BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 2481


                                                                    Page  1


          Date of Hearing:  April 12, 2016
          Counsel:               Sandra Uribe


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                       Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., Chair





          AB  
                    2481 (Lackey) - As Introduced  February 19, 2016




          SUMMARY:  Makes the use of a crossbow in the commission of  
          specified felonies subject to a state prison enhancement of 10,  
          20, or 25 years to life.  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)States that a person who personally uses a crossbow the  
            commission of specified felonies shall receive an additional  
            and consecutive 10 year prison term.  The crossbow need not be  
            operable or loaded for this enhancement to apply.

          2)States that a person who personally and intentionally  
            discharges a crossbow in the commission of specified felonies  
            shall receive an additional and consecutive 20 year prison  
            term. 

          3)States that a person who personally and intentionally  
            discharges a crossbow in the commission of specified felonies  
            and causes great bodily injury or death to anyone, other than  
            an accomplice, shall receive an additional and consecutive 25  
            year prison term.  

          4)Defines "crossbow" as "any device that is designed to fire a  
            bolt or arrow projectile by releasing a string or wire held at  
            tension, including, but not limited to, crossbows, compound  








                                                                    AB 2481


                                                                    Page  2


            bows, and long bows."

          5)Names these provisions the "Charles Emmanuel Briggs Memorial  
            Act of 2016."

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)States that a person who personally uses a firearm in the  
            commission of specified felonies shall receive an additional  
            and consecutive 10 year prison term.  The firearm need not be  
            operable or loaded for this enhancement to apply.  (Pen. Code,  
             12022.53, subd. (b).)

          2)States that a person who personally and intentionally  
            discharges a firearm in the commission of specified felonies  
            shall receive an additional and consecutive 20 year prison  
            term.  (Pen. Code,  12022.53, subd. (c).)

          3)States that a person who personally and intentionally  
            discharges a firearm in the commission of specified felonies  
            and causes great bodily injury or death to anyone, other than  
            an accomplice, shall receive an additional and consecutive 25  
            year prison term.  (Pen. Code,  12022.53, subd. (d).)

          4)Applies these enhancements to the following crimes:  

             a)   Murder;

             b)   Mayhem;

             c)   Kidnapping;

             d)   Robbery;

             e)   Carjacking;

             f)   Assault with intent to commit a specified felony;

             g)   Rape;

             h)   Rape or sexual penetration in concert;









                                                                    AB 2481


                                                                    Page  3


             i)   Sodomy;

             j)   Lewd act on a child;

             aa)  Oral copulation;

             bb)  Sexual penetration;

             cc)  Assault by a life prisoner or prisoner;

             dd)  Holding a hostage by a prisoner;

             ee)  Any felony punishable by death or life in prison; and

             ff)  Any attempt to commit these crimes.  (Pen. Code,   
               12022.53, subd. (a).)  

          5)Prohibits the court from striking an allegation or a finding  
            on a personal-firearm-use enhancement.  (Pen. Code,   
            12022.53, subd. (h).)

          6)Limits conduct credits for a defendant who receives a  
            personal-firearm-use enhancement to 15 percent.  (Pen. Code,   
            12022.53, subd. (i).)

          7)States that a person who is armed with a firearm in the  
            commission of a felony or attempted felony shall receive an  
            additional and consecutive one-year enhancement unless the  
            arming is an element of the offense.  (Pen. Code,  12022,  
            subd. (a)(1).)

          8)States that a person who personally uses a deadly or dangerous  
            weapon in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall  
            receive an additional and consecutive one-year enhancement  
            unless use of the weapon is an element of the offense.  (Pen.  
            Code,  12022, subd. (b)(1).)

