused by millions of displaced people. This should include a humane immigration policy as well as foreign aid policies designed to stabilize fragile democracies in developing countries, as described in Prosperity and Growth.
The Constitution of the state of California affords stronger protection of personal privacy than that of the United States, and many of our citizens feel that the War on Terror has gone too far in allowing the government to examine private lives. We oppose mass government surveillance programs and similar non-governmental actions, taken by corporations on their own behalf or in concert with the government, which impinge upon personal privacy. Therefore, we believe that California should immediately end its compliance with mass surveillance programs conducted by the CIA, DHS, DIA, FBI, NSA, any other Federal agency, or their foreign and corporate allies.
As technology becomes more pervasive and more personal information becomes available on the web, it is becoming increasingly difficult for citizens to monitor their online footprint and maintain their privacy. This can have significant negative impacts, particularly on young people. Therefore, the California National Party supports an individual’s right to have one’s personal information as well as any other content, such as electronic messages or photographs, deleted and removed from any publicly-accessible website, server, or database upon request.
- We oppose all government demands for manufacturers of software and electronic devices to include encryption “back doors”. Back doors undermine security, contribute to the rise of a surveillance state, and violate the right to privacy of consumers.
- We support the “right to be forgotten,” as pioneered by the European Union. All citizens should have the ability to have Google and all other websites remove information about them upon request.
- California must provide protection for whistleblowers and others who expose corruption, including strong “Shield Laws” for journalists and other whistleblowers.
- We advocate stronger restrictions on the power of credit reporting agencies, and the situations in which a credit report can be obtained. Specifically, potential employers should not be able to demand a credit report unless it has a direct bearing on job performance or if there is a security risk.
- We support regulation of personal, commercial and governmental drones as necessary to preserve personal privacy.
Gun Rights and Regulation
Gun policy should be based on the recognition that different areas of California have varying issues and social attitudes related to firearms. The vast majority of gun related crimes take place in two dozen California counties, while many have had zero or one murder over the course of several years. Crime prevention strategies must be based on the realities of each specific community being served and weighed against the need for people to defend themselves and their families. Gun policy in California cannot be successful with a one-size-fits-all approach.
Therefore, the California National Party supports the following policies:
- California-wide gun laws should be reduced in number and scope and greater regulatory power given to individual counties. Those with more restrictive policies must respect the rights of other counties to have more permissive laws, and vice versa. City laws may be more but not less restrictive than county laws.
- California will establish a registration system for sellers, buyers, and owners, similar to regulations necessary for automobile use and ownership. Like a driver’s license, those applying for a firearms permit would be required to pass a written exam and demonstration of skill and responsibility. This would be administered at the county level through the sheriff’s department.
- Sellers can sell to buyers who reside or are employed in that county, or to California residents of other counties, provided they are not sold anything that is banned in the buyer’s home county or city.
- The required waiting period under California law will be reduced from the current 10 days to five days, while individual counties may choose to extend this period to no more than two weeks.
- We support a California-wide ban on fully automatic weapons. Semi-automatic weapons, ammunition restrictions, magazine capacity restrictions, and handgun laws would be defined by each county, as would bullet microstamping requirements.
- California law will require that special permits must be issued for assault rifles. Each county sheriff’s office will issue such permits and regulate local sales. An individual with that permit must possess a current military, law enforcement, or firearm instructor certification. Individuals wishing to own an assault rifle must pass a psychological evaluation and not have any felonies on their record.
- After the assault rifle permit is in place, the California National Party supports eliminating the featureless grip and the welded magazine regulations.
- Violations of these intercounty regulations, such as selling firearms or ammunition in counties in which they are illegal or to buyers who reside in such counties, as well as transferring firearms without reporting a change in registered ownership, will be met with severe legal penalties.
We also defend many currently existing California gun laws, such as:
- The “may issue” policy on concealed carry permits through each county’s sheriff, as well as laws protecting open carry in unincorporated rural areas where not prohibited by local ordinance.
- Castle doctrine for purposes of self-defense within one’s home.
- Red flag laws establishing Extreme Risk Protection Orders by which police or family members can petition a court to confiscate weapons for a certain period of time from those deemed a threat to themselves or others.
- While California remains part of the United States, our laws must adhere to the interpretations of Second Amendment handed down from the Supreme Court of the United States.
