BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 333
                                                                  Page  1

          SB 333 (Lieu)
          As Amended  August 12, 2013
          Majority vote

           SENATE VOTE  :   35-0

           PUBLIC SAFETY       7-0         APPROPRIATIONS      17-0        
          |Ayes:|Ammiano, Melendez,        |Ayes:|Gatto, Harkey, Bigelow,   |
          |     |Jones-Sawyer, Mitchell,   |     |Bocanegra, Bradford, Ian  |
          |     |Quirk, Skinner, Waldron   |     |Calderon, Campos,         |
          |     |                          |     |Donnelly, Eggman, Gomez,  |
          |     |                          |     |Hall, Holden, Linder,     |
          |     |                          |     |Pan, Quirk, Wagner, Weber |

           SUMMARY  :  Makes a person convicted of filing a false emergency  
          report liable for the costs of the emergency response.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Specifies that any person convicted of filing a false  
            emergency report is liable to a public agency for the  
            reasonable costs of the emergency response by that agency.

          2)Specifies that nothing in these provisions precludes  
            punishment under any other provision of law which provides for  
            greater punishment.

          EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Provides that it is a misdemeanor to knowingly report a false  
            emergency, but that this conduct is a felony if the offense  
            results in great bodily injury or death.  

          2)Makes it a misdemeanor to telephone the 911 emergency line  
            with the intent to annoy or harass another person.  Punishment  
            is by a fine of not more than $1,000; by imprisonment in a  
            county jail for not more than six months; or by both the fine  
            and imprisonment.  Specifies that intent to annoy or harass is  
            established by proof of repeated calls over a period of time,  
            however short, that are unreasonable under the circumstances.   


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          3)Imposes liability for all reasonable costs incurred by any  
            unnecessary emergency response when a person is convicted of  
            use of the 911 emergency line with intent to harass.  

          4)States any person who knowingly allows the use or who uses the  
            911 telephone system for any reason other than because of an  
            emergency, as specified, is guilty of an infraction.  

          5)Expresses the unequivocal intent of the people of the State of  
            California that all persons who suffer losses as a result of  
            criminal activity shall have the right to restitution from the  
            persons convicted of the crimes for losses they suffer.   
            Restitution shall be ordered from the convicted persons in  
            every case, regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed,  
            in which a crime victim suffers a loss, unless compelling and  
            extraordinary reasons exist to the contrary. 

          6)Requires full victim restitution for economic losses  
            determined by the court.  

          7)Defines a "victim" for purposes of restitution, as including  
            any corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership,  
            association, joint venture, government, governmental  
            subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any other legal or  
            commercial entity when that entity is a direct victim of a  

          8)Requires the sentencing court to consider in probation cases  
            whether the defendant shall make restitution to a public  
            agency for the costs of an emergency response as a condition  
            of probation.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, negligible costs and/or savings.  Current law already  
          establishes financial liability.

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, "False emergency 911 calls  
          have become increasingly common in the past few months as they  
          involve entertainers, celebrities and other public officials.   
          Celebrities get the public's attention but they are not the only  
          ones who have been targeted; the U.S. Coast Guard, many private  
          individuals, and local law enforcement officials have also  
          fallen victim to the swatting hoax.

          "Swatting not only stretches our local emergency response  


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          capacity but also endangers victims by placing them in potential  
          confrontation with police.  Several officers have already been  
          injured responding to swatting incidents.

          "Swatting also is a costly waste of precious law enforcement  
          resources.  Law enforcement takes every emergency reported and  
          uses its resources to maximize public safety.  But at the 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  

           Celebrity "Swatting"  :  According to a recent CNN report,  
          "swatting" is essentially a prank call which "earned the  
          nickname 'swatting' because law enforcement agencies sometimes  
          would send SWAT teams to respond to the false emergencies."   
          These "pranks have sent police rushing with guns drawn to a  
          growing A-list [sic] of celebrity homes in recent weeks."    

          Please see the policy committee analysis for a full discussion  
          of this bill.  

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Sandy Uribe / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744 

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