BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 333
          Author:   Lieu (D)
          Amended:  4/16/13
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  7-0, 4/9/13
          AYES:  Hancock, Anderson, Block, De León, Knight, Liu, Steinberg

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8


           SUBJECT  :    Crimes:  emergencies:  false reporting

           SOURCE  :     Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department


           DIGEST  :    This bill provides that any individual convicted of  
          filing a false emergency report is liable to a public agency for  
          the reasonable cost of the emergency response by the public  
          agency.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1. Provides that any individual who reports, or causes any  
             report to be made, to any city, county, city and county, or  
             state department, district, agency, division, commission or  
             board, that an emergency exists, knowing that the report is  
             false, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment  

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             in a county jail for period not exceeding one year and/or by  
             a fine of not exceeding $1,000 (plus penalty assessments).  

          2. Provides that any individual who reports, or causes any  
             report to be made to any city, county, city and county, or  
             state department, district, agency, division, commission or  
             board that any "emergency" exists and who knows the report is  
             false, and who knows or should know that response to the  
             report is likely to cause death or great bodily injury, and  
             great bodily injury or death is sustained by any person as a  
             result of the false report is guilty of a felony and upon  
             conviction shall be punishable by imprisonment in the county  
             jail for 16 months, two or three years and/or a fine of not  
             more than $10,000 (plus penalty assessments). 

          3. Provides that "emergency" means any condition that results  
             in, or could result in, the response of a public official in  
             an authorized emergency vehicle, aircraft, or vessel, any  
             condition that jeopardizes or could jeopardize public safety  
             and results in, or could result in, the evacuation of any  
             area, building, structure, vehicle, or any other place that  
             any individual may enter, or any situation that results in or  
             could result in activation of the Emergency Alert System.  

          This bill:

          1. Provides that any individual convicted, resulting in an  
             emergency response, is liable to a public agency for the  
             reasonable costs of the emergency response by the public  
             agency.

          2. Provides that nothing in these provisions precludes  
             punishment for the conduct prescribed by existing law, under  
             any other law providing for greater punishment.

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

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified 4/30/13)

          Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (source)
          California Police Chiefs Association
          California State Sheriffs' Association
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           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  4/30/13)

          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
          "Swatting" recently has grown to near-epidemic proportions in  
          California-particularly throughout Los Angeles County.  Swatting  
          is when an individual makes prank calls and/or false reports of  
          violent crimes to law enforcement in an attempt to solicit a  
          tactical police response that often includes a SWAT team (thus  
          the term "swatting").

          Swatting incidents have already resulted in injuries for several  
          responding officers, and many law enforcement officials fear  
          that it is only a matter of time before events take a deadly  
          turn.  Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck acknowledged in the  
          Los Angeles Times that swatting has stretched the Los Angeles  
          Police Department's emergency response capacity while also  
          endangering victims by placing them in potential confrontation  
          with police.

          Swatting not only is an inconvenience to the victims but also a  
          costly waste of precious law enforcement resources.  Law  
          enforcement takes every emergency reported and uses its  
          resources to maximize public safety.  But at a time a false  
          report is given, law enforcement is unaware that it is a  
          hoax-until they get to the scene of the alleged crime.

          Given recent tragedies involving gun violence nationwide, pranks  
          that divert public safety resources are far from harmless, and,  
          in fact, are the last thing needed; they must be deterred.  This  
          bill seeks to create a greater deterrent and provide law  
          enforcement with the ability to help recoup expenses within the  
          criminal case, which reportedly can run as high as $10,000 per  
          incident.

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    California Attorneys for Criminal  
          Justice writes:

            This legislation is simply unnecessary, as existing law more  
            than adequately addresses this type of behavior, and already  
            provides an effective method of obtaining restitution for the  
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            actual cost of unnecessary emergency response.  It is also  
            contrary to all settled principals of intent and knowledge  
            contained in our system of criminal justice.

            ? SB 333 would add subsection (e) to Section 148.3 providing  
            for restitution for the reasonable cost of the response to a  
            false report of an emergency.  Please note that Section  
            653x(c), which can also be charged alternatively in almost any  
            case involving the false report of an emergency, currently  
            provides for full restitution if there is an actual emergency  
            response.  Be that as it may, this type of restitution  
            provision is totally unnecessary in any Penal Code section.   
            Ample case law exists that states that persons who commit  
            crimes are financially liable for all of the reasonable and  
            natural damages suffered by any victim as the result of that  
            criminal conduct.  Subsection (d) adds nothing to current law.  
           

          JG:k  5/1/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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