BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 962


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          Date of Hearing:   April 22, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          962 (Maienschein) - As Introduced February 26, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill adds the crimes of rape, sexual penetration, sodomy,  
          and oral copulation committed against a person who is incapable  
          of giving legal consent due to a mental disorder or  








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          developmental or physical disability to the list of offenses  
          which qualify for (a) application of the "One Strike Sex Law,"  
          and (b) vulnerable-victim enhancement.

          FISCAL EFFECT:


          According to the California Department of Corrections (CDCR),  
          the contracted out-of-state bed rate is $29,000.  Approximately  
          30 individuals are admitted under the targeted sex crimes  
          annually.  If 10 percent were targeted for the specified  
          victims, the additional costs to CDCR for the enhancements would  
          be $87,000 (GF) the first additional year, $174,000 (GF) the  
          second year, etc. for each additional year added to the original  
          sentence. 


          COMMENTS:


          1)Background.  The One Strike Sex Crime Law is a separate  
            sentencing scheme which was enacted to provide life sentences  
            for certain aggravated sex offenders, even if they do not have  
            prior convictions. Under this scheme, a first-time offender  
            who commits a qualifying sex offense under one or more of the  
            circumstances listed in the statute is subject to a mandatory  
            sentence of 15 years to life or 25 years to life.  The facts  
            that bring a defendant within the provisions of the One Strike  
            Law are grouped into two categories.  If a defendant commits a  
            qualifying crime under one circumstance listed, then he or she  
            will receive a sentence of 15 years to life.  If a defendant  
            commits a qualifying crime under one or more circumstances  
            listed under a second category, or two or more circumstances  
            listed under the first category, then he or she will receive a  
            sentence of 25 years to life.  The distinction is that the  
            aggravating circumstances listed in the second category are  
            more severe than those listed in first category. 










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            Current law provides various sentencing enhancements if a  
            person commits specific sex crimes against a victim who is  
            incapable of giving legal consent due to a mental disorder or  
            developmental or physical disability, or meets specific age  
            criteria.  


          2)Purpose.  According to the author, "Under AB 962, the scope of  
            existing penalty enhancements [in current law] will be  
            expanded, thus allowing prosecutors to obtain higher penalties  
            when sex crimes are committed against vulnerable individuals  
            specifically where it is difficult or impossible to prove  
            force was used due to the nature of the victim's disability.   
            In the recent California example, this was imperative as the  
            victim's disability makes her incapable of speech or  
            movement."



          "Additionally, AB 962 will expand One Strike base crime offenses  
            to include sex crimes involving a victim who is incapable of  
            giving consent due to a disability when performed in  
            conjunction with other aggravating circumstances, such as  
            kidnapping, restraining or use of a deadly weapon."

          "All victims deserve equal protection under the law.  AB 962  
            will allow for more equitable punishment for those who commit  
            heinous crimes against victims who do not have the ability to  
            protect themselves."
            This bill adds crimes to the list of offenses which can be  
            prosecuted under the One Strike Law.  The additional  
            aggravating circumstances must still be pled and proven to a  
            jury.


          1)Argument in Support:  According to the Arc and United Cerebral  
            Palsy California Collaboration, "Sexual assault of people with  
            developmental disabilities can legitimately be called an  
            epidemic.  Your bill will increase penalties for the  








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            relatively few persons who the criminal justice system is able  
            to convict of this vile crime, keeping them in prison and  
            preventing their predation of non-incarcerated persons [with]  
            developmental disabilities for longer periods of time."

          4)Argument in Opposition:  The California Public Defenders  
            Association writes, "This legislation is not needed and is  
            redundant because someone who in the course of committing a  
            sexual assault kidnaps the victim, commits a burglary, uses a  
            weapon, inflicts great bodily injury, or ties the victim up or  
            has a prior sexual assault is already subject to the enhanced  
            punishment provisions, 15 or 25 years to life, of Penal Code  
            Section 667.61.  What this legislation does is add merely the  
            status of the disability of the victim."

          5)Related Legislation:

             a)   AB 1272 (Grove) authorizes a judicial officer to issue  
               an ex parte emergency protective order when an officer has  
               reason to believe that a developmentally-disabled person is  
               in immediate danger of sexual exploitation by a  
               developmental disability residential service provider.  AB  
               1272 is pending in Assembly Judiciary.

             b)   SB 164 (Beall) provides that where a defendant has been  
               convicted of a One-Strike qualifying crime in two separate  
               cases, he or she is subject to a life term under the law  
               regardless of the order of the convictions.  SB 164 is  
               pending Senate Appropriations.

          6)Prior Legislation:

             a)   AB 1335 (Maienschein), of the 2013-2014 Legislative  
               Session, a substantially similar bill was held on the  
               Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file.

             b)   AB 313 (Zettel), Chapter 569, Statutes of 1999, added  
               deaf and developmentally disabled persons as qualifying  
               victims to the existing enhancement statute for serious  








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               crimes committed against the elderly, children under age  
               14, and persons who are either blind, a paraplegic, or  
               quadriplegic.

             c)   SBx1 26 (Bergeson), Chapter 14, Statutes of 1994,  
               codified the One-Strike Sex Law.

          Analysis Prepared by:Pedro R. Reyes / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081