California lawmakers are pushing several new bills that will address how the state punishes sex crimes. If passed into law, these bills will increase the penalties for sex crime convictions, especially those committed against minors and women.
Redefining Rape and Sentencing
Lawmakers have introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 2888, AB 701, and AB 29 in hopes of redefining rape and sexual assault and introducing a mandatory punishment for rape. AB 701 proposes that all forms of non-consensual penetration be considered rape. The bill was created in response to the Brock Turner sexual assault case where the Stanford student was sentenced to only six months in jail after being convicted of sexually assaulting a woman.
AB 2888 would ensure that sex crimes such as rape and sexual assault on a minor have mandatory minimum prison sentences. Under this law, courts would not be able to grant probation or prevent sentencing to those convicted of these crimes.
If passed, AB 29 would require anyone convicted of raping an unconscious person to serve out their full sentence with no time off for good behavior.
All of these bills have passed in the Senate and currently await a final vote.
Addressing Human Trafficking in California
Prostitution and human trafficking are additional targets of these proposed laws.
AB 1708 proposes a minimum fine and mandatory minimum jail time for anyone engaging in prostitution or paying for sex. The punishment would be up to six months in county jail and fines of up a $1,000. The bill will be voted on by the Senate at a later date.
In an attempt to shine a light on human trafficking, AB 1276 would allow child witnesses ages 15 or younger to testify in court. Minors will be able to give their testimony through closed-circuit televisions in a location outside the presence of a judge, jury, defendants, and attorneys. This would allow potential child victims to come forward with their story without the pressure of having to appear in court in front of many people. Continue reading →