SB 94



This bill would provide for judicial review for individuals serving life without parole or sentenced to death for offenses committed before June 5, 1990, and who have served at least 20 years of their sentence. Courts will review evidence of mitigating factors or reduced risk of violence consistent with changes in California law enacted in intervening years. In these cases, judges will have the discretion to leave the sentence unchanged or to resentence the person to a lesser sentence.

Chryl Lamar’s powerful testimony in front of the legislators

Watch Felony Murder Elimination Project Board Member Chryl Lamar’s powerful testimony in front of the legislators who make up the public safety committee.

Chryl “Ms.” Lamar is an advocate with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. Ms. Lamar was incarcerated in September 1986 and survived the next 34 years of an LWOP sentence. Lamar was released December 2020, at age 69.

Read Ms. Lamar’s Testimony

My name is Chyrl Lamar, and after being commuted by Governor Newsom, I came home December 2020 after serving 34 years on a double LWOP sentence.  Decades of self-motivated rehabilitation allowed me to understand how my childhood impacted my life and crime, for example being abandoned at one month old by my mother and being molested at the age of 9 by family members, and take full responsibility for my healing.

Had I still been inside today I would be eligible for SB94 should it pass. SB94 would restore judicial discretion, allowing judges to review cases that were imposed in the 1970s and 80s. This bill does not guarantee resentencing or release, but allows judges to decide if a parole-eligible sentence is in line with modern-day sentencing practices.

Realizing that there were no parole options available for me, I still exhibited decades of exemplary behavior, participated in self-motivated self-help programming, working to understand the root cause of my behavior to be truly accountable for my actions. It changed and transformed me, and I devoted myself to becoming a positive member of my community inside the justice system.  

My sentence told me I had no hope or chance, yet I maintained hope. Society had written me off as the worst of the worst, yet I have proven that it is possible to reenter society and become a productive member dedicated to giving back.

After spending my entire adult life inside, I know there are so many elderly serving LWOP and the death penalty that are doing positive programming or are too sick to work. They deserve a second look. SB94 would be beneficial for public safety, public health, and our budget. I urge you to take this into consideration and pass this bill. 

Letters of Support for SB 94

Visit the California Legislature Position Letter Portal which was designed to facilitate the submission of position letters to committees as bills move through California’s legislative process. 

How to Get Started

After completing a one-time registration to obtain a username and password, log in to submit your position letter as a registered lobbyist, organization or individual seeking to communicate your views to the bill author’s staff as well as the committee that will be hearing the bill.

SB 94 Fact Sheet


CA State Senator Dave Cortese Drafts Bill to Allow Judicial Review of Decades-Old Sentences

February 7, 2023

Posted by Vanguard Administrator

Special to the Vanguard

A coalition is co-sponsoring California Senate Bill 94 sponsored by Senator Dave Cortese.  SB 94 will provide judicial review for individuals serving life without parole or sentenced to death for offenses committed before June 5, 1990 and who have served at least 20 years of their sentence.

Felony Murder Elimination Project Director Joanne Scheer said, “Felony Murder Elimination Project is extremely honored to have Senator Dave Cortese author Senate Bill 94 this year!”

She added, “We are excited to be cosponsoring alongside Ella Baker Center for Human RightsCalifornia Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP)Citizens United for a Responsible Budget (CURB)FUEL – Families United to End LWOPAnti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC)Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition, and FAMM – Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “

Read story here from the Davis Vanguard

Photo – Senator Cortese speaking in San Jose in November 2021 on SB 300

Bill Would Allow Judicial Review of Special Circumstance Offenses

January 21, 2023

Posted by Vanguard Administrator

By Cynthia Hoang-Duong

SAN JOSE, CA – Bay Area State Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) has announced he’s drafted SB 94, a progressive criminal justice reform bill to provide Californians who received the death penalty or are serving life in prison—especially elderly prisoners—with the opportunity to have their cases reviewed.

Read story here from the Davis Vanguard

Photo credit: PC: Santa Clara County via


8th Amendment Project; 

A New Way of Life Reentry Project; 

Alliance for Boys and Men of Color; 

American Friends Service Committee; 

Amnesty International USA; 

Asian Pacific Islander 

Re-entry and Inclusion Through Support and Empowerment; 

Asian Prisoner Support Committee; 

Bend the Arc: 

Jewish Action California; 

Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA); 

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries; 

California Attorneys for Criminal Justice; 

California Catholic Conference; California Coalition for Women Prisoners; 

California Families Against Solitary Confinement; 

California Immigrant Policy Center;

 California Native Vote Project; 

California Public Defenders Association (CPDA); 

Californians for Safety and Justice; 

Californians United for A Responsible Budget; 

Center for Employment Opportunities; 

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice; 

City of Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao; 

Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ); 

Community Agency for Resources, Advocacy and Services; 

Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto; 

Courage California; 

Cure California; 

Decarcerate Sacramento; 

Drop LWOP Coalition; 

Drug Policy Alliance; 

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; 

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) 

Fiscally Sponsored by Community Partners; 

End Solitary Santa Cruz County; 

FUEL – Families United to End LWOP; 

Fair Chance Project. 

Faith in Action East Bay; 

Families Against Mandatory Minimums Foundation; 

Felony Murder Elimination Project; 

Foundation Aussergewöhnlich Berlin; 

Friends Committee on Legislation of California; 

Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Livermore, CA; 

Housing and Economic Rights Advocates; 

Human Rights Watch; 


Lawyering for Reproductive Justice; 

Individual; Indivisible CA Statestrong; 

Indivisible Sacramento; 

Indivisible San Francisco; 

Indivisible Yolo; 

Initiate Justice; 

Inland Equity Partnership; 

Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity; 

Islamic Shura Council of Southern California; 

John Burton Advocates for Youth; 

Justice2jobs Coalition;

 La Defensa; 

Latinojustice Prldef;

 Law Enforcement Action Partnership; 

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of The San 

Francisco Bay Area; 

Legal Services for Prisoners With Children; 

Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition; 

Milpa (motivating Individual Leadership for Public Advancement);

 National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter; 

National Center for Lesbian Rights; 

National Harm Reduction Coalition; 

North Bay Jobs With Justice; 

Peninsula Multifaith Coalition; 

Prosecutors Alliance California; 

Restore Oakland, INC.; 

Root & Rebound; 

Safe Return Project; 

San Francisco Public Defender; 

Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos INC.; 

Secure Justice; 

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area; 

Showing Up for Racial Justice Santa Cruz County; 

Silicon Valley De-bug; 

Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition 

Smart Justice California; 

Social Change; 

Starting Over, INC.; 

Survived & Punished; 

Techequity Collaborative; 

The Place4grace; 

The Resistance Northridge-indivisible; 

The San Diego Lgbt Community Center; 

The Transformative In-prison Workgroup; 

Unapologetically Hers; Uncommon Law; 

Underground Grit; 

Underground Scholars Initiative At the University of California, Irvine; 

United Core Alliance; 

White People 4 Black Lives; Y

Young Women’s Freedom Center