Amended in Assembly May 13, 2015

Amended in Assembly May 5, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 538


Introduced by Assembly Member Campos

February 23, 2015


An act to amend Section 340.3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and to add Section 5065.5 to the Penal Code, relating to criminal offenders.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 538, as amended, Campos. Actions for damages: felony offenses: victim notification.

Existing law provides for the time of commencing civil actions other than for the recovery of real property, as specified. Under existing law, unless a longer period is prescribed for a specific action, an action for damages against a defendant based upon the defendant’s commission of a felony offense for which the defendant has been convicted is required to be brought within one year after the judgment has been pronounced. Existing law also authorizes an action for damages to be brought within 10 years of the date on which the defendant is discharged from parole if the conviction was for any of certain serious felonies, as specified. Under existing law, a civil action cannot be commenced pursuant to these provisions if a defendant has received a certificate of rehabilitation or a pardon, among other circumstances.

This bill would increase from 10 to 15 years the statute of limitations for an action for damages if the conviction was for any enumerated felonies. This bill would also provide that a civil action cannot be commenced pursuant to these provisions if the defendant was unlawfully imprisoned or restrained but has been released from prison after successfully prosecuting a writ of habeas corpus.

Under existing law, a crime victim or family member of a crime victim may request certain information from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation regarding the status of a criminal offender.

This bill would require a person or entity that enters into a contract with a criminal offender for the sale of the story of a crime for which the offender was convicted to notify the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and for the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services to, in turn, notify the victim or immediate family member of the victim if he or she has requested notification.

This bill would also correct an erroneous cross-reference.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 340.3 of the Code of Civil Procedure is
2amended to read:

3

340.3.  

(a) Unless a longer period is prescribed for a specific
4action, in any action for damages against a defendant based upon
5the defendant’s commission of a felony offense for which the
6defendant has been convicted, the time for commencement of the
7action shall be within one year after judgment is pronounced.

8(b) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), an action for damages
9against a defendant based upon the defendant’s commission of a
10felony offense for which the defendant has been convicted may
11be commenced within 15 years of the date on which the defendant
12is discharged from parole if the conviction was for any offense
13specified in paragraph (1), except voluntary manslaughter, (2),
14(3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (9), (16), (17), (20), (22), (25), (34), or (35)
15of subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7 of the Penal Code.

16(2) No civil action may be commenced pursuant to paragraph
17(1) if any of the following applies:

18(A) The defendant has received either a certificate of
19rehabilitation as provided in Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section
204852.01) of Title 6 of Part 3 of the Penal Code or a pardon as
21provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 4800) or Chapter
P3    13 (commencing with Section 4850) of Title 6 of Part 3 of the Penal
2Code.

3(B) Following a conviction for murder or attempted murder,
4the defendant has been paroled based in whole or in part upon
5evidence presented to the Board of Prison Terms that the defendant
6committed the crime because he or she was the victim of intimate
7partner battering.

8(C) The defendant was convicted of murder or attempted murder
9in the second degree in a trial at which substantial evidence was
10presented that the person committed the crime because he or she
11was a victim of intimate partner battering.

12(D) The defendant was unlawfully imprisoned or restrained but
13has been released from prison after successfully prosecuting a writ
14of habeas corpus pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section
151473) of Title 12 of Part 2 of the Penal Code.

16(c) If the sentence or judgment is stayed, the time for the
17commencement of the action shall be tolled until the stay is lifted.
18For purposes of this section, a judgment is not stayed if the
19judgment is appealed or the defendant is placed on probation.

20(d) (1) Subdivision (b) shall apply to any action commenced
21before, on, or after the effective date of this section, including any
22action otherwise barred by a limitation of time in effect prior to
23the effective date of this section, thereby reviving those causes of
24action that had lapsed or expired under the law in effect prior to
25the effective date of this section.

26(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to either of the following:

27(A) Any claim that has been litigated to finality on the merits
28in any court of competent jurisdiction prior to January 1, 2003.
29For purposes of this section, termination of a prior action on the
30basis of the statute of limitations does not constitute a claim that
31has been litigated to finality on the merits.

32(B) Any written, compromised settlement agreement that has
33been entered into between a plaintiff and a defendant if the plaintiff
34was represented by an attorney who was admitted to practice law
35in this state at the time of the settlement, and the plaintiff signed
36the agreement.

37(e) Any restitution paid by the defendant to the victim shall be
38credited against any judgment, award, or settlement obtained
39pursuant to this section. Any judgment, award, or settlement
P4    1obtained pursuant to an action under this section shall be subject
2to the provisions of Section 13963 of the Government Code.

3

SEC. 2.  

Section 5065.5 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

4

5065.5.  

(a) For purposes of this section, “immediate family
5member” means a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandchild, or
6grandparent.

7(b) A person or entity that enters into a contract with a criminal
8offender for the sale of the story of a crime for which the offender
9was convicted shall notify the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights
10and Services within the California Department of Corrections and
11Rehabilitation that the parties have entered into a contract for sale
12of the offender’s story if both of the following conditions are met:

13(1) The conviction was for any offense specified in paragraph
14(1), except voluntary manslaughter, (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (9),
15(16), (17), (20), (22), (25), (34), or (35) of subdivision (c) of
16Section 1192.7.

17(2) begin deleteParagraph (2) of subdivision end deletebegin insertSubdivision end insert(b) of Section 340.3
18of the Code of Civil Procedure does not preclude commencement
19of a civil action against the criminal offender.

20(c) Within 90 days of being notified, the Office of Victim and
21Survivor Rights and Services shall notify any victim or member
22of the victim’s immediate family who has requested notification
23of the existence of a contract described by this section.



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