BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                      



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   SB 390|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                         |
          |1020 N Street, Suite 524          |                         |
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 390
          Author:   La Malfa (R)
          Amended:  4/7/11
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 3/29/11
          AYES:  Hancock, Anderson, Harman, Liu, Price, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Calderon

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8


           SUBJECT  :    Crimes:  assault and battery:  search and 
          rescue teams

           SOURCE  :     California State Sheriffs Association


           DIGEST  :    This bill, includes search and rescue personnel 
          in existing misdemeanor assault and battery crimes 
          applicable where the victim is a firefighter, peace 
          officer, emergency medical technician or other 
          similarly-situated professional, as specified.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law establishes the crime of assault 
          against specified public safety officers, such as peace 
          officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians, 
          among others, while engaged in the performance of their 
          duties, as specified.  The offense is punishable by a fine 
          not exceeding $2,000, or by imprisonment in a county jail 
          not exceeding one year, or by both the fine and 
          imprisonment.
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          This bill expands the scope of the offense to include 
          search and rescue members, as defined, while engaged in the 
          performance of their duties, as specified.

          Existing law establishes the crime of battery against 
          specified public safety officers, such as peace officers, 
          firefighters, and emergency medical technicians, among 
          others, while engaged in the performance of their duties, 
          as specified.  The offense is punishable, except when the 
          victim sustains an injury, by a fine not exceeding $2,000, 
          or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, 
          or by both the fine and imprisonment, or if the victim 
          sustains an injury, the offense is punishable by a fine of 
          not more than $2,000, by imprisonment in a county jail not 
          exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, 
          or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or 2 
          or 3 years.

          This bill expands the scope of the battery offense and the 
          battery offense where described above where the victim 
          sustains does not sustain an injury, to include a search 
          and rescue member, as defined, while engaged in the 
          performance of his/her duty, as specified.

           Background
           
           Example of Assault on a Search and Rescue Team Member  .  The 
          author's office has provided the Senate Public Safety 
          Committee with an example of a battery on a volunteer 
          sergeant in a search and rescue team.  On February 28, 
          2010, a team was searching for Chelsea King near a freeway 
          in San Diego.  A truck traveling on the freeway spun out of 
          control and into a ditch.  Joseph Charmasson, a volunteer 
          search and rescue sergeant, ran to the truck to assist the 
          occupants.  Charmasson was wearing a search and rescue unit 
          uniform.

          As Charmasson opened the door of the truck, the driver 
          punched him in the face with a closed fist.  After a brief 
          struggle, Charmasson was able to seize the truck keys and 
          detain the driver in the truck.  Sheriff's deputies then 
          arrived and arrested the driver.  Charmasson did not need 
          medical treatment.







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           Prior Legislation
           
          SB 1509 (Lowenthal), Chapter. 410, Statutes of 2008
          SB 1686 (Leno), Chapter 243, Statutes of 2007
          SB 919 (Ortiz), Chapter 274, Statutes of 2003

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes   
          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT :   (Verified  5/3/11)

          California State Sheriffs' Association (source)
          Alameda County Sheriff
          California Police Chiefs Association
          Fresno County Sheriff
          Kern County Sheriff
          Kings County Sheriff
          Lassen County Sheriff
          Shasta County Sheriff

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office, 
          search and rescue personnel are trained and organized by 
          county sheriff's departments to participate in disaster 
          response, evacuations and body recovery.  In performing 
          their duties, they are often put in harm's way, sacrificing 
          their personal safety to provide public safety.  This bill 
          serves to recognize the critical support role that search 
          and rescue personnel play in sheriffs' offices by 
          increasing the maximum penalties for both assault and 
          battery of search and rescue team members.  If passed, the 
          misdemeanor penalties would be equal to those applied to 
          assault and battery of similar law enforcement and public 
          safety personnel, including peace officers, firefighters 
          and emergency medical technicians, among others.


          RJG:do  5/3/11   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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