Rule of Law Platform
Respect for the rule of law, which recognizes the rights and responsibilities of individuals, corporations, and the government towards each other, is fundamental to a fair and just society. Institutions must be prevented from violating the civil right to privacy, due process, and security of person and property. These protections must apply equally to all Californians, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender identity, disability, political beliefs, occupation, or background. A system of law and justice that does not secure the rights of all its citizens and residents against obtrusive corporate behavior, physical harm, and if necessary the government itself, is not a system of law and justice at all.
The California National Party (CNP) will fight to defend these rights and see to it that any person, corporation, organization, or government entity that violates these laws will be held accountable, irrespective of wealth, power, or influence. As a necessary step to securing a legitimate judicial system for all Californians, the injustices and denial of rights, past and present, to historically marginalized communities must be recognized and corrected.
The CNP opposes the unparalleled intrusion by agencies of the United States government, often with the assistance of corporations, into the privacy of millions of Californians. This violation by federal authorities has accelerated since the so-called “War on Terror” began two decades ago, accompanied by a rapid expansion of surveillance and related technologies. As this technology, much of it developed and controlled by unaccountable corporations, becomes increasingly pervasive, personal information becomes more readily available, making it difficult for citizens to maintain their privacy.
The Constitution of the state of California affords stronger protections of personal privacy than that of the United States, and many of our citizens feel that attacks on our basic rights and on our ability to control disclosure of information about our private lives have gone too far. Therefore, the CNP opposes mass government surveillance programs as well as similar non-governmental actions taken by corporations, on their own behalf or in concert with the government, which impinge upon personal privacy.
- We oppose all government demands for manufacturers of software and electronic devices to include encryption “backdoors” which undermine security and violate the right to privacy of consumers, contributing to the rise of a surveillance state.
- California should immediately end its compliance with mass surveillance programs conducted by the CIA, DHS, DIA, FBI, NSA, any other federal agencies, or their foreign and corporate allies.
- End targeted surveillance of members of specific ethnic or religious groups, especially in relation to the “War on Terror,” the vast majority of whom have no connection to terrorism. No valid rationale exists to allow the continuation of this surveillance, which has not made Californians safer from terrorist acts.
- We support the “right to be forgotten,” as pioneered by the European Union’s GDPR law. All citizens should have the ability to have one’s personal information as well as any other content, such as electronic messages or photographs, deleted and removed from any publically-accessible website, server, or database upon request, with greater protections than under the current California Consumer Privacy Act.
- California must provide protection for whistleblowers, journalists, and others who expose corruption.
- 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 the 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 few if any murders over the course of several years.
Crime prevention strategies must be based on the realities of each community and weighed against the need for people to defend themselves, their families, and engage in hunting and other forms of recreation. Gun policy in California cannot be successful with a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore, the CNP 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 of firearms, 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.
- 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.
- Sellers can sell to buyers who reside or are employed in that county, as well as to California residents of other counties provided they are not sold anything that is banned in the buyer’s home county or city, or with a shorter waiting period.
- 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 CNP supports eliminating the featureless grip and the welded magazine regulations.
- California should post signs at the borders to inform people of our gun laws and the penalties for trafficking weapons. Those from outside of California will have an option to place their firearms in an armory (gun check) for a fee. Visitors may also apply for a license to carry at the same facility. This facility and licensing regime shall be self-funding and should have a negligible cost to California.
- 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, vehicle, or other legally occupied space.
- 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 the Second Amendment handed down from the Supreme Court of the United States.
While some police officers are dedicated civil servants, enough are corrupt and abuse 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 CNP believes that California should:
- Provide state-level guidance and legal authority for community oversight of police in municipalities. The Office of the Attorney General shall have an independent inspection unit reviewing and enforcing the standards of jurisdictions, reviewing exercises of deadly force and citizens’ complaints about violations of practice standards and human rights.
- Establish state-level penalties for individual officers who abuse their power, with support for the elimination of qualified immunity.
- 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 who hire a banned individual.
- For new recruits, require a minimum of an associate’s degree, preferably in Criminal Justice, that include at least four classes on racial issues.
- For current police officers, implement new and ongoing training that addresses implicit bias and historical causes of inequality.
- Police funding and many police functions should be diverted to non-police workers whenever feasible. This includes expanding and modernizing emergency medical and psychiatric response systems and teams in every jurisdiction in California. Procedures and practices should be implemented in which behavioral health professionals are easily available to de-escalate confrontations, either alongside or instead of law enforcement officers, as appropriate.
- Increase funding of emergency medical and fire response systems, including salaries and fringe benefits that will make those public safety positions competitive with police.
- Establishment of a truth and reconciliation committee, modeled on those used in other countries, for the selective handling of crimes against civilians by police.
Correctional and Bail Reform
The CNP opposes a penal system that disproportionately incarcerates and punishes the poor. Likewise, members of historically marginalized communities, especially Black, Latinx, and First Nation Californians, are disproportionately arrested, tried, and convicted for crimes. Meanwhile, 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. This system results in even non-violent and low-level offenses destroying far too many lives. The CNP believes that California must:
- Allow people convicted of crimes to vote, and reinstate that right to the many from whom it has been stripped.
- End indefinite and bail-contingent pre-trial detention and abolish the for-profit bail industry.
- Ban civil forfeiture, which is the confiscation of assets by law enforcement without due process, as this practice creates perverse incentives for law enforcement.
- Decriminalize the use of all recreational drugs and establish adequately funded substance abuse treatment programs and rehabilitation clinics in every county in conjunction with the California-wide hospital system laid down in our Healthcare plank. Substance abusers who violate laws will be directed to drug courts.
- Implementation of evidence-based standards to dramatically improve outcomes for individuals involved in the justice system due to substance use and mental health disorders, employing evidence from studies of addiction, pharmacology, behavioral health, and criminal justice to transform how the justice system responds to people in crisis.
- 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.
- Work to increase the availability of comprehensive educational and training programs for the formerly incarcerated to enhance life and job skills.
- Decrease funding of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, while increasing funding of probation and parole systems.
- 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.
- 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 too often left underfunded and ignored. This delays trials, results in urban overcrowding, and forces rural residents to travel additional miles, spending many hours to gain access to the justice system. This fiscal uncertainty in one of the largest judicial systems in the world is unacceptable. Basic duties of the court system, such as adjudicating cases both criminal and civil, have become monumentally backlogged. To meet the need for all Californians to have access to their judicial system, the CNP supports:
- A minimum funding mandate that the allocation for the judiciary be no less than 1.5% of the annual California budget.
- In times of economic surplus, 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; this fund must be used only for the judiciary, and not spent on other government expenses.
- Increased emphasis on new courthouse infrastructure, such as improvements in ADA compliance and construction in rural counties, both of which have been long delayed.
- An end to layoffs and stagnant or unpaid wages to court officers and workers such as interpreters, court clerks, and judges.