Title 7.5. The Hertzberg-leslie Witness Protection Act of California Penal Code >> Title 7.5. >> Part 4.
There is hereby established the Witness Relocation and
As used in this title:
(a) "Witness" means any person who has been summoned, or is
reasonably expected to be summoned, to testify in a criminal matter,
including grand jury proceedings, for the people whether or not
formal legal proceedings have been filed. Active or passive
participation in the criminal matter does not disqualify an
individual from being a witness. "Witness" may also apply to family,
friends, or associates of the witness who are deemed by local or
state prosecutors to be endangered.
(b) "Credible evidence" means evidence leading a reasonable person
to believe that substantial reliability should be attached to the
(c) "Protection" means formal admission into a witness protection
program established by this title memorialized by a written agreement
between local or state prosecutors and the witness.
The program shall be administered by the Attorney General.
In any criminal proceeding within this state, when the action is
brought by local or state prosecutors, where credible evidence exists
of a substantial danger that a witness may suffer intimidation or
retaliatory violence, the Attorney General may reimburse state and
local agencies for the costs of providing witness protection
The Attorney General shall give priority to matters
involving organized crime, gang activities, drug trafficking, human
trafficking, and cases involving a high degree of risk to the
witness. Special regard shall also be given to the elderly, the
young, battered, victims of domestic violence, the infirm, the
handicapped, and victims of hate incidents.
The Attorney General shall coordinate the efforts of state
and local agencies to secure witness protection, relocation, and
assistance services and then reimburse those state and local agencies
for the costs of the services that he or she determines to be
necessary to protect a witness from bodily injury, assure the witness'
s safe transition into a new environment, and otherwise to assure the
health, safety, and welfare of the witness. The Attorney General may
reimburse the state or local agencies that provide witnesses with
any of the following:
(a) Armed protection or escort by law enforcement officials or
security personnel before, during, or subsequent to, legal
(b) Physical relocation to an alternate residence.
(c) Housing expense.
(d) Appropriate documents to establish a new identity.
(e) Transportation or storage of personal possessions.
(f) Basic living expenses, including, but not limited to, food,
transportation, utility costs, and health care.
(g) Support, advocacy, and other services to provide for witnesses'
safe transition into a new environment.
(h) Other services as needed and approved by the Attorney General.
The witness protection agreement shall be in writing, and
shall specify the responsibilities of the protected person that
establish the conditions for local or state prosecutors providing
protection. The protected person shall agree to all of the following:
(a) If a witness or potential witness, to testify in and provide
information to all appropriate law enforcement officials concerning
all appropriate proceedings.
(b) To refrain from committing any crime.
(c) To take all necessary steps to avoid detection by others of
the facts concerning the protection provided to that person under
(d) To comply with legal obligations and civil judgments against
(e) To cooperate with all reasonable requests of officers and
employees of this state who are providing protection under this
(f) To designate another person to act as agent for the service of
(g) To make a sworn statement of all outstanding legal
obligations, including obligations concerning child custody and
(h) To disclose any probation or parole responsibilities, and if
the person is on probation or parole.
(i) To regularly inform the appropriate program official of his or
her activities and current address.
The State of California, the counties and cities within
the state, and their respective officers and employees shall not be
liable for any condition in the witness protection agreement that
cannot reasonably be met due to a witness committing a crime during
participation in the program.
Funds available to implement this title may be used for any
of the following:
(a) To protect witnesses where credible evidence exists that they
may be in substantial danger of intimidation or retaliatory violence
because of their testimony.
(b) To provide temporary and permanent relocation of witnesses and
provide for their transition and well-being into a safe and secure
(c) To pay the costs of administering the program.
For the purposes of this title, notwithstanding Article 1
(commencing with Section 13959) of Chapter 5 of Part 4 of Division 3
of Title 2 of the Government Code, a witness, as defined in
subdivision (a) of Section 14021, selected by local or state
prosecutors to receive services under the program established
pursuant to this title because he or she has been or may be
victimized due to the testimony he or she will give, shall be deemed
The Attorney General shall issue appropriate guidelines and
may adopt regulations to implement this title. These guidelines shall
(a) A process whereby state and local agencies shall apply for
reimbursement of the costs of providing witness protection services.
(b) A 25-percent match that shall be required of local agencies.