          9)States that when two or more enhancements may be imposed for  
            being armed with or using a dangerous or deadly weapon or  
            firearm in the commission of a single offense, only the  
            greatest of those enhancements shall be imposed for that  
            offense.  This shall not limit the imposition of other  








                                                                    AB 2481


                                                                    Page  4


            applicable enhancements, including an enhancement for the  
            infliction of great bodily injury.  (Pen. Code,  1170.1,  
            subd. (f).)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "Compound bows,  
            crossbows, and traditional bows are objects that are  
            specifically used for sports and hunting. However some  
            individuals may intend to use these devices to inflict harm  
            that can lead to injury or even death. Unfortunately, this was  
            the case when on August 23, 2014, Charles Emmanuel Briggs Jr.  
            was murdered in Lancaster, CA while intervening to stop a case  
            of domestic violence at a neighbor's home. The perpetrator of  
            this crime intentionally used a compound bow as a weapon on  
            Mr. Briggs who was fatally injured after shot by a bolt from  
            the compound bow. 

          "Ensuring that equal punishment and justice is achieved for  
            crimes committed with crossbows, compound bows, or traditional  
            bows can be addressed by enhancing sentencing on crimes  
            committed with these weapons. Current law adds only 1 year to  
            a sentence when a weapon like a compound bow or crossbow is  
            used in a crime. This bill makes California's sentence  
            enhancement for firearms also apply to crimes committed with  
            crossbows, compound bows, and traditional bows by applying 10,  
            20 or 25 years of sentence enhancements for crimes that use  
            these objects depending on the crime. It is important to send  
            a strong message that criminal behavior using weapons that are  
            equally deadly as firearms will be punished with a similar  
            sentence. The Charles Emmanuel Briggs Act of 2016 will ensure  
            that justice is brought to future victims of this type of  
            violence."

          2)Firearm Use Enhancement:  Penal Code section 12022.53 enhances  
            the sentence of certain qualifying crimes when those offenses  
            involve the use of a firearm.  The statutory scheme recognizes  
            different degrees of culpability and imposes three gradations  
            of punishment based on increasingly serious types and  
            consequences of firearm use.  (People v. Palacios (2007) 41  








                                                                    AB 2481


                                                                    Page  5


            Cal.4th 720, 725, People v. Grandy (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 33.)  
             At the lowest level of culpability, a 10-year enhancement,  
            the personal use of a firearm may be found when the defendant  
            intentionally displays a firearm in a menacing manner in order  
            to facilitate the commission of the underlying crime.  Next,  
            there is a 20-year enhancement for intentionally firing the  
            gun.  Finally, there is a 25-years-to-life enhancement for  
            intentional discharge causing great bodily injury or death to  
            someone other than an accomplice.  (People v. Palacios, supra,  
            41 Cal.4th 720, 725.)

          This bill applies those same enhancements to the use of a  
            crossbow.  

          The legislative intent in enacting section 12022.53 was clear:  
            'The Legislature finds and declares that substantially longer  
            prison sentences must be imposed on felons who use firearms in  
            the commission of their crimes, in order to protect our  
            citizens and to deter violent crime.'" (People v. Garcia  
            (2002) 28 Cal.4th 1166, 1172 quoting Stats. 1997, ch. 503,   
            1.)  The rationale for this is because "firearms pose a  
            potentially greater risk to safety than other weapons because  
            of their inherent ability to harm a greater number of victims  
            more rapidly than other weapons."  (People v. Perez (2001) 86  
            Cal.App.4th 675, 678, accord People v. Martinez (1999) 76  
            Cal.App.4th 489, 497-498.)

          Firearms are used more often in perpetrating crime than are  
            other types of weapons.  For example, the latest Attorney  
            General's report on Homicide in California shows that,  
            consistently in the past 10 years, 70% of the homicides crimes  
            were committed with a firearm.  The next most commonly used  
            weapon in the commission of homicides is a knife.  Roughly  
            14-15% of homicides were committed with knives.  Blunt  
            objects, such as clubs, are most common after knives.   
            Crossbows specifically are not listed, indicating that they  
            are not commonly used.  (See Homicide in California 2014,  
            California Department of Justice, p. 27,  
             http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/cjsc/publications/ 
            homicide/hm14/hm14.pdf  .) 

          As noted above, there are many other weapons that are equally as  








                                                                    AB 2481


                                                                    Page  6


            deadly as a crossbow.  It is not apparent why a crossbow,  
            rather than any other type of weapon, should be treated the  
            same a firearm or that these two types of weapons share  
            similar characteristics for purposes of punishing them  
            equally.