California also has a problem with the trafficking of illegal guns from other states. The California National Party supports better enforcement of our current laws, and California should post signs at the borders to inform people of our gun laws and the penalties for trafficking weapons. We should allow people from other states to surrender those guns at the Inspection Point to be stored at an armory free of charge, or to be mailed back to the owner’s home state at their expense.
While most police are dedicated civil servants, enough are corrupt and abusing their power without sufficient oversight that there is a need for communities to be able to maintain oversight of those authorized by the government to use lethal force. The California National Party believes that California should:
- Provide state-level guidance and legal authority for community oversight of police in both Charter and General Law cities.
- Establish state-level penalties for individual officers who abuse their power.
- Create a statewide database of officers banned from working in any public safety jobs.
- Establish state-level penalties for city departments and county sheriffs that fail to follow through with sanctions on individuals and that hire a banned individual.
- For new recruits, require a minimum of an Associate’s degree, preferably in Criminal Justice, that include at least 4 classes on racial issues.
- For current police officers, implement new ongoing training that addresses implicit bias and historical causes of inequality.
- Expand and modernize emergency medical response systems, including exploring the idea of partnering police with mental health professionals on medical or mental health emergency calls.
- Increase funding of emergency medical and fire response systems, including salaries and fringe benefits that will make those public safety positions competitive with police.
The California National Party opposes a pre-trial system that disproportionately incarcerates and punishes the poor. The money bail system allows the rich to avoid the inconvenience of pre-trial detention while ruining the lives of those who cannot afford to pay. Our long-term goal is to end indefinite and bail-contingent pre-trial detention and abolish the for-profit bail industry.
We support California’s efforts to addresses racial and economic disparities in the justice system and endorse Senate Bill SB-10 Bail: Pretrial Release. In addition, California must ban confiscation of assets by law enforcement without due process. This creates perverse incentives for law enforcement and, like many elements of the War on Drugs, is most commonly targeted against non-whites.
People of color — especially African Americans, Latinos, and First Nations — are disproportionately arrested, tried, and convicted for crimes, resulting in even non-violent and low-level offenses destroying far too many lives, and violating the principle that the punishment should fit the crime.
The California National Party believes that California should:
- Allow people convicted of crimes to vote, and reinstate that right to the many from whom it has been stripped.
- “Ban the Box” and prevent both public and private employers from requiring job applicants to state whether they have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor.
- Decriminalize use of all recreational drugs and establish adequately-funded substance abuse treatment programs and rehabilitation clinics in every county.
- Provide amnesty and criminal record expungement of all convictions for drinking in public, drug possession, and low-level possession for sale.
- Expunge all juvenile criminal records of all individuals who, following their release, reach the age of 21 or have 5 consecutive years without any criminal indictments.
- Disincentivize overcharging by District Attorneys and issue a state mandate to focus prosecutions on violent and white collar crimes.
- Expand Public Defender offices and make their salaries and staff levels equivalent to those of prosecutors.
- Establish a dedicated statewide re-entry and anti-recidivism body separate from CDCR that incorporates both job training and trauma-informed therapy into its services.
- Decrease funding of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, while increasing funding of probation and parole systems.
- Mandate all probation and parole contracts for anti-recidivism, substance abuse treatment, and mental or physical healthcare services go to the Departments of Education, Public Health, or Health and Human Services.
Judicial Funding and Access
Equality under the law requires not only good laws, but access to the judicial system. Despite this, the court system of California is chronically underfunded and ignored. This delays trials and results in both urban overcrowding and the need for rural residents to travel additional miles and spend many hours to gain access to the justice system. Improvements for ADA compliance have been neglected, and construction, especial in rural counties, of new court structures has been long delayed. In addition to infrastructure needs, the basic duties of the court system, such as adjudicating cases both criminal and civil, have become monumentally backlogged. This has been exacerbated by layoffs and stagnant, or even unpaid, wages to court officers and workers such as interpreters, court clerks, and judges.
Such fiscal uncertainty in one of the largest judicial systems in the world is unacceptable. Therefore, the California National Party proposes a minimum funding mandate for the judiciary of no less than 1.5% of any California budget. (In the last decade, funding has hovered around 1.3%-1.4%.) In times of economic strength, the budget may set aside funds beyond this 1.5% minimum to be stored in an exclusive judicial fund to be tapped for unforeseen projects, new infrastructure, or to make up for shortfalls in later budgets during times of economic decline; however, this fund must be used only for the judiciary, and not raided for other government expenditures.