The Attorney General may also establish a process through which to
waive the required local match when appropriate.
The State of California, the counties and cities within the
state, and their respective officers and employees shall have
immunity from civil liability for any decision declining or revoking
protection to a witness under this title.
All information relating to any witness participating in the
program established pursuant to this title shall remain confidential
and is not subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public
Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7
of Title 1 of the Government Code) and, if a change of name has been
approved by the program, the order to show cause is not subject to
the publication requirement of Section 1277 of the Code of Civil
(a) (1) No person or private entity shall post on the
Internet the home address, the telephone number, or personal
identifying information that discloses the location of any witness or
witness' family member participating in the Witness Relocation and
Assistance Program (WRAP) with the intent that another person
imminently use that information to commit a crime involving violence
or a threat of violence against that witness or witness' family
(2) A violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor punishable by
a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or
imprisonment of up to six months in a county jail, or by both that
fine and imprisonment.
(3) A violation of this subdivision that leads to the bodily
injury of the witness, or of any of the witness' family members who
are participating in the program, is a misdemeanor punishable by a
fine of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisonment of up
to one year in a county jail, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(b) Upon admission to WRAP, local or state prosecutors shall give
each participant a written opt-out form for submission to relevant
Internet search engine companies or entities. This form shall notify
entities of the protected person and prevent the inclusion of the
participant's addresses and telephone numbers in public Internet
(c) A business, state or local agency, private entity, or person
that receives the opt-out form of a WRAP participant pursuant to this
section shall remove the participant's personal information from
public display on the Internet within two business days of delivery
of the opt-out form, and shall continue to ensure that this
information is not reposted on the same Internet Web site, a
subsidiary site, or any other Internet Web site maintained by the
recipient of the opt-out form. No business, state or local agency,
private entity, or person that has received an opt-out form from a
WRAP participant shall solicit, sell, or trade on the Internet the
home address or telephone number of that participant.
(d) A business, state or local agency, private entity, or person
that violates subdivision (c) shall be subject to a civil penalty for
each violation in the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000). An
action for a civil penalty under this subdivision may be brought by
any public prosecutor in the name of the people of the State of
California and the penalty imposed shall be enforceable as a civil
(e) A witness whose home address or telephone number is made
public as a result of a violation of subdivision (c) may bring an
action seeking injunctive or declaratory relief in any court of
competent jurisdiction. If a jury or court finds that a violation has
occurred, it may grant injunctive or declaratory relief and shall
award the witness court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a witness whose
home address or telephone number is solicited, sold, or traded in
violation of subdivision (c) may bring an action in any court of
competent jurisdiction. If a jury or court finds that a violation has
occurred, it shall award damages to that witness in an amount up to
a maximum of three times the actual damages, but in no case less than
four thousand dollars ($4,000).
(g) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under any
other provision of law.
(a) The Attorney General shall establish a liaison with the
United States Marshal's office in order to facilitate the legal
processes over which the federal government has sole authority,
including, but not limited to, those processes included in Section
14024. The liaison shall coordinate all requests for federal
assistance relating to witness protection as established by this
(b) The Attorney General shall pursue all federal sources that may
be available for implementing this program. For that purpose, the
Attorney General shall establish a liaison with the United States
Department of Justice.
(c) The Attorney General, with the California Victim Compensation
and Government Claims Board, shall establish procedures to maximize
federal funds for witness protection services.
Commencing one year after the effective date of this title,
the Attorney General shall make an annual report to the Legislature
no later than January 1 on the fiscal and operational status of the
program. This report shall include the amount of funding sought by
each county, the amount of funding provided to each county, and the
amount of the county match.
The administrative costs of the Attorney General for the
purposes of administering this title shall be limited to 5 percent of
all costs incurred pursuant to this title.
(a) The Governor's budget shall specify the estimated amount
in the Restitution Fund that is in excess of the amount needed to
pay claims pursuant to Sections 13960 to 13965, inclusive, of the
Government Code, to pay administrative costs for increasing
restitution funds, and to maintain a prudent reserve.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that, notwithstanding
Government Code Section 13967, in the annual Budget Act, funds be
appropriated to the Attorney General from those funds that are in
excess of the amount specified pursuant to subdivision (a) for the
purposes of this title.