          3)Impetus for This Bill:  The impetus for this bill is the death  
            of Charles Emmanuel Briggs who was fatally injured with a bow  
            and arrow in Lancaster, CA.  Briggs tried to intervene in an  
            argument between the man and his girlfriend. In 2015, the  
            defendant, Garrett Taylor Adams, was facing murder charges and  
            a possible sentence of 26 years to life in state prison.   
            (  http://theavtimes.com/2015/03/12/man-pleads-not-guilty-in-lanc 
            aster-bow-and-arrow-killing/  .)

          No doubt, the death of Mr. Briggs was tragic. However, the  
            perpetrator will face a life sentence for murder.  It seems  
            unlikely that an additional tem of 25 years to life, rather  
            than an additional one year for the applicable weapon-use  
            enhancement, would have deterred this crime.  

          4)Argument in Support:  According to the California Police  
            Chiefs Association, "In August of 2014, a compound bow was  
            used to fatally injure Charles Emmanuel Briggs while he was  
            trying to intervene and stop a domestic violence incident at a  
            neighbor's home.  Briggs was just 27 when he succumbed to his  
            wounds.  Regrettably, this was not an isolated incident.  In  
            2013, two transients in Humboldt County were charged with  
            murder after a shooting spree with a crossbow, and a Lancaster  
            resident was killed in a random attack using a crossbow in  
            2008.  A crossbow was also used to facilitate a murder for  
            hire in conspiracy of a Stockton real estate agent in 1989.

          "Compound bows and crossbows are intended specifically for  
            hunting and sport.  However, some individuals intend to use  
            these devices to inflict harm on others, causing injury or  
            sometimes death.  While current law allows serious crimes  
            committed with a firearm to be given a tougher sentence - an  
            additional 10, 20, or 25 years depending on the crime -  
            similar crimes involving crossbows are treated less serious  
            under the law by only allowing for a one-year enhancement."









                                                                    AB 2481


                                                                    Page  7


          5)Argument in Opposition:  According to the California Attorneys  
            for Criminal Justice, "CACJ believes and the reality of gun  
            violence supports that while the use of guns in the commission  
            of violent and serious felonies is all too common, such is not  
            the case with the use of crossbows.   While increasing the  
            punishment for the use of firearms in the commission of  
            serious and violent felonies has a strong potential for  
            discouraging the use of guns in the commission of these  
            crimes, no such deterrent effect can be established for  
            equating gun violence with crossbow violence. ?

          "While firearms are all too easily accessed by those who would  
            use them to commit their serious or violent crimes, such is  
            not the case with crossbows.  AB 2481 fails to acknowledge  
            this reality.  While firearms are easily concealed upon a  
            person's body; crossbows are not.  While firearms are  
            all-too-quickly ready for use by one seeking to perpetrate a  
            crime, crossbows require a much greater time to prepare and  
            use.  While firearms are often the 'weapon of choice' of  
            criminal street gangs; CACJ is unaware of any of these gangs  
            adopting crossbows as a means of carrying out their criminal  
            activities.  

          "CACJ acknowledges the desire to honor and recognize the  
            unfortunate passing of one of our community members at the  
            hands of one unlawfully using a crossbow.  This admirable  
            desire to commemorate his memory is not sufficient grounds to  
            equate the use of a crossbow with the use of a firearm and  
            impose equal punishments for both.  

          "If our society is to ever reach a point one day where gun  
            violence is a thing of the past, we must be steadfast in our  
            resolve to single out those who would use the weapon most  
            often associated with wrecking the greatest harm on our  
            society, guns, and be vigilant in our watch to avoid equating  
            the use of other deadly weapons, including crossbows, with the  
            single most deadly weapon used to kill and injure innocent  
            citizens."

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:
          
          Support








                                                                    AB 2481


                                                                    Page  8



          California Police Chiefs Association
          Charles E. Briggs Memorial Foundation
          Compassionate Elderly Care Management Systems
          Crime Victims United of California
          Peace Officers Research Association of California
          Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Los Angeles Board of Supervisors

          Opposition
          
          American Civil Liberties Union of California
          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
          California Public Defenders Association
          Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
          
          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              Sandy Uribe / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744