Social media allows us to share the most compelling moments of our lives. All too often, those moments include fist fights and criminal activity. It’s almost impossible to see a fight in public without also seeing dozens of cellphones recording it while people shout “World Star!” Now, it seems that some young people may even think it’s “cool” to commit crimes on video.
For this reason, California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make it a crime to film or record violent crimes.
Jordan’s Law (AB 1542)
Assembly Bill 1542, which was introduced by Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Encino), proposes to make it a crime to record video of any violent felony.
The bill is being referred to as “Jordan’s Law” because it was proposed based on an incident involving 14-year-old Jordan Peisner. Jordan was punched in the head by an unprovoked teen in 2016. While the incident took place, a teenage female who had prior knowledge of the perpetrator’s planned attack recorded it and posted it on the social media app Snapchat.
Dababneh hopes Jordan’s Law will address an increase in violent attacks being conducted for the sole purpose of filming and sharing them on social media. At a news conference at Peisner’s school, Dababneh said that the crime was “no different than someone driving the getaway car in a bank robbery.”
Posting Fights on Social Media Could Be a Crime (PC 667.95)
If passed into law, AB 1542 would add Section 667.95 to the California Penal Code, making it illegal to willfully record a video or conspire with another person to record a video of a violent felony.
If you are the person committing the felony and you conspire with another person to have the act recorded, you face an additional one year added to the punishment you face for committing the violent crime. Say, for instance, that you’re accused of assault with a deadly weapon. A felony violation of this crime carries up to four years in prison, so you would face up to five years in prison if you conspired with someone to record the incident.
Furthermore, if you willfully work with the perpetrator to record a video of a violent felony, you face imprisonment for 16 months, 2 or 3 years and a $5,000 fine.
AB 1542 is not meant to target those who film crimes as innocent bystanders. The bill’s language is designed to protect those who record violent crimes that they see happening or knew were likely to happen. If you are falsely accused of violating this proposed law, you are authorized to submit your video to the police as evidence at the first reasonable opportunity.
Do you think this bill goes too far in punishing people who record crimes? Do you think that people who record violent felonies should face felony charges themselves? Let us know in the comments section below.
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