A new bill introduced in the California Senate would abolish the Coroner’s Office and replace it with a Medical Examiner's Office.
This comes after San Joaquin County’s chief medical examiner resigned after saying the sheriff-coroner interfered with autopsies.
The proposed bill would only apply to counties with a population over 500,000 and make the medical examiner an appointed position, not an elected one.
Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento and Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton are behind the proposed change, which would be mandatory at the start of 2019.
Galgiani says autopsies, especially officer-involved cases, should not be subject to any conflict of interest.
“You want that process to be transparent and above reproach and it should be to preserve the integrity of the investigation and to gain public trust that that process is fair and not bias,” she said.
The legislation would affect about 15 of the 58 counties in the state.
San Joaquin County is currently conducting a study to determine if it will separate the two offices.